Are you a self-employed wedding photographer/business owner and entrepreneur?  Do you find it difficult to stop and think about taking care of yourself?  I can relate, believe me, as over the past 5 years, I had put my business before everything else; my family, my needs and even my own health.  I know now that it was a big mistake – and it came at a huge price.  I am still coming back from an unhealthy lifestyle and after a year of concentrating on my health, I am finally getting back to my old self.

Recently I was watching a documentary by Michael Moore called “Where to Invade Next“.  At first I was blasé about it -the movie was on in the background, but I stopped what I was doing to sit and watch with my full attention as it hit home on many levels, and at one point, I realized; my past decisions about myself and my business were more misguided than I thought!

Your personal life DOES have an effect on your business.  Here are some great tips for you entrepreneurs out there…no matter what field of work you are in!

Here are three ways you are hurting your business:

1. YOU ARE NOT TAKING BREAKS

As Moore visits Italy, Germany, France, Slovenia, Tunisia, Portugal and Scandinavian countries he finds in these countries that employees are required to take those paid breaks since stress is recognized as anti-productive. Italy’s employees take 2 hour lunch breaks to meet with family and friends at home and partake of a mid-day meal together.  Laughter, conversation and good food is the centre of those vital breaks.  Couples everywhere are walking hand-in-hand, looking as if they (according to Moore), just finished “making love”.  The result?  Less stress equals better health and that means less people taking time off of work!

TAKING BREAKS MAKES YOU MORE PRODUCTIVE!

2.  YOU ARE NOT EATING RIGHT OR EXERCISING

Elementary student’s in France are fed nutritional meals that include a cheese, salad course a main course of lamb and vegetables, lots of water and even a gourmet dessert.  They sit around a table together with glass plates and real cutlery and are taught to serve each other and share.  I was struck by this wonderful scene of little children sitting with Michael Moore (who tried to give one of the children to taste his Coca-Cola, who sipped the coke gingerly and preferred her water), no phones or tablets were in sight.  THEN they went outside to play in the sunshine.  The idea here is healthy minds and bodies equals better and more beneficial thinking time – note this does not necessarily mean longer/more time at the desk afterwards – there is no homework!  By the way, schools that implement this philosophy have the highest grade point averages.  Go figure.

3.  YOU ARE MAKING YOURSELF  TOO  AVAILABLE

Do you answer emails or even look at them after hours?  You are on the road to burn-out if so, according to to this article on Germany.  There are countries that are working on making contacting employees after hours illegal.  Huh?!  I don’t know about you, but I love this idea!  In Germany, 4 weeks vacation is a requirement – giving people their space away from work is that important!

Italy requires employees to take at least 4 weeks and they even give employees an extra month’s pay in December so you can afford to go on those vacations.  The result?  Happy, healthy, productive workers work hard and appreciate where they work when they are at work!

After watching this great documentary (it had so much more to offer) it reinforced that there is so much more to this life than my business.

Yes, it is important, but what you do for yourself and for those around you is just as important.  Creating a life of balance, a happy and healthy home life and most of all, not spreading yourself too thin is vital.

As an entrepreneur, you have control, after all, isn’t this why you went into business for yourself in the first place?

I would love to hear your thoughts!  Leave your comments below!