Written by Ari Greenbaum, co-founder of conXpros
Most home improvement pros are constantly on the go. Early to rise, on the road or a job site all day, deadlines to meet, get what sleep you can, rinse & repeat. Often the routine forces us to neglect the self-care department of life. Grab a quick and not so healthy bite on the way to a job or meeting, pound a supersized highly caffeinated coffee or energy drink, pull 10+ hour days 6 or even 7 days per week. It is a grind, even on those with superhero stamina and energy, both physically and mentally.
A few days or weeks of this and it starts to take it’s toll. This constant neglect of our physical and mental wellbeing will impact your ability to perform at a high level and meet your client’s needs as best as possible. Overworking is a slippery slope with massive implications to your personal and business wellbeing.
So, what does it mean to maintain your wellbeing in business other than a healthy bottom line? It means you can be:
- Present and focused
- Work at peak energy
- Solve problems easier
- More physically presentable with clients
- Enjoying life
For years, I would “burn the candle at both ends”: working 80+ hour weeks, bringing my work home, eating junk & unhealthy foods, pounding 4-5 coffees per day, sleeping no more than 5 hours per night. I thought I was maximizing my time and productivity. Yes, I accomplished a ton, but not at the expense of the long-term business and my family. I literally ran myself ragged. I am sure this is a familiar approach that many of you take or have taken at some point. Fortunately, I realized that there was a different way before it was too late. Here is what I have found to be helpful and as a result of these actions, have become significantly more productive, successful, healthy and happy in both my business as well as personal life.
According to most experts, the exact amount of sleep an adult requires varies (typically between 7-9 hours). I cannot say that I am an ideal role model for the range the experts offer, but I have found that increasing my sleep to 6+ hours per day made a huge difference. That extra hour+ paid dividends. I found myself with higher energy levels each day and less of a need to “catch up” on the sleep I was depriving myself of on my off day, which allowed me to spend more time with my family and doing the outside of work things I love. Perhaps getting to the 7-9 range would be more positively impactful, but step by step. I will take the benefits I already get as I continue to work on this area. Bottom line, getting to bed and quality sleep is a huge factor in daily productivity.
If you are like me and suffer from constant thoughts running through your head, there is a solution. I used to swear that I stayed up later and did not sleep because of my inability to rid myself of this rodeo going on in my head. Once I learned that I can control it, I was on the right path. It was suggested to me that I make a consistent effort to do some “wind-down” for at least 1 hour before I wanted to hit the sack. For some it may be reading, others meditation or quiet time. Whatever works for you, create the pre-sleep routine that will allow you to get the zzz’s when you put your head on the pillow.
What you put in is what you get out
I am far from the epitome of health & you will not find me wining any fitness competitions. However, I have come to the common conclusion of “you are what you eat”. When I ate crap, I felt like crap. Simple as that! I had undergone a massive physical transformation a few years back where I lost over 100 lbs. I accomplished this through a mix of exercise and extremely healthy eating. Yes, I felt fantastic, had more energy, and was significantly more productive as a result. However, this extreme approach was near impossible to maintain. I did not “cheat” & was overly strict on my diet. As a result, it was not sustainable. I put a large amount of the weight I lost, back on and again felt the negative impact it had on my daily routine, energy and productivity. I was back to junk in-junk out.
Recently, I made the commitment to get back on track and began to focus on what I was putting into my body. This time, I promised myself that I would not go off the deep end and would allow myself to be “human”. I have lost less weight, but I have gained the same healthy, energetic & productive upper hand that I had experienced previously. Realizing that there are alternatives to an unhealthy lifestyle when living a busy life are critical.
In business, especially in the contracting world, feel we do not have time to find healthy alternatives. That is a lie we tell ourselves to justify the blatant neglect of our wellbeing. There are many alternatives and often they are faster, less expensive, and easier than the drive through/fast food mentality many of us have. It is much easier to pack a lunch and snacks to bring in the truck or to the office than we like to believe. I personally found options that did not require food preparation as that was one of the excuses I used to avoid ‘brown bagging” it. Protein shakes & real fruit/vegetable juices were the answer for me. But there are tons of similarly healthy alternatives you can fuel your body with as opposed to the junk. When you eat great, you feel great! When you feel great, your productivity is great! Simple math.
Get out and enjoy life!
Many of us feel that when we are not working, we are not making money. Although this is a logical statement, following this as a mantra will prevent you from the real gains. We all have different activities that make us happy. Whether it is the outdoors, crafts, travel, sports, fitness, or just some good old R & R, we all need to have fun! I have found that the ability to recharge my batteries on a regular basis, allows me to accomplish greater productivity in the time between recharges. We work to make money, but if we don’t enjoy the fruits of our labor, then what are we really working for? Find your happy places and make it a consistent requirement to get there. As a result, you will find yourself making more money by not working than you did by constantly working. Don’t deprive yourself, revive yourself.
This article is a bit of a departure from my regular material which is uber focused on being successful in business and sales. No matter how sharp we make ourselves in those areas, we cannot forget the important lessons from this article. Being a healthier you (physically and mentally) will lead to a healthier business you. Find what works for you and make the changes to reap the rewards. You (and your family) will thank me later.