managed services-life balanceI often write articles explaining the latest marketing trick that MSPs can use to attract new business opportunities or describing a  simple recipe to close more deals.  This is all great stuff that I am über passionate about; however, I thought I would change it up today.

Over the past month, I have seen a number of my “MSP buddies” become super sick with colds they can’t easily shake, fevers that are furious and even the odd bout of pneumonia.  Why are so many IT professionals getting sick? I am no doctor, but I have some theories.

The first is obvious:

We are working ourselves too hard, taking too much on and not knowing when to say no.  A simple “no” is hard for many of us to get our lips around.

We need to have a solid diet and eat normally.  I remember when I was a young buck running around the streets of Calgary solving every computer issue that came up, a quick hot dog from the sidewalk vendor normally did the trick.  Not today. When I don’t eat a regular breakfast, lunch or dinner I feel tired and worn out.

Taking time off was the next important lesson:

I recently got into photography with the purchase of my new Canon Rebel camera.  This is a wonderful escape from my constant work mindset.  When I get to go out and wander around the Niagara Peninsula region of Ontario, Canada and photograph nature, ships through the Welland Canal or even the majestic Niagara Falls themselves, I give my mind a new workout, something to stimulate new senses rather that constant focus on the same thing.

I can hear many of you now. Stuart I can’t take time away from the office, or I don’t have the right people to help.  Or even worse, what I suffered from for many years, no one can do the job as well as I can.

Well, that is the biggest load of rubbish I have ever heard.  Like I said, I battled through it for many years.

Here are some things you can do right now:

  • Outsource as much as you can.  I outsource almost everything.  I have a talented writer, a great graphics guy, the best SEO team and a website development team that I would put up against the best of the best.  These folks can help you when you get super busy.  Look around at the things you have in your office and what you can outsource today and plan for in the future.
  • Start up a virtual help desk.  Take all those naggy client calls and have an outsourced help desk deal with them. Your clients want service, and yes, you are still there to help them when needed.  However, a well-oiled help desk can field up to 90% of those level 1 calls from clients and free you up to take care of the most important items and have a balanced life.
  • Invest in the right tools.  Recently, I moved Ulistic over to Basecamp.  What a great solution for my business.  What tools are available to your MSP?  ConnectWise, Autotask, Labtech, Level Platforms are all examples of great tools designed to facilitate your business operations and keep you focused.  Invest in them and use them.
  • Get a great coach.  As an MSP coach myself, I help IT firms each day navigate through potential landmines and help them stay clear of disaster.  I help them maintain focus and remind them why they are in business in the first place.

Why are you in business?  I bet you it is not to work yourself into an early grave.  Stop and smell the roses from time to time.  Look around, outsource where it makes sense and take the time to have that balanced lifestyle where work and your own personal interests are aligned.

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