Happiness. What's it worth?

According to a BusinessWeek article by Carmine Gallo, only 10% of American employees look forward to going to work.  With those same employees working longer hours, a whopping 47.1 a week on average, that makes me think that there are a lot of unhappy employees out there.  In the above mentioned article it points to uninspiring leadership as the major reason employees are less than excited about their work week.  It then gives seven things that employers/leaders can do to change the workplace environment and inspire their employees to not only enjoy coming to work, but also stay excited about the company they work for.  All well and good for those businesses with employees, but what about the independent businessperson?How do you keep yourself excited about your business?  If you’re like most self-employed business owners you’re putting in many more hours than your in-office counterparts.  There is no time clock and you often end up working 16 hour days.  Much of that time is spent doing things that aren’t what you’d consider exciting. Planning an advertising campaign is exciting, designing and printing up the materials, making necessary phone calls, finding the most cost effective avenues to complete the project, not so much. No wonder the luster and shine of your new business gets dull fast! Sure, they are all necessary items for success, but they’re eating up a lot of time. Time that you could be out doing what you do best, the part of your business you love and the reason that you started your own business in the first place.

It’s a proven fact that not only does the modern businessperson put in an overabundance of hours, they are also under increasing levels of stress. Many experts have pointed out that we all need to make changes, make ourselves happy in order to remain healthy. Stress and unhappiness in your job can cause true health issues that can shorten your life.  So what can you do? 

First, stop looking at your business as an “its my business so I have to do it myself” situation. You’re right, it is your business, you make the decisions. What if you made the decision to make it more fun? Decorate your office or office area with things that make you feel good.  Incorporate a pet into your office environment and look at them as your “co-worker”.  Be sure to take breaks for coffee and lunch. Leave work behind at a reasonable hour each night, allowing time for family, fun and relaxing.  In general, treat yourself the way you’d want a boss to treat you in a traditional business setting. Respect yourself.

I can hear the objections now, not enough time, too much to do, etc.  And for independent business people that is especially true.  But what would you say to an employer that told you the business was too busy, with too much work to do to allow you breaks, vacations and weekends?  I have a feeling you’d be looking for a new job pretty quickly. And perhaps that is why a majority of new businesses never make it through their first couple of years.  

Aren’t you worth the effort it takes to not only help your business survive but to be happy too?  Isn’t it worth a trip out of the house to actually have lunch somewhere other than your desk?  Isn’t it worth finding a virtual assistant to do those time consuming items that you hate? Isn’t it worth exploring new ways to keep yourself excited about your business? Isn’t it worth a few dollars for art that makes you feel good when you look at your office walls? 

Think about it, what is your happiness worth?

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Tina Marie Hilton provides online technology services to forward thinking businesses. She writes on her Tips from T.Marie business blog to share insight and information with other small businesses and entrepreneurs. It also makes her feel like that certificate in creative writing isn't going to waste completely.