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Take Care Of Yourself And Your Business Will Take Care Of You

When I was working in a corporate world, I found I would perform better when I took a break from my desk and changed the environment around.  A mental health day, was exactly that…it gave a chance to regroup and think issues out clearly enough that I wouldn’t have been able to had I remained in my chair.  However, sometimes I would be just as refreshed if I were to take a walk during lunch time.  This is not a new revelation and I am not breaking ground here.  However, it is amazing how many managers actually frown on seeing an empty desk for even a few hours.

Now that I am on my own and working from home, I thought my schedule would offer more freedom and I wouldn’t ever have to feel “tied to the desk” again.  My romantic image of the entrepreneur involves a frozen drink, a beach chair, salty air and satisfaction of just having closed a large deal with my feet buried in the sand.  Well, surprise, surprise, reality has proven to require a bit less suntan lotion than I had anticipated.  The truth is far less charming and, to be perfectly honest, is much more nefarious in its ability to have me maintain my position in front of the keyboard.

As a lifelong salesman, I understood that the job is never a 9-5 endeavor.  There were plenty of times I was at the office buried in a proposal needing to be overnighted, constantly glancing at the clock that would bring the delivery man closer and closer to my building.  Owning my own business, however, takes this to a much higher plane of responsibility/deadlines/necessity.

Initially, the first 100 Days  saw me at my desk for 18 hours at a time; seven days a week.  My back ached from sitting in the same position, my hands cramped up from the constant typing, my forearms hurt from where they rested on the edge of the desk and my eyes burned from having my contact lenses in much too long.  occasionally, (rarely), I would stand up and my body would slowly uncurl making small popping noises all the way up.  I would never be able to stretch nearly enough to feel better.

I was starting to burn out and I realized, (“realized” = my wife demanded), I had to make some changes.  I was becoming less and less productive with every semi-lucid, passing day.  I began to take walks at different hours of the day.  I scheduled meetings sporadically and that truly helped to break up the day.  I volunteered to help my son’s little league team a few days a week and it prevented me from 18 hours marathons.  I called on contacts I wanted to touch base with and went to lunch with them.  Surprisingly, to me, anyway, I became more productive and completed tasks in less time.  My goals became realistic, tough but achievable.  I worked better and I felt better.

I am learning to balance work-life and understand it will forever be a work in progress.  Dr. Lynn Friedman wrote Achieving Work-life Balance for the Washington Post and I love her self-appraising inquiry when she asks the reader “how did you get to where you are?”.  It’s not always easy as there are times when I have to pull back and catch my breath but I am learning to see the warning signs more clearly and head them off more effectively.  I am becoming a better worker and, ultimately, will run a better business for it.


  1. August 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    kewl blog, your right for sure that yo uneed the work/life balance for sure,

    • August 23, 2011 at 3:58 pm

      Thanks, and it is one of those lessons you have to learn for yourself. Only the individual can figure out where the balance is as it is different for everyone.

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