Moirs Chat

Work-Life balance… it’s really important!





Holidays? Time Off? Self Employed? Not words that usually go together and lack of time off is one of the reasons that deters British workers from starting up their own business. Long hours and stress are the 2 other main reasons for hesitation in doing so.  75% of employees would like the freedom to run their own business one day with 51% citing work-life balance as the most attractive factor according to research by St James Place Academy.

One of the most valuable things I have learnt in my journey is the importance of looking after myself. I have owned and operated moirs cleaning for 12 years and for the first 10 years, any time off was sporadic and very last minute.. usually when I was so knackered and unwell that I was “forced to admit defeat” and lay in bed.

“forced to admit defeat” – That statement alone speaks volumes.. why do we think we are admitting defeat if we take some time off? Is it completely unacceptable to admit that we all need time off? Do we feel that we have failed or that we are weak if we aren’t running about at 100mph? Yes, Yes, Yes but it should be a big, huge Nooooooooo!

Amid running a business it is very easy to forget about work-life balance let alone realise that it is beneficial to have one. The habit of constantly being at work is sustainable only until the reality of mental and physical limits strikes.. in my case it would be a severe cold or a viral infection that would last for weeks and bring with it constant tiredness. When I was this tired, the decisions I made weren’t as they should be and any new business or future plans could have suffered.

Entrepreneurs are often celebrated for wearing multiple hats whilst tallying up numerous hours. But working without a break is a bad habit that can jeopardise your company, your health and the lifestyle that you are supposedly working towards.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain” – Vivian Green

It’s easy to fall into the trap of overdoing it in the early days.. capital and cash flow are tight and we’re super enthusiastic and completely unrealistic about our abilities. Few people understand the principle of refueling – you get more done quicker when you step back and recharge your brain and body. Official studies show that performance increases after breaks – anything from a 10 minute tea break to a vacation. We wouldn’t expect our employees to work without either so why do we think we can?

Continuous time at work sets of reactions that include stress, fatigue and negative moods which in turn drains focus along with physical and emotional resources. The brains ability to stay self-disciplined wanes with each exercise of self control. Its a loss of resources that must be replenished or it becomes harder to stay focused, be attentive and solve problems.. think of New Year Resolutions, hammer it for January and you’ve lost the will to live by February!!

So how do we refuel – I’d say it’s a very personal thing – more importantly is that we actually do refuel. Personally I like to lift weights, run, torture myself with a bootcamp session, go for a walk.. none of which are particularly restful some would say, but for me it is more about shutting my brain off as opposed to being physically still. Sitting watching TV is not my thing –  The average state of a TV viewer is a mild depression, according to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow. Do anything, anything that takes your fancy, get a hobby, try a new thing, read a book, take a fitness class, do the gardening, anything that gives you respite from the stresses of your work day. Detaching from work with distractions at night reduces fatigue and promotes positive effects the next morning at work.

Productivity doesn’t come from being glued to your work every waking moment. It comes from how energized, focused and organised your brain is and this can only be replenished by taking a break. We are just like smartphones or iPods – we need to be recharged or we run out of juice. You shouldn’t slog through every single day.. life is for living.. eat the cake, take the adventure, book the holiday and damn well enjoy it!!

“I don’t think of work as work and play as play.. it’s all living” – Richard Branson

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