One of the problems of being self-employed is that you will need to be fit, alert and able to deal with large amounts of stress. It is one of those paradoxes of life that just when you need to take care of yourself the most, you are probably neglecting yourself the most. Setting up any kind of e-commercial enterprise, can be an enormous strain on both your mind and body.
To ensure that in the future just when your business begins to build and you need all the energy you can muster you will need to look after your main business asset now. That asset is of course you and the one thing you will have to guard most carefully is your back –if you can’t sit at a computer you in effect will have no online enterprise.
One of today’s modern business advantages is that so much can be done on a computer but one of the major disadvantages is that so many of us pay a high physical price for the convenience of technology with repetitive strain injury and chronic, painful backache. Ask yourself how long, on a daily basis, you sit leaning over your computer without a proper exercise break. Two hours? Four hours? Eight hours? Sitting for prolonged periods with poor body positioning can be very fatiguing for your whole body.
Over time, the fatigued area becomes strained and pain sets in. You would probably be horrified if someone threatened you with a prolonged torture of tying you up and leaving you in the same position for hours at a time – but in fact you are doing exactly that to your body.
Many people who use computers are in chronic pain that is not helped by physical therapies; the reason for this that you cannot solve a medical problem with just back treatment. You need to take action before it’s too late and invest in an adjustable ergonomic workstation so that your back doesn’t become subject to chronic changes. This way you will remain pain-free while working at your computer.
With a correctly configured workstation you should be able to sit for hours without hurting your back, neck, arms, or wrists.
Choose a well-designed office chair; this is the first step in achieving good computer ergonomics. A proper chair will preserve and support the natural curves of your back. Bear in mind that in the neck and low back the spine curves in, and in the middle back the spine curves out.
It is also most important to eat properly to make sure that you have plenty of energy and a relaxed nervous system, remember an excess of coffee, tea, chocolate, cream buns, cigarettes, alcohol and any form of stimulating drug are guaranteed to throw your body into the downward spiral of low blood sugar, possible depression and a poor resistance to bugs. Get into a chronic state of poor health and frankly your online success is over before it has begun.
A long sound sleep, of at least seven hours, is far more important than a lot of people realise. If you constantly work late at night, or worse still partly through the night, you will go to bed mentally wound up and insomnia is the inevitable outcome. Just a few disturbed nights will be enough to affect your mental performance so imagine what weeks of sleep deprivation could do to your business. So each day shut the office door, forget about your e-commerce responsibilities and take time out to spend with your family.
Believe it or not deliberately walking away from your business is a discipline that may have to be worked on in quite a determined fashion. A business can feel like a new baby; you bring it into the world, you nurture it and watch it grow, so you are bound to feel it needs you every moment of every day. You can always find another office-related chore or just one more phone call to make but do you remember why you started your own e-commerce enterprise? Wasn’t it to give you freedom and a better quality of life?
Don’t work seven days a week. You won’t achieve any more, you will simply get tired, stale and crotchety. A new business needs constant enthusiasm to drive it forward and you can’t possibly maintain yours if you are permanently tired and never give your mind a break from business.
Balance of course, like everything in life, is the key to staying centered and only do what is humanly possible. When life drives you to screaming pitch (which it will at some point) do a balance check and ask yourself if it is strictly necessary to get in such a state. If you are really honest you will realise that very few things fall through the compromise crack. In other words, if you compromise and learn to say “NO” to yourself sometimes, it will significantly reduce your stress levels.
Spend quality time with family and friends. It is important to keep a sense of proportion about what you are trying to achieve – other people will help you keep your feet on the ground. Do try to take an annual holiday. If you can’t afford to stay in a hotel, beg a break with friends, or if you need to be alone do a stint of house-sitting. This is an excellent way of getting paid to sit around all day with very little responsibility. By hook or by crook you must physically walk away for at least a week’s break. If you don’t you are in danger of suffering a form of online fatigue. Go away and you will inevitably come back refreshed and raring to drive your business forward.