Staying Fit: Balance Your Home Based Business

Millions of people long to work from home, and the lucky few manage to achieve their ambition.  Once you have realized the dream, it’s important to maintain the work-life balance or you could find your effectiveness declines.  Working at home still has its own pitfalls: you’ve left the day job and you’re no longer shackled to the desk by your evil boss.  But your new boss can be even more tyrannical – it’s you!!

The urge to make your business succeed is powerful.  All entrepreneurs feel that sense of urgency, and the need for perfection.   By making that change to the next e-mail or tweaking the website, it’s going to make all the difference to the success of the business.  We all have to remember that the most important business asset we hold is ourselves, and we should prize it accordingly.  It is a truism that we only get one body, so we should take care.  Treat yourself like a thoroughbred, with the right diet, rest and exercise.

Chances are that your work-space wasn’t designed for the job.  If you don’t use an office chair you are likely to be hunched over your screen, risking upper back tension and repetitive strain injury.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting a complete ergonomic assessment: I left my job to get away from the box-tickers!  It is possible to work in less-than-ideal conditions and survive, as long as we take some sensible steps and regular breaks. 

The other risk of internet working is a decline in your fitness, if you’re not very careful.  It’s easy to feel that time spent working out is time stolen from your business – try to change your mindset and see that this is a key part of your requirements.  You need to maintain your fitness routine for the sake of mind and body.  The work at home entrepreneur often spends hours each day without talking to another human being face to face.

To deal with your posture and fitness needs, try to ensure you get out of the chair at least once an hour, and do a few stretches and shrugs to release tension in your neck and shoulders.  Stand with feet slightly apart and let you body relax downwards to touch your toes with the fingertips (or as far down as you can reach).  If you repeat this one regularly it’s encouraging to see how much your flexibility can improve in a short time.

It is a really good idea to leave your office once every three hours.  You can set an alarm to remind you, then go outside and walk for at least ten minutes.  If you have been hitting some blocks during the working day this is an ideal time for problem-solving: the fresh air will do wonders and help you think clearly.

Once a day, do some type of fitness work.  If you can get to a gym for a full workout, that’s great and you will feel great afterwards.  If not, make sure you do something.  Here are a few exercises you can do anywhere:

- Stand up and place your hands on your knees and breathe out, pulling the abdominal muscles in strongly.  Hold for at least ten seconds, and breathe in.  Repeat ten times, build up gradually to at least 20 repetitions by the end of a fortnight.

- Stand up and raise elbows level with your shoulders, and twist slowly as far as possible to your right.  Repeat the exercise to the left, do at least ten repetitions in each direction.

- Stand up facing away from a solid table or chair, place palms on the surface with fingers pointing forwards.  Lower your body, keeping back straight and a slight tension in your abdominals. Come back up using the strength in your arms.  Repeat at least ten times.

These are just a few ideas designed to take less than five minutes, and you will feel better for doing them.  It’s also important to manage your time and allocate leisure breaks as well as time for socialising with friends and family.  If you are in the first year of setting up your business try to spend at least 30 minutes a day on something different – it is too easy to become blinkered, thinking and talking exclusively about the business.  Try to make this a habit, or you run the risk of bore everyone around you rigid!

One last idea, which may not be available to everyone, is to get a dog.  This is a great way to get away from the desk and keep active, and immensely rewarding.  If you can't have a dog of your own, see if anyone nearby needs a dog walker.  Now there's a home business idea .......

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