Changing Habits Takes Time

In my previous blog I explained how running a business is a marathon and not a sprint if you want to keep going.  I stand by this conclusion but changing habits take a little time for the impact of habit changes, especially when you want to replace bad habits with good habits in their place.

The Schedule

I thought I had seen the last of my Winter Flu Bug illness having written off February 2018 and been on a go slow through March where I sensibly limited my networking commitments and kept my travelling to a minimum.  I paced myself through the first few weeks of March and bit by bit I felt stronger.  I slowly returned to what seemed like a steady normal and by mid-March I was getting into my stride.  THEN suddenly in the final week of March my commitments looked like this:

  • Monday: A meeting where we assembled around 6.30am ish in Norwich, Norfolk morning meeting then drive to York, Yorkshire. (I sensibly overnighted in Norwich on the Sunday evening, although a good night’s sleep eluded me.)
  • Tuesday: Drive from York (where I had overnighted) to Leeds for another meeting taking up most of the day and then drive home.
  • Wednesday: (A good night’s sleep the night before was very welcome.)  Work at home then drive to Norwich for another meeting and return home.
  • Thursday: Drive to Sleaford for another all day business event and then drive home.
  • Friday: 8am meeting and then work from home.

It crept up on me before I realised that it was a bit on the crazy side but I was committed and intended to deliver.

Crash and Burn

Moments after arriving at home on Thursday evening I felt extreme chronic pain in my chest, I found breathing challenging and I felt really tired.  Since it was not that long after I had the Flu I was concerned about Pneumonia or similar spin off illnesses.  I therefore asked my husband to take me to A&E where the lovely medics steadily eliminated Heart Attack, Blood Clots and then ultimately Pneumonia following ECG, blood tests and chest x-ray.  During this process the pain was still evident but it had eased somewhat and I felt extremely tired but soon I was diagnosed with a simple pulled muscle of all things.  I was astounded.  I had no idea it was possible to pull a muscle in your chest let alone know I had muscles there.  (I now know about intercostal muscles.)

By the next day I had headaches, chills and chronic fatigue to add to the chest pain.  I decided that the pulled muscle diagnosis was in fact incorrect and assumed it was the Flu bug still in my system or another bug had jumped on board just to add to the fun. I was forced to cancel my 8am meeting that morning in favour of a visit to my GP who confirmed my own diagnosis.  I had an enforced leisurely morning and just reflected on my start to 2018.

I did not have much choice in making these adjustments as I realised that if I want to stay the course I must balance things out even more.  I accepted that I must step back and pace myself each day, each week, each month rather than trying to sprint.  I now realise that although I was already on this page I had yet to make sufficient changes to my habits to ensure a positive impact.  These days I am even more mindful of spacing out those commitments.  I have got so much better at saying NO when necessary, spacing out commitments with associated travelling, spacing out client work commitments and – crucially – adding time to my diary to relax with friends, family and taking time for myself.  I have also learned the value of outsourcing where appropriate to ensure I can grow my business.  I know that if I don’t pay attention to all these factors then it won’t take long before things grind to a halt.

So now I am pacing myself much better, saying NO more and taking breaks from doing any tasks whether physical or mental to avoid being right back where I started.  There is a lot to be said for “slowly, slowly catchee monkey”.

If you are a busy business owner ask yourself “am I running a marathon in my business?”  Be honest with yourself and if the answer is “NO – my commitments are running me ragged and I feel out of control and overwhelmed all too often” then perhaps you should consider outsourcing more of what you need done to the right support professional.

Considering when and where you should outsource or delegate in your business could make the difference between keeping going or closing up shop and will help you build in time for self-care.  “Outsource” and “delegate” are not four letter words.  They are real business strategies so why not have a chat with SMG Virtual PA to see how we can help.


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