What would you consider the most important asset for your business? The client base you have earned over the years? The location of your showroom or workroom? Perhaps the brand-new company vehicle you just bought? To me, the most invaluable asset for your business is YOU.
Perhaps you are a small operation like my company, Shades IN Place, and do almost everything, from answering the phone to selling and installing (or fabricating), yourself. Maybe you have a team of people who work for you.
Regardless of the size of your company, we can agree that our industry demands a lot of work from our bodies. If you are in a workroom, you’re sewing heavy pieces of fabrics. If you are a designer, you’re carrying bulky sample books into people’s homes and condos. If you’re an installer, you’re lugging tools and products. You may also be driving for long periods (or sitting in traffic), working long hours, not resting enough and not eating properly.
When I started as an installer twelve years ago (I was 32 back then), I thought I was Superman. I worked 15- to 18-hour days, had little sleep and ate anything (aka fast/junk food). The next day I was refreshed and ready to do it again.
Eventually the price for such abuse caught up with me. My body started to feel the years of negligence and low maintenance. I started to perform poorly and was not able to keep the same speed or even do the same amount of work as I did in my first few years. I had back pain, neck pain, sleep deprivation and was getting distracted very easily.
A few years ago, I decided to buy a package of 10 one-hour deep-tissue massage sessions. They were scheduled for Saturdays at 8 a.m. Those sessions were great at alleviating some of the muscle tension that accumulated during the week. But they were not cheap; it was about $60 per session. So after the 10 sessions expired, I did not buy another package. I thought it would be enough to give me back all of the strength and power I felt in my first years. But I was wrong. After a couple months I was feeling all of the back and neck pain again.
All of the sudden, I realized that my “machine” was screaming for help and nearing a collapse. If the machine suddenly stopped, so would the money coming in.
That was when I realized how important my body was for the business. If it was not functioning at a premium, I would not be able to generate the most income possible. I would increase my expenses by paying more for medical care and perhaps even extend the number of years I would need to work to make up for the shortage of income.
When I finally discovered that taking care of my body was a constant process, just like eating and sleeping, I developed some weekly routines that have helped me immensely with productivity and well-being.
I am way more selective about what I eat now. It definitely costs more to eat organic and healthy foods. But since I started being mindful about what I take in, I have lost over 12 pounds. Feeling lighter has helped me be more agile during my installs.
This is now part of my Saturday ritual. I buy blocks of ten sessions for a better price. As soon as I do the last session, I automatically renew for ten more. The deep-tissue technique allows for a more in-depth relaxation of the muscles that have been overworked through the week.
While the massage sessions relax your muscles and tissues, a chiropractor adjusts and realigns your bones and spine. Think about it: Whether we are sewing or installing treatments, we are always in awkward positions, which either puts pressure on the spine and hips. Every other week I see my chiropractor so he can “realign the machine.”
I am not a big fan of exercise. I have tried gym memberships, but they don’t last for more than a month with me. I always find an excuse not to go. About three months ago someone recommended I try a personal trainer. So far it has been working out great (no pun intended). Because there is someone awaiting me at the gym, I feel obligated to go, which I am doing twice a week. Also, because of my line of work, the instructor has a big focus on working to strengthen my core. The core is the part of the body that holds everything together, so a weak core can cause back and neck pain. It can even cause your legs and hips to ache as the body tries to overcompensate for your poor balance.
Here are other things I do to help my comfort and well-being and, therefore, make me perform at a premium at work:
- Buy comfortable shoes since you are going to be on your feet for a great part of the day.
- Invest in a great mattress. Nothing replenishes your body better than a great night of sleep.
- Drink plenty of water to help keep your organs functioning properly.
- Have a hobby that does not relate to your work. The ability to disconnect from day-to-day activities is very important to making us see the rewards of our work.
Recent studies show that humans are living longer due to enhancements in quality of life, sanitation and medicine. Therefore, it is wise to enhance your body to keep up with the extra years ahead of you, which will hopefully be full of health and wealth.
Roger Magalhaes is certified as a Professional Installer by The Custom Home Furnishing Academy, Lutron, Hunter Douglas, Somfy and Norman Shutters. He is also an active member of WCAA, founder of the Facebook group Free Speech Window Covering Pros, and founder and owner of Shades IN Place, Inc., Franklin, MA, established in 2006.