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New year's resolution: Ensure my own needs aren't being forgotten

Jan 21, 2020 | 3 minutes read | Entrepreneurship

Small business owners spend so much time worrying about their customers, their employees, and their partners that they often forget to make time for themselves.

This year, do yourself and your business a favour by scheduling in some downtime, stepping away from work and connecting with those that matter most. Though it may seem counterproductive, those opportunities to recharge can go a long way in preventing burnout and improving the overall health of the entrepreneur, and by extension the business.

According to a recent study by the Harvard Business Review over a quarter of entrepreneurs are at least moderately burned out. Researchers explain that entrepreneurs are more at risk of burnout because they’re so emotionally connected to their work, they’re more likely to be socially isolated, have limited safety nets in place and operate in a state of high uncertainty.

If left unchecked, these stress factors could result in serious mental health problems later on. While scheduling some time for a little R&R might seem crazy to entrepreneurs working around the clock to keep their business afloat, ignoring their own needs could have far more devastating consequences later on.

Here are a few ways you can better take care of your own needs in the New Year.

Get enough sleep

Small business owners tend to burn the candle at both ends, but they’re not doing themselves or their business any favours by forgoing sleep. According to one study half of all entrepreneurs sleep less than six hours, and that lack of rest is impacting their ability to perform. In fact, studies show that more sleep makes entrepreneurs better decision makers, specifically when it comes to spotting and pursuing good ideas. While it might seem like working around the clock is making your business stronger, what your organization really needs is a well-rested leader at the helm making good decisions from a clear, well-rested headspace

Schedule personal time

In order to maximize their limited time many entrepreneurs keep a tight and well-organized schedule, but one thing that’s often left off the to-do list is personal time. While it may seem like there’s no time to address personal needs ignoring them will only prove more time consuming in the future. Instead it’s important to strike a strong work/life balance, and force yourself to step away from work on a regular basis. Doing so will go a long way in helping you recharge and return to work with renewed focus, and ultimately make you a better entrepreneur.

Make time for family and friends

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely existence, which is why it’s paramount for small business owners to have a strong network of support outside of work. Unfortunately running a small business can take up a lot of your time, which can put on a strain on those personal relationships, but it’s important not to let them slip away. At the end of the day, that support system is necessary to help get you through the inevitable ups and downs that comprise the rollercoaster of entrepreneurship. Ensure you’re making time for loved ones regularly so that you can continue to depend on their support when you really need it.

Give back to your community

Small businesses are the fabric of their local community, not to mention heavily dependent on its support, which is why it’s important they remain strong and engaged members. Giving back is a great way to stay connected, show your appreciation and improve the lives of those around you. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it can also go a long way in improving your own mental health and wellbeing. After all, small business ownership can be difficult and frustrating, but nothing puts those daily struggles into perspective more than supporting those less fortunate.

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While downtime might sound unproductive on the surface research has found that self-care is vital to the wellbeing of an entrepreneur, and by extension, their business. This year, don’t be afraid to take a step away from work when you begin to feel isolated or disconnected from others. It just might be the best thing you can do for your employees, your community, your loved ones and yourself in the new year.

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