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Written by Sonia Gibson, Director at Accounting Heart Chartered Accountants

Running a business like a well-oiled machine takes business smarts. However, just like the human being behind these successful brands, a business thrives on routine and consistency. The only difference between the hands that make it all work and the endeavour itself is that you require downtime. When you deny your body its need for rest and recreational time away from life’s tasks, all of which require self-discipline, you can experience burnout symptoms or simply run yourself to a point of depletion. The loss of productivity that arises from this can be devastating because you simply can no longer “push on”. Entrepreneurs must listen to their bodies and find balance in order to remain productive consistently. Here are 5 ways to listen to your body and find balance so that you can maintain your best pace.

1. Set Acceptable Work Cut-Off Times

When you’re self-employed, you’re often out of the office during the day but as well all know, it takes more than just a 9-5 work schedule to maintain a successful business. Sometimes, that means working into the night. These occasions aside, give your body and mind a break to become refreshed and replenished before starting a new day. Set reasonable times for work to end each day. It’s not about resting when you’re tired, it’s about routinely observing a regular and scheduled cut-off time so that your mind habitually enjoys leisurely relaxation.

2. Use Your time Off Wisely (How to Listen To Your Body)

Any leisure time feels precious when you’re an entrepreneur, even more so when you’re self-employed and a parent. It’s tempting to lie on the couch and scroll through social media on your phone but research suggests that this doesn’t actually replenish your creativity and give you that rest that should come from enjoying leisure time. Shutting out the world to engage in something you enjoy can help you to listen to your body more effectively. Time off can also cause you to feel tired. Sometimes, when you bring yourself to a standstill for long enough, your body requests rest. Honour it and rest!

3. Know That Productivity Requires Downtime

Listening to your body can be difficult when your to-do list sprouts new to-do lists and there’s no conceivable end in sight. It’s all good if you can listen to your body but it might not be as easy to actually fulfil its needs. Know that the demands your body makes are far more reasonable and easily satisfied when you regularly and consistently meet its needs. Adequate rest, recreation time that is not work-related, and a healthy diet will fortify your ability to be creative, productive, and lead with passion.

4. Flexibility Is Your Greatest Friend

As the boss of your schedule, you have to undergo a change of mindset, especially if you come from a background of being employed. As an employee, your personal life has to fit around the job which often means compromising on your body’s needs in order to earn the salary that you depend on for survival. As a self-employed professional, you don't have the luxury of paid sick leave, your health has to be the pivotal point of your priorities. This means everything else requires a degree of flexibility - including business. You can fit your business schedule around your health and well-being so that your business serves your best interest, rather than fitting your health in around your work.

5. Learn To Delegate When Your Body Tells You To Rest

Can’t figure out how you can afford that downtime you need so badly? As the boss, you carry the heaviest bulk of the responsibility which comes with unique stresses others don’t have. With this also comes the benefit of being able to delegate when you need to. Shift some of the time-consuming tasks onto the plates of others. This indicates far better leadership than simply persisting on and struggling, even when you’re exhausted. It is imperative, for the health of the team, that the leader is rested, healthy, and able to make good decisions.

Pertinent Questions To Ask Your Body (How to Listen To Your Body)

If you find it challenging to discover what your body might be asking you for, ask yourself a few questions. Ask yourself if you need to take it slower. Do you need more mental stimulation outside of work? Do you need to lie down and sleep? Are you craving sunshine or time outdoors? A chance to laugh with friends? The best way to get to the root of what your body might be communicating to you is to give yourself a calm space and visit the physical sensations you experience when you think of each question. Picture yourself as your own parent, a guardian that truly wants what is best for you while being able to feel what you feel.

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