I know you don't want to hear this, but the truth is that there is always more work. At the end of most days I find that I haven't finished my to-do list, there are emails that still need answering and phone calls left to make. I could easily go home every night and continue working. And I know people who do that.
There's also plenty I could still be doing to improve my business; reading useful and thought-provoking books, researching clients, tweaking an important presentation, working on a quote...the list goes on.
Work can often feel like a never-ending cycle - now you can see why it's like a hamster wheel!
I find this tough as a business owner, especially when the main reasons for setting up a business in the first place can be to have more freedom and improve your quality of life.
What I have learnt from working many late nights and being at the call of clients and partners pretty much 24/7 is that this isn't healthy. If you end up working so much that you don't have time to stop and think you can become a 'busy fool'.
The first lesson I gave budding entrepreneurs in an earlier blog post is 'when you are at work, be at work' The reverse of this is also true; when you are at rest, be at rest.
I am not saying that there won't be times where you need to work really hard with no time off, but these should be the exception, rather than the rule. If you are like this all the time, then why? What about work-life balance? Are you holding your company back by not delegating? Are you in danger of burning out?
I try to make my work time productive and focussed, finishing at a set time to enjoy my evening and put my son to bed - he is already growing up so fast and I don't want to miss that. The challenge I face is that I could work late every day and spend every weekend focussing on the business, and probably the companies I am involved in would grow faster, but to what end? Someone far wiser than me once said 'No one ever looked back from old age and said "I wish I has spent more time working"'.
Key things that make this work for me:
- Try and work set hours, and then have some leisure time to relax.
- If you are regularly working long hours ask yourself why. Are the real reasons good reasons?
- Have a list of things that you need to do with the most important task at the top. That way you will never finish the day wondering if you actually accomplished anything, because you will have achieved the most important things.
- Don't answer your work phone outside of work hours unless it is an emergency, otherwise you set the expectation that you are always available.
- If you really have to check your phone set specific times to check it, but try and leave it behind - out of sight, out of mind.