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Balancing The (Personal) Books

Wednesday, November 10, 2010   By Mike Reddy


Making sure you offer customers better value than ever in a downturning cycle often means increasing workloads and tight schedules – frequently combined with some reduction of team numbers. It can seem that there are not enough hours in the day to get the work done, let alone striking a healthy work-life balance.  The good news is that it is possible, but it takes commitment to your own health and wellbeing.  After all, if you become inefficient through weariness and lack of enthusiasm then the very goals you are seeking for your business will drift out of reach.

Schedule breaks in your diary and take them!

Accept you need breaks, different sorts of breaks from short to medium to long ones. Short breaks of 15 minutes are to have a cup of coffee, read the paper or take a short walk. Medium breaks are an hour or so. Do something that relaxes you - workout at the gym, visit a friend, have lunch in the park, read a book.  As for longer breaks – try to schedule a day away from the business at intervals, for no reason other than to take a break.

Set up email filters

Decrease the amount of time and stress spent ploughing through masses of mail. Use your email programme to filter spam of course, but even newsletters and joke mails from friends can be auto filed to folders for perusing later.

Turn off email and the phone for set hours

This probably feels like a biggie, but you’ll be surprised at how effective you can be if you schedule in a designated hour or two each day where you deal only with urgent work and pick up on your calls and emails later on.

Set a time to eat

Skipping meals and eating on the run leaves you tired and physically predisposes you to unwanted weight gain.  Neither is very helpful to conducting your business efficiently.  What's more, it robs you of precious time for your brain to mull and think, so you lose the chance to tap into your creative energies.  Abandon the computer, get up in time to have breakfast at home – and try to eat at least one meal a day with family or friends.

Call a friend

Keep your problems in perspective by chatting with a friend. If you can’t meet, then give them a call.

Outsource or delegate

Look at outsourcing necessary but non-core tasks e.g. bookkeeping and recruitment. Reduce your workload by delegating tasks to team members – you don’t have to be a jack of all trades, and they might appreciate the chance to learn new skills or vary their daily work.

Practice the ‘N’ word

If you can’t do the job without unnecessary stress, learn to say no, or put an reasonable time frame on the delivery of the work

Our time is the only thing we truly own in life - Gift yourself more time

Work out how long the task will take and then add some again.  By allowing yourself more time you’ll reduce stress, avoid overloading yourself.  Better still, you might end up delighting your customers by delivering ahead of schedule, and you will avoid disappointing them by falling behind on your promises.

Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.