You Owe This To Your Clients

When you’re a solopreneur, it’s all on you—managing all the administrative aspects of your business and serving your clients.Girl-pointing-at-you

 

That means you need to be as close as possible to the top of your game at all times.

 

The one sure-fire way not to get there is by neglecting your own well-being.

 

I know far too many small business professionals who do that. They eat junk, don’t exercise, and rarely get a good night’s sleep.

 

According to 2013 CDC (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention) data:

 

  • Nearly 30 percent of adults in the United States are obese.
  • Over 22 percent of adults eat less than one serving of vegetables daily.
  • Over 38 percent eat less than one serving of fruit each day.
  • Only 20 percent of U.S. adults meet aerobic and muscle strengthening guidelines.

 

Yep, a lot of people don’t take such good care of themselves. Are you one of them?

 

If so, realize it’s not only bad for you; it’s bad for your business, too. And it’s doing your clients a disservice.

 

Eat better to work better.

According to the World Health Organization, “Poor nutrition can lead to reduced immunity, increased susceptibility to disease, impaired physical and mental development, and reduced productivity.”

 

Reduced productivity. That means if you’re eating crap all the time and billing your clients on an hourly basis, they’re probably getting shortchanged. And you’re likely hurting your business’s bottom line in the process because of not having the stamina to take on and accomplish more billable work.

 

Engage your body to engage your brain.

Numerous studies have shown that exercise improves cognitive function. Physical activity helps you think more effectively. That ability to focus more fully on your tasks can translate into delivering higher quality work more efficiently.

 

Make yourself a complete package.

This infographic by Hubspot shares some interesting statistics that show the strong link between nutrition, exercise, and job performance. A few to pay particular attention to include:

 

  • Workers who eat healthful foods all day are 25 percent more likely to have higher job performance.
  • Workers who eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables at least four times per week are 20% more likely to be productive.
  • Workers who exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight are absent from work 27 percent less and perform their jobs 11 percent better than non-active, obese peers.

 

And don’t dis the importance of catching your Zs.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep daily. Yet a survey by the CDC found that almost three in ten adults (28 percent) average 6 hours or less of sleep each day.

 

Sleepiness can severely thwart our ability to do our best. It slows down our ability to think things through, it impairs memory, and it makes it more difficult to learn new things. And it tends to make most of us moody—certainly not an attractive or beneficial side effect when collaborating with clients.

 

Do right by yourself and your clients.

What you do or don’t do to take care of yourself is your business—but realize that your habits can have a profound impact on your business as well. You can’t give your clients your best work when you aren’t at your best.

 

Your turn! How do you keep yourself near the top of your game? What could you do differently to be there more often?

 

Like this post? Then you might want to check  out these, too:

Not Drinking Enough Water? Six Ways To Make It Less Wishy-Washy

 

What You And Only You Can Take Responsibility For

 

Why Your Desk Should Be A No Food Zone

 

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why Your Desk Should Be A “No Food Zone”

Believe me, I’m not getting all self-righteous here. I’ve eaten at my desk on countless occasions. That’s precisely why I feel qualified to write this post.No-food-allowed

 

Call it a New Year’s resolution or whatever, but I’ve recently adopted the rule of no food (coffee and water are still fair game) at my desk. I’m always looking for ways to work smarter and maximize my productivity. The “no food zone” strategy will (hopefully) help me optimize my time in front of my Macbook.

Are you an at-your-desk diner?

Here are five very good reasons not to eat at your desk:

You deserve—and need—a break.

By now, you’ve probably heard about the Pomodoro Technique or similar approaches to working. They advocate breaking the time you work into a series of short intervals intermixed with short rest periods. That M.O. has been proven to improve mental acuity and help you stay more fully focused on your tasks.

When you’re eating at your desk, you can call it “working through” all you want, but chances are you’re not focused on your work enough to accomplish much of anything. Instead, schedule work sessions and break periods for yourself. Then work during your work sessions and eat (away from your desk) during break periods.

It can make you sick.

I found several articles (including this one by Huffington Post and this one by the Advisory Board Company) that reference research indicating your desk may harbor 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. Gross, right? You wouldn’t eat on your toilet (I sure hope not anyway), so don’t make your desk your dinner table either.

It can expand your waistline.

According to the Daily News, a British survey revealed that one-third of people who ate at their desks consumed more than 1,200 calories during a typical workday. My understanding is that included lunch and snacks; add breakfast and dinner to the equation and the calories really escalate. And eating at your desk can make you less attentive to the nutritional value of the foods you’re eating. You might be more inclined to grab a bag of chips rather than veggies and a good protein source.

It can feed the procrastination monster.

Eating at your desk diverts your attention from what you should be concentrating on when working. It can become an enabler to procrastination, a way to steer clear of the task at hand when you don’t really feel like tackling it. Oh, but that task won’t magically disappear like that bag of microwave popcorn you chowed down on at 2:15 p.m. You’ll be stuck sitting at your desk longer because you didn’t stay focused. Eating at your desk is essentially multitasking. And, according to a Stanford University study, multitasking makes people less—not more—productive.

It’s messy.

Crumbs. Dripping condiments. Sticky fingers. Ick. Need I say more?

 

Final Thoughts

I’m not suggesting that you don’t eat during your workday. Goodness no! But why not eat somewhere else? Your kitchen or dining room (if you’re a work-at-home type like me), your office’s lunchroom, a picnic table, a friend’s house, or a restaurant are viable options. By taking your dining activities away from your desk, you just might find yourself more productive—and you might enjoy your food a good bit more, too.

 

By Dawn Mentzer

Another Insatiable Solopreneur Post

 

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Image courtesy of  Iamnee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Is Your Business a Pain in the Neck?

Running a small business rocks in so many ways, but it can also be a pain in the neck…and the back. Literally. Endless Professional with neck painhours at the computer and nearly non-stop attention to your smartphone screen can put your body in a posture it’s not naturally designed to maintain for a prolonged amount of time. Eventually, that abuse leads to pain…which can thwart concentration, make us less productive, and make us cranky.

That’s not good for business.

Q&A about Posture and Productivity

I reached out to respected chiropractor Dr. Lee Lausch of proActive Pain Relief & Wellness in Lancaster County, PA for his insight on this topic…

Question: In your practice, what are the most common physical complaints you hear from professional people which are directly related to poor posture?

Dr. Lausch: The most common complaint related to poor posture is neck and upper back pain accompanied by headaches. This is due to the forward head posture that develops from computer overuse and phone overuse. For every inch that the head is forward of center, its like adding an extra 10-12 pounds of stress to the neck and upper back musculature and joints.

Question: What is the connection between those ailments and poor posture? Why does poor posture cause those problems?

Dr. Lausch: Poor posture is a synonym for bad biomechanics. So when the spine is out of alignment, it results in abnormal wear and tear on the body resulting in stress and pain.

Question: In addition to the physical symptoms, how does poor posture affect cognitive ability?

Dr. Lausch: This is a great question. Again, with bad biomechanics (a.k.a. poor posture), the result is abnormal stress. Ninety percent of the brain’s activity is spent making sure all of its parts are in the right place for optimal function. When the parts are NOT in the right position (poor posture), then the brain overworks trying to regain balance. This causes a drain on the brain!

Question: Do you see a correlation between the number of hours someone spends at a desk and their propensity to developing posture-related problems?

Dr. Lausch: Absolutely! We are designed to move. When we are sedentary and sitting behind a desk, we dramatically increase poor posture causing stress-related problems.

Question: What can people do on their own to improve and prevent the physical and cognitive effects of poor posture? What things should they keep top of mind so they can be more productive?

Dr. Lausch: Take breaks from sitting. Get up and move around even if it’s only 10-20 seconds at a time, but move frequently – at least 1-2 times during every hour of sitting. An effective exercise to combat forward head posture is squeeze the shoulder blades back and bend the head back-hold this squeeze for 3 seconds and repeat 4-5 times. This exercise should be done once for every 30 minutes of sitting.

Question: For people who seem unable to improve productivity-inhibiting posture on their own, What professional medical/alternative treatments are most effective?

Dr. Lausch: The best fix and or prevention of poor posture and the related problems is treatment from a structurally focused Doctor of Chiropractic. This would involve a biomechanical evaluation and a treatment plan that would include postural corrective exercises. In addition, a well-designed strength program is essential for optimal performance over the long haul. As we age, we lose strength and this contributes to bad posture. Offsetting strength decline dramatically increases overall health and well being.

_____________________

Pain can be a serious problem for your small business if you’re not able to keep up physically and mentally with the challenges you meet every day. This is a topic near and dear to me because – with a notable degree of adult scoliosis – I’m always looking for ways to keep pain at bay and keep my productivity optimal. While working to improve your posture can’t cure all ills, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Make it a priority – and don’t let your business be a pain in the neck.

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post

 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net