Often we end up working within a schedule that suits everyone else but ourselves. It doesn’t have to be that way. Some people work better in the morning than in the afternoon, while others are the opposite. Some people like to exercise in the middle of the day and by taking a couple of hours off to go to the gym they are much more productive. The key here is that it is better to work in the manner that suits you than try to fit your life in around your work. Often all it takes is a change in mindset.
Many of my clients plan their trading hours and the days they work around their lifestyle. It is very empowering to do this. The counterargument for many people is that they have to be open for their customers—and yes, this is very relevant for some businesses, but not for all. And even if your business has to be open at certain hours, do you have to be there at those times?
A big part of this tip is about letting go of perceptions. Many business owners live in a state of near terror over changing anything to do with their customers. They don’t want to change the business name or the logo or the brand, or the hours the business is open, or the products or services being offered. But while I am an advocate of consistency when it comes to delivering a product or service, customers are much more open to change than most business owners think. In fact, they like it—because it shows that the business is getting better.
Think about it for a moment. If you are working like a dog and you’re exhausted, lacking in enthusiasm and not really having a jolly time, do you think that your customers can’t see or feel this? If you change the way you work so that it suits your lifestyle and needs better, you will be much more energetic and engaging at work, and your customers will get a far better level of service and a more enjoyable experience. You simply need to be brave enough to do it.
The first step in the process is analysing how you actually like to work. If you aren’t a morning person (whatever that means), then arrange your business so you don’t have to be there in the morning. If you find it hard to get anything done at work because you are constantly being distracted by the demands of staff, suppliers and others, work from home one day each week and give clear instructions on who can contact you and for what. I have found I get more done in one day at home than I do for the rest of the week at work. It is amazing.
The traditional way of doing business is often not applicable in the modern world. Set up your business to suit you. If you are contemplating going into business for yourself, think about this long and hard before you make your move. Buy or start a business that suits the way you want to live. If you are a night person don’t buy a milk run. If you are a recovering alcoholic it probably isn’t a good idea to buy a nightclub. If you are afraid of sharks don’t become a commercial diver. You get the drift, as silly as my examples might be. Make your business work for you, rather than you work for it.