Many people attack the problem areas in their business with the mantra, “When things get tough, I just work harder.”

This is a philosophy that looks admirable on the surface, but actually can adversely affect our goals. Surprisingly, the answer isn’t necessarily work “smarter,” either. The true answer to problem areas in business might be at the very core of our selves and our lifestyles.

When business planning, we strive to define goals, to establish and maintain the systems that support those goals, and to manage our time and resources accordingly. What we often do not do, that can result in serious problems, if not outright disaster, is plan for our selves. And we’re not just talking about the last time you had a vacation (without the cell phone.) We are focusing here on all the aspects of your life that allows you to recharge your body and mind in order to sustain your personal and business success.

Imagine a balance wheel that is drawn around your being. It would include health: diet, sleep, exercise, and relaxation (a.k.a. stress management.) Like any visual of this nature, if your self-assessment of these elements is lop-sided, you have identified the problem area(s) that limit your success.

Dr. Paul Pearsall, in his book TOXIC SUCCESS: HOW TO STOP STRIVING AND START LIVING, has labeled this tendency toward constant motion/drive in work while ignoring the self as “toxic success,” and reminds us of the 19th century folk hero, John Henry, who infamously tried to manually out-produce a steam-powered drill with a hammer and pick, but died after “winning” the race. He warns us that a single-minded focus can delude us into thinking we can control any and everything while we ignore our internal energy fuel gauge.

Focusing singularly on the business while wolfing down fast food—or not eating at all—obsessing on the market while losing sleep . . . our habits become self-defeating. This critical area is also what Stephen Covey refers to as “sharpening the saw,” in his book THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE, and he urges us to pay attention to it in our every day lives.
Remember, too, that personal attitudes have a huge influence on how we approach our problems. Believing that problems are permanent and insurmountable pretty well predicts that very outcome. However, by focusing on the health of our being, we can also take control of those attitudes that eat away at our ability to problem-solve.

You probably already know the drill: time manage for your self the way your time manage for your daily appointments and office duties. Exercise and sleep should be blocked off on your calendar. Relaxation breaks should be allotted for in definite terms, be it yoga, vacation, reading time, or the social hour. Remember that your business can’t run without you, so taking care of you should be a primary focus in every day planning and in long-term vision. You need to do it!