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The State of You

While the State of the Industry may be solid, the State of You may need some care.

Lately, when speaking with integrators, I get a one-word answer when I ask, “How’s business?” The one word: Busy. Indeed, this issue’s State of the Industry report confirms that CI businesses are indeed busy — with won proposals continuing to grow year-over-year. Which is, of course, good news.

However, while the State of the Industry may be solid, the State of You may need some care. With the rise in business in these current times also comes a rise in pressures.

Recently, Residential Systems bloggers and real-world integrators Henry Clifford, Todd Anthony Puma, and Mark Feinberg have written about some of the stresses they face in this high-momentum time. Henry has written about how he is working to keep his employees from burning out, while Todd and Mark have covered the difficulties in inventory management these days, as well as the dilemmas they face in scheduling work when all the trades are facing supply shortages.

Add into this equation the staffing issues that we have been suffering for years that have become even more dire with the increase in business, and there are plenty of sources for stress that are vying for your attention.

The purpose of pointing this out, when you undoubtedly already know, is not to create more anxiety, but instead to remind you to take some time out for yourself, which is often said but not often done.

It is easy to get wrapped up in all that has to be done, and while small business owners are now recognizing burnout and mental health in their employees, they often dismiss it in themselves. The results of ignoring mental health can include making poor decisions all the way through to physical manifestations.

The are many, many articles and videos available with tips on managing your mental health, but essentially, whichever methods you choose, they mostly boil down to finding time for yourself away from the business, no matter how difficult you think it might be.

Social media can certainly be a cause of stress, but I confess that I enjoy it when I see CI entrepreneurs sharing their hobbies or time off with their followers, and would love to see more follow suit.

Speaking of social, when I first took over Residential Systems, I became aware of a Twitter event that happens every Sunday morning called #AVintheAM. It is followed by commercial and residential integrators who discuss topics of the day as suggested by host Chris Neto. Anyone can follow along by searching out the hashtag, and participate in answers the same way.

My initial reaction to #AVinTheAM was wondering why anyone would “give up” their Sunday mornings to talk shop. Give up is in quotes, because I quickly realized that this was a very light lift for the participants — and a pleasurable one at that. The questions are always intriguing, and the responses range from informative and thought-provoking to funny. This isn’t work, but a way — even as a viewer who doesn’t participate in the discussion — to learn from peers while you sip your coffee and play with the kids.

For those of you who have a hard time turning “work” off in your brains, it may be a nice compromise. Just search out #AVinTheAM in Twitter on Sunday mornings to check it out.

The bottom line is while you are taking care of your clients and your employees, remember to carve some time out for yourself. And if you want to share the ways you keep your head on straight, please email me at [email protected] — I would love to hear them.