By Jon Smith, Author Of Smarter Business Start-Ups

In the heat of battle it is quite easy to forget about the basics in terms of your health and well-being – but launching a business can be and often is an incredibly stressful experience. The weight of responsibility and the meeting of self-declared targets affect the human body and mind in ways hitherto never experienced.

Stress and burnout are certainly the buzzwords of the day in terms of the number of people taking extended leave away from their jobs, and whether half of them are really suffering with anything more than laziness is something that we can only guess at. However, that is not to belittle the fact that in some way, be it small or profound, the launching of your business will take its toll. Being aware of this is half the battle in stopping it from affecting you too much just when you need to be in tip-top condition and fully aware of your situation and surroundings.

When planning a business you will be setting targets in terms of how much you need to make each month, how much you can spend and how many customers you hope to have served within a given amount of time. It is also important to set yourself targets for what you can achieve in any given day.

Back-to-back meetings are sometimes an unavoidable necessity, but a week of them will take a toll on you and your performance. Try to balance your working week, even during the preparation of a business plan, so that you spread the load and fill your day with a variety of tasks requiring different skills, rather than working on a spreadsheet for eighteen hours in one single stint.

You hear it all the time: business people complaining that there just isn’t enough time in the day to eat properly. This might make them feel like martyrs and earn respect from certain other colleagues, but what is it really achieving? You can’t expect to run the company car without putting in fuel, so why is your body any different? Breaking for lunch or dinner is time not spent on the business, but you will be far more refreshed and energised to do quality work for hours afterwards with a nice meal digesting away inside you.

You cannot ignore your long-suffering family. Creating a business can and often does become an obsession, but relationships with partners, family members and children cannot be turned on and off when you feel like it. Don’t be a stranger in your home and make sure you put the business on hold every now and again to communicate with your nearest and dearest. Often a short break and concentrating on something completely different can recharge the batteries and prepare you for tomorrow far better than revising the business plan for the seventeenth time.

Keeping in shape doesn’t have to mean a macho gym and squash programme. Do what you enjoy, not what is in fashion. If salsa dancing or rowing is what you enjoy, do it! Exercise should be fun if you are going to make it a regular habit.

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