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Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


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News & Articles

April 21, 2021 |

Put Self-Care on Your To-Do List

Taking time to recharge and adopting healthy habits not only increase well being, but can help busy channel pros to be more effective business leaders too.

A HEALTH SCARE followed by the loss of a friend in 2018 was a wake-up call for Angel Rojas. His blood pressure was high, his weight had shot up to 300 pounds, and his life “”basically was eat, work, and sleep.””

The owner and CEO of Brandon, Fla.-based DataCorps Technology Solutions acknowledges he wasn’t bringing his best self to his family or his business. “”We lose a lot of creative capacity when we don’t rest and when we don’t take care of ourselves,”” he says. “”You come to work with a distracted, exhausted, unfocused version of yourself that isn’t really ready to tackle the challenges of the day.””

He’s not alone. Channel pros know all about taking care of their customers, but often fail to take good care of themselves. Yet, 93% of ChannelPro readers recently polled agree that self-care is important for them to excel at their job.

Don Crawley, an IT industry speaker, trainer, and author of The Compassionate Geek, says it’s easy for MSPs who are small business owners to get caught up in a cycle of working more and more, but notes that research has shown effectiveness declines when people don’t take time to recharge. “”You need to be intentional about self-care,”” he says.

Angel Rojas

For Rojas, that started with examining how he got to that point. “”A lot of it had to do with the way I saw myself. DataCorps was my identity. I didn’t even know who I was. I didn’t really have any hobbies. I didn’t do anything to relax.””

He began by choosing a hobby, flying remote-control helicopters. A year later, he tackled his weight, turning to a retired Army Ranger to help him with a fitness routine.

It’s a discipline he’s stuck with, along with adopting a low-carb, high-protein diet. Today he’s down 100 pounds and feels better physically and mentally. Friendships and family relationships have “”improved greatly,”” says Rojas, who adds that he’s also been applying some lessons learned in counseling prior to his health diagnosis.

“”One of the biggest takeaways I got from counseling was getting tools to handle stress better,”” he explains. “”There is no problem in business that I can’t walk away from and come back to later. A lot of times in IT, we think that everything’s got to be fixed now because the client’s screaming.”” These days, he’ll evaluate if he even wants to keep that client. “”Nothing is worth my blood pressure getting up.””

He also learned to set boundaries. “”All MSP owners will always say yes to almost every job. A big turning point was when I stopped saying yes.””

By working less, says Rojas, “”I’ve made more of the time I’m working. So I’m trying to be more intentional in everything.”” That includes “”living life with margin,”” which means not packing his calendar with back-to-back appointments and tasks that leave no space in between.

Awareness Is a Journey

Rojas’ journey is not atypical, says Crawley. “”As we’re building our careers, a lot of times we’re willing to sacrifice sleep so we can grind away and that can be terribly debilitating long term and also short term in terms of your concentration and your cognition.””

Shael Risman, CEO of Toronto-based PACE Technical, recalls the early days of building the company with his partner when “”[work-life] balance wasn’t where it should have been.”” Now with an established business along with the advent of remote technology “”it allows you a little more freedom.”” He adds, “”Plus, I’m getting older and my kids are older.””

Crawley says awareness of the need for self-care increases as we get older. “”As we see some of our friends suffering debilitating diseases as they age, or as we suffer them ourselves, it’s a flashing warning light that says, ‘Hey, maybe you need to slow down, or maybe you need to eat more fruits and vegetables and drink less Red Bull,”” he says.

That doesn’t mean always choosing a carrot over a cookie, of course, but to be intentional about the choice. “”I’m going to eat a cookie,”” says Rojas. “”I’m not going to eat the whole box.””

Crawley also recommends adopting an interest beyond work. “”Whether it’s auto mechanics or yoga or meditation or woodworking or cooking,”” he says, “”do something that takes you away from the IT world.”” ChannelPro readers surveyed say their top self-care activity is good nutrition, followed by regular exercise, downtime/family time, and hobbies.

Adopting a new habit for self-care doesn’t happen overnight, however, Crawley cautions. To ensure success, go gradually by reinforcing the new behaviors and new habits.

Rojas recommends to first decide what’s important to you, and then focus on that.

Helping Employees with Self-Care

Shael Risman

Self-care is not just important for the boss, either. Risman notes that as he began to delegate more, “”you become completely aware of the fact that those people picking up your responsibility have work-life balance issues as well.””

That’s why PACE’s employee benefits include reimbursement for things like gym memberships. And in response to the pandemic, PACE increased its mental health benefits. The company also started a voluntary 15-minute staff-led mindfulness exercise on Teams every morning. “”I’ve been there several times and it’s a great start to the day.””

Risman stresses the importance of taking a vacation too. “”We have a policy here. If you don’t take your full vacation you have to come to me personally and tell me why.””

According to Crawley, self-care is not only good for workers, it’s good for business. “”You make better decisions. You’re going to see things differently,”” he says. As owners “”recognize the importance of our relationships with our employees and our staff, the frontline people who represent us to our clients, we begin to realize that as we treat them, they then treat our clients. And that helps us build relationships with our clients, which helps us build our revenue, our business. And frankly, it makes us feel better at the end of the day.””

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