It was a wonderfully HOT afternoon. I waited until 7:00 pm to go for my run. The temperature hovered at 101 degrees and the humidity was a mere 15%. Hot and dry, exactly what you expect in June, in the desert.
For me, 101 degrees isn’t terrible. The high for the day was 104 so at this point in the day the temperature will start to fall, slowly, and the sun isn’t right overhead; there’s no way I’m going to spontaneously combust.
So yeah, it’s really HOT. But, here’s the thing… “it is what it is”. << yolandaism…
I can’t change the temperature, I’m not planning on moving anytime soon, so I need to adapt. That’s what we folks in the desert do.
When winter arrives and it’s 60 degrees out, we wear parka’s… it’s all relative.
I grabbed my hat, sunglasses, water, music, and headed out the door. Things went pretty well for the first 15 minutes.
Then, as I hit the turn-around point in my 30-ish minute run, and I really started to feel the heat and it struck me… there’s a lesson in all this.
Here’s what I came up with on my hotter-than-Hades run:
5 Ways Minding Your Business is Like Running In the Desert Without Catching Fire
As the season in the desert changes from cold to hot (we only have two seasons), things need to be more carefully planned. You can’t just throw on your sneaks and head out the door for a run anymore. It can get dangerously hot. Things like hydration, protecting skin, clothing choices, all matter. I start to watch the temperature every day and correlate that with time so I can plan my run accordingly. That means changing run times, meal times, sleep schedule, etc.
Your business is no different. Things change. Sometimes it’s just the season from fall to winter, sometimes it’s the economic climate, and then it could just be that gas prices are on the rise again.
Whatever the change is, plans must change along with it. Spending time to carefully plan how you move forward each day, week, and month, will help keep you on target, even when things get hot.
Good planning allows for making the right adjustments at the right time. The hot weather means adjusting not just time of day for running but also what I wear. In order to keep cool, I switch from a plain-Jane cotton t-shirt to specialty fabrics designed to keep the body cool. I also wear a wet bandana around my neck. The evaporative cooling on the big blood vessels carrying oxygen to my brain, help keep my head cool. When it’s hot and dry, I soak my shirt before putting it on, the evaporative cooling really helps… this only works when it’s dry.
There are lots of way to similarly adjust in your business. Sometimes we need to adjust price, other times we need to adjust offerings, during holidays we might need to adjust both price and offerings.
Different tactics work for different scenarios. Keeping track of when the busy season is, so you can adjust by adding in an extra helper, might be one of the adjustments you make. Awareness of how things move along in your business, will allow you to make smart adjustments when needed.
I like to do my runs non-stop but when the heat kicks in I can’t always do that. Over the years I’ve grown to know my limitations. I’ve learned that I need to slow down and that I need to take walking breaks. My heart simply has to work harder at keeping me cool. When it’s hot, the heart rate will rise much faster, as will core body temperature. My body has limitations and knowing them means I’ll have a more successful run if I keep them in mind.
Limitations come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever your business limitations are, embrace them. They just let you know what direction you should be going it. Sometimes limitations mean not enough cash for equipment purchases, not enough manpower for taking on a bigger project, not enough hours in the day, etc. Limitations aren’t necessarily bad; they can help you make better decisions about what you might want to focus on next. If you need more hours in the day, it might be time to look at outsourcing some of your tasks.
So yeah, I generally count the cubes of ice in my water bottle. I know how long it takes for them to melt and at the end of a run I want cold water with just small bits of ice… not warm water and not a bottle full of ice.
At the root of efficiency is process. Just like counting ice cubes, there are countless ways that you can create small processes that save lots of time. Process in your business helps you avoid reinventing the wheel every time a similar task arises. Creating processes for administrative tasks is easy, it just takes making the time to track what those tasks are, what steps are involved, and how you might modify them to be more efficient.
So although lots of people run without water… I’m a little bit of a sweat machine so I always carry water. In the winter I carry 10 ounces for a 30 minute run, in the summer 20 ounces. I don’t carry more than I need and I generally use it all. All kinds of things change in the heat… your body is sweating more, your core temp is rising, and it all can slow you down if you are properly hydrated.
Downtime, like water, is a necessary fuel for running a successful business. Successful businesses don’t run well when the owner or founder is burned out.
How much downtime do you need?
For some, just a weekend off once in awhile is enough to keep them energized. For others, every weekend off is necessary. I work a lot of hours and that means that I need to break them up to keep motivated. I break for a run most days. I break for mindless television or book reading. I don’t generally require an entire day off – I get bored. The point is this, know what you need in terms of recharge time and then do everything you can to get it.
But It’s A Dry Heat
Unfortunately as soon as July rolls around the dry heat becomes a moist heat. The temps stay high, over 100, but the humidity crawls up to 40% or more. It’s the start of our yearly monsoon season; dust storms, thunderstorms, and rain.
That means after spending the last two months acclimating to the dry heat and getting all my strategies in place… I have to change them again. No more wet t-shirts or wet bandanas.
Just as soon as you think you might have it figured out, it will inevitably change again. You can plan, but things don’t stay the same, and you’ll find yourself planning again. You can adjust but just as soon as you have, you’ll find you’ll need to readjust. Your limitations will pop up, and as soon as you tackle them, new ones will show up. Just when you’ve figured out your process, the rules will change, and you’ll be forced to create a new process. And all those things mean you’ll need downtime.
Our businesses, just like the seasons, are constantly changing. The best way to stay on top of constant change is to embrace its consistency.
“It is what it is” afterall.
Photo Credit: ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory