"Have you cleared your cache lately?"
This might be the most patronizing question I've ever asked my clients, but it's often the easiest and most effective solution to solving most issues at our company.
Here is a dirty little secret; when we started Gym Lead Machine, I didn't know how to clear my own cache. On my computer, nor in my life.
In short, if you don't already know, clearing your cache on your web browser is the action of removing away stored data and files to allow for new information to become viewable. For example, if your website developer updates a page for you and you view it without clearing the cache off your browser, you may not see the fresh updates until you clear your cached data. Clearing your cache solves a plethora of other problems, including improving your web pages' load time and enhancing your browser performance. Ideally, most regularly used web browsers should have their cache cleared every couple of weeks.
Similar to a web browser, you need to clear your own cache too.
I worked remotely for almost two years before we launched Gym Lead Machine. Working remote was my dream; never tied down to a place, flexible working hours, new environments constantly. I was really good at going away to places like Portugal, Denmark, Italy, and the list goes on, but the truth is that I always had my computer near and was always working. The dream of a digital nomad life looks like a permanent vacation on the outside, but in reality, it can be like looking at the ocean from a hilltop if you let it.
We launched Gym Lead Machine and grew wildly in the middle of pandemic lockdowns (and travel quarantine on my part). There was quite literally nothing to do but work, so work I did -every waking hour.
After three months of this, I was not just tired; I was emotionally exhausted. I was making poor decisions, and I was pretty irritable. I felt like I was working slower, and I would ruminate on clients that pissed me off. Every day felt like an eternity.
In other words, my mental cache was full, and I had done nothing to reset myself. I felt like that "spinning wheel of death" on my desktop.
I was ignoring all the advice that I give to other business owners like "take time off," "spend time away from work," "come back refreshed!" to prevent burnout. Burnout is a sneaky son of a bitch; you don't often see the symptoms of it until you are already at your breaking point. This is especially important for people who are new to working from home/remotely. It is just too easy to answer that email before bed or respond to that slack message after dinner. I promise you won't get a badge of honor for working late or being available at weird times. No one will give you a prize for resetting a password at 6 am or giving Facebook pixel advice at midnight.
There are no gold stars for overworking, but there can be some pretty severe consequences.
The second most patronizing thing I ask now is, "have you taken a break lately?". At Gym Lead Machine, I have my staff set "time off" goals to make sure they look after themselves. Our "office" hours are 9-5 EST every day, and while my staff is allowed to set their own working hours, they are also encouraged to set boundaries and log off when they are done for the day. We have a "duvet day" policy they can use whenever they need to take a day to reset if things have been stressful.
I didn't know how to take breaks a year ago, and now I take them multiple times a day. I didn't know how to be away from my phone a year ago, and now all my apps shut down just after 6 pm, so I will not see notifications come through. I still don't know how to take a real vacation, but I'm working on it.
Walk outside, cook a meal, stare at a wall; I do not care - just take a break and clear that cache.