Making sure you offer customers better value than ever in a downturning cycle often means increasing workloads and tight schedules – frequently combined with some reduction of team numbers. It can seem that there are not enough hours in the day to get the work done, let alone striking a healthy work-life balance. The good news is that it is possible, but it takes commitment to your own health and wellbeing. After all, if you become inefficient through weariness and lack of enthusiasm then the very goals you are seeking for your business will drift out of reach.

Schedule breaks in your diary and take them!


Accept you need breaks, different sorts of breaks from short to medium to long ones. Short breaks of 15 minutes are to have a cup of coffee, read the paper or take a short walk. Medium breaks are an hour or so. Do something that relaxes you - workout at the gym, visit a friend, have lunch in the park, read a book. As for longer breaks – try to schedule a day away from the business at intervals, for no reason other than to take a break.

Set up e-mail filters


Decrease the amount of time and stress spent ploughing through masses of mail. Use your e-mail program to filter spam of course, but even newsletters and joke mails from friends can be auto filed to folders for perusing later.

Turn off e-mail and the phone for set hours


This probably feels like a biggie, but you’ll be surprised at how effective you can be if you schedule in a designated hour or two each day where you deal only with urgent work and pick up on your calls and e-mails later on.

Set a time to eat


Skipping meals and eating on the run leaves you tired and physically predisposes you to unwanted weight gain. Neither is very helpful to conducting your business efficiently. What‘s more, it robs you of precious time for your brain to mull and think, so you lose the chance to tap into your creative energies. Abandon the computer, get up in time to have breakfast at home – and try to eat at least one meal a day with family or friends.

Call a friend


Keep your problems in perspective by chatting with a friend. If you can’t meet, then give them a call.

Outsource or delegate


Look at outsourcing necessary but non-core tasks e.g. bookkeeping and recruitment. Reduce your workload by delegating tasks to team members – you don’t have to be a jack of all trades, and they might appreciate the chance to learn new skills or vary their daily work.

Practice the ‘N’ word


If you can’t do the job without unnecessary stress, learn to say no, or put a reasonable time frame on the delivery of the work.

Our time is the only thing we truly own in life - Gift yourself more time


Work out how long the task will take and then add some again. By allowing yourself more time you’ll reduce stress, avoid overloading yourself. Better still, you might end up delighting your customers by delivering ahead of schedule, and you will avoid disappointing them by falling behind on your promises.