Your good health is your #1 business asset. Period.
Forget your clever marketing strategy, amazing social media followers, and slick sales page. None of that matters if you’re too sick and unhealthy to run your business.
In fact, illness and injuries cost U.S. businesses over $225 billion in productivity annually!
Sometimes the loss of productivity isn’t because you’re not at work. Sometimes it’s because you’re sick, tired, and hurting and make costly mistakes. Then you have to redo everything you messed up and spend more money trying to fix your screwups.
We are professionals. But we are also human.
In The Secret to Less Stress & More Money I described how you needed to stop the Reaction Cycle and start preventing the “fires” in your life:
“Once you realize that all you’ve been doing is reacting to every situation, you can begin to see how your life is only designed to put out fires.”
Think of your health in the same way. Start developing healthy work/life habits so you can focus on what’s important (growing your business) and stop pretending that eating and sleeping at your desk is good for business.
Here’re a few ideas to help you get started:
Forget the “Work Yourself to Death” Mentality
For three months straight, I worked double shifts while going to college. Every day I had Mountain Dew and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups for breakfast.
One time I worked so long on the computer without a break that I had a migraine for the next 2 days.
And I once went over 7 months without a single day off.
That kind of behavior is insane. Not only did my business suffer, but I was completely drained personally. Sure, sometimes there are emergencies or situations that require extra time and dedication. That’s just what happens in business.
But when you’re routinely working your fingers to the bone, that’s poor management. Forget the “work yourself to death” mentality. It’s not a badge of honor to work 70+ hours a week every single week. It’s poor planning. And it’s not dedication when work is the only thing you have energy for. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Forget the Vending Machine! Stop the Afternoon Slump
We’ve all been there. It’s 3pm and you still have to finish a project. Yet the only thing you want to do is curl up and take a nap.
The afternoon crash is a real phenomenon that can be avoided by choosing the right snacks at the right time. According to Erin Brodwin, from Business Insider:
“Foods that are made up mostly of sugar and other carbohydrates will fill you up at first but leave you feeling shaky and tired later. After we ingest too many empty carbs — foods high in sugar but low in protein — our blood-sugar levels spike; when they plummet a few hours later, we experience a “crash” in energy levels.”
Snacknation has a very cool tool that will allow you to search a database of over 120 healthy snacks based on calorie, low sugar, high protein, vegan, paleo, etc. Here’s one of my favorites from the under 200 calorie selection:
Blueberry Oatmeal Greek Yogurt Muffins:
Planning a healthy diet doesn’t take that much time. Just compare the time you spend creating a healthy snack to the time you lose during the afternoon slump.
That’s an easy choice, isn’t it?
Focus on Prevention, Not Suffering Costly Emergencies
Ever been sick or injured but tried to work through the pain? That works if you have a cold. It doesn’t work if you have something serious and end up in the hospital.
Injuries, sickness, and disease are a part of life. And you can’t prevent all emergency situations. But there are some emergencies you can prevent. I know a business owner who avoided dentists like the plague. She ended up with a piercing toothache and an emergency dentist bill of about $4000 and lost about 4 days worth of work.
When you’re avoiding doctors because you don’t have time or it’s too costly, consider how much it’s going to cost your business when your minor issue evolves into an emergency?
Again, this decision isn’t difficult to make when you consider how the impact on your business.
Create Your Own Health and Wellness Program
We all have different health issues and business situations. But we all have one major thing in common: our businesses suffer when we are unhealthy.
Too many of us don’t consider health or wellness as an overall part of our business strategy. Yet, many larger businesses understand that these programs decrease sick days, insurance premiums and loss of productivity.
So design your own health and wellness program. Something tailored to you and your business. Because the bottom line is that you need to be healthy to successfully run your business.