Small-business owners reportedly work twice as much as their employees with some of them putting in over 50 hours per week.1 Most small-business owners go into business to gain freedom, but end up working more than ever. If you own a small business, you likely work these insane hours and have little time for leisure, much less hobbies.
Small-business owners, entrepreneurs and overall career-driven individuals spend most of their time doing work-related things like networking, reading business blogs or honing a new skill. But what non-work activities could you do to improve your business even more? Many studies suggest that challenging your mind in different ways may expand your creativity, mental agility and emotional intelligence.2 Check out these five non-work activities that have been proven to develop skills for business owners:
There are over 400,000 books published each year in the United States. And while you may devour books written about your industry, when was the last time you read a classic novel? Studies show that reading fiction enhances a reader’s ability to understand people’s emotions in the real world.2 So while reading bestsellers about bettering your business is excellent for professional growth, try not to neglect your emotional health.
Expand Your Wardrobe
Take a look at your ensemble. Why did you put on that specific pair of shoes? What statement are you making with that shirt? A series of studies have shown that other people’s expectations appear to be partially based on your attire.2 So when you wake and are picking out your outfit, dress like the professional you aspire to be.
One of the most common ways to increase your innovative thought process is by traveling more frequently, both near and far! A recent study has shown that even by daydreaming about foreign places leads to more creative ideas and various solutions to existing problems.2 So daydream away and book your bus, train or airplane ticket to explore a new and interesting culture.
Become the Customer
Do you know what its like to be your customer? A common goal for small-business owners is to understand their customers better. Although brainstorming with your staff about what the customer wants is helpful, the benefit of going out and gaining experience as a consumer is unmatched. Learning and applying subtle techniques in your customer service will make a huge difference.
Those 12-hour workdays are draining. In order to perform well throughout the day, sleeping enough at night is essential. Studies show that after several days of skipping a good night’s rest, a human being’s attention span and overall mental abilities are impaired.2 So although burning the midnight oil is sometimes necessary, try not to make it a habit.
1O’Callahan, T. (2006 April 13). Business owners work twice as much as employees, survey finds. Retrieved February 25, 2015 from http://www.inc.com/news/articles/200604/overworked.html
2Bailis, R. (2014 June 21). Non-work activities to improve your business success. Retrieved February 25, 2015 from http://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/psychology-of-success/non-work-activities-improve-business-success