My day usually starts like this: get up at 4am (sometimes earlier), work for a couple of hours until my daughter gets up, drop her off at school, run for an hour or two, then get back to work. This way of working might not sound ideal to everyone (or anyone), but, as an only parent, business owner and runner, organising my time like this works for me.
Except I haven’t had a day like this for months. I still get up at the same time, work, and go through the usual before-school craziness (well, except for the past few weeks, as it’s school hols). But instead of running, I’ve been going to the gym. Why? Because I’ve been injured!
Many of you know I love to run, but I did little of it in the second half of 2020 and none so far in 2021 – firstly, due to a tibial stress fracture, then secondly, due to a torn hamstring tendon. It has been a real challenge. To keep fit, I’ve had to do a lot of weights work and low-impact exercise at the gym. And I’ve started roller skating!
When I was first told I’d have take a couple of months off running, and then three more months, it felt like my world was ending. A little dramatic, perhaps, but that’s just how important running is to me.
I could have spent all those hours I’d normally spend running on the couch, watching Game of Thrones (I’m the only person on the planet who hasn’t watched it). Instead, I hit the gym and did everything I could to improve my fitness.
And it worked.
You see, before my fracture prognosis, I’d spent months plodding along in pain, refusing to believe something was seriously wrong with my shin. All that plodding had negatively impacted my fitness. Once I accepted that my leg needed time to heal, I shifted my focus to exercise that didn’t hurt, but was often of high intensity. The result is that I now feel fitter and stronger than ever. Sure, my running endurance has suffered, but I feel great. Part of me can’t even believe I’m saying this, but the break from running is what my body has needed to recalibrate.
I believe this downtime in my running shares many similarities with downtime in business. We all experience highs and lows in the world of small business. I know I seem to go through insanely busy periods with work, then slower, quieter weeks. Instead of kicking back on the couch, I use this time to work on the “back end” of my business. I do all the things I’ve been putting off. I review, I plan, I write. In this way, I maintain the “fitness” of my business, so when things do get busy again, my foundation remains strong.
Whenever you experience a slower period in your business, why not use it as an opportunity to write? Start planning that book you’ve always been meaning to write. Spend half a day crafting blog posts for the next month or so. Formulate some new marketing material or get cracking on that whitepaper. When you and your business are back in crazy town again, you’ll be grateful you spent that time investing in your business and working diligently to spread your message to the world. You’ll feel stronger and more capable in what you do, too.
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