As the managing director or owner of a small business, you do whatever is needed to keep your business going, thriving and growing. At times this means long hours, working into the evenings and the weekends. Naturally that means you are going to get tired sometimes – maybe a lot of the time.

With the Christmas break coming up, here's a test for you: how much of a break are you actually having? Is it closer to No.6 or to No.4?

Here’s our suggestions on how to get everything done without working every hour and feeling permanently tired.

  1. Outsource the functions you don’t like or are no good at. There’s plenty to be done and there’s no point in doing the things you hate or aren’t very good at (probably the reason you hate them).
  2. Ever worked late into the evening or even early morning, only to find that no matter how tired you are, you just cannot sleep? The blue light emitted from screens delays production of the sleep hormone melatonin and disrupts your sleep patterns. Installing a blue light filter in between your eyes and the screen will block the blue light. If you wear glasses, ask your optician to put a blue light filter onto lenses. If you don’t you can get screen covers from places such as Ocushield.
  3. Have breakfast. It really is the most important meal of the day as it provides you with an initial energy boost. Too many people “don’t have time” because it allows them to get to their desk earlier, but without the energy from your breakfast, it won’t as effective as starting 10-20 minutes later.
  4. Leave your desk at least once every couple of hours, and ideally every hour. The break will do you good and get the steps up on your Fitbit. Optimum time is said to be 52 minutes before you need a break. The physical act of leaving your desk means your heart rate increases, gets the blood flowing and ensures you’re stretching your muscles. It also gets your mind off the subject in hand for a few minutes. That walk to the coffee machine (or shop) is good for you.
  5. Delegate. Give your staff the chance to prove they can help you. You recruited them to help you grow the business, so let them. Start with small tasks and increase as times goes by. If you don’t do this, you’ll never get the opportunity to really relax.
  6. Take a break. Not just a few hours; take a holiday. Whether it’s just a long weekend or a full-blown week or two, the time off is beneficial. Even if you are working a little each day, the time spent with family and friends will distract you, get you thinking about things that aren’t work-related. We all need time away from work in order to make the time at work better. Remember, if you’ve practiced No.5, No.6 becomes a lot easier!
  7. Get a hobby. I know that it seems I am always trying to get you away from your desk. There’s a reason for that: I am. It can be a physical hobby that gets your heart rate up and helps to keep you fit, or one that simply distracts your mind. Whichever it is, it will help you to work smarter, not longer.

Setting up your own business is a lifestyle choice. You probably did it because you no longer wanted to work for someone else. You’re working hard now to build the business, perhaps with the plan to be able to retire early. Whatever your reasons, you won’t be able to achieve your long-term plans without some downtime. Whether it’s “me time” or family time, it’s this downtime that keeps your fresh. It keeps you productive, efficient and therefore most likely to achieve the goals you have for your business.

I hope this helps