When you own your own business, there’s a feeling that the work is never done. If you’re not clocking 10 to 12-hour days, you must not be working hard enough. So how does Tim Ferris argue that you can have a 4-hour workweek? I don’t think that the reality is quite that simple.
I’m in the process of building my second business. I constantly feel like I should be doing something that revolves around the business. If it’s not client work, then I should be writing, if I’m not writing then I should be researching. You get the picture. I was repeating this pattern until recently. I found that when the weekend arrived, I wasn’t really doing anything work-related except worrying about it. At the same time, I wasn’t really enjoying my time off.
I finally concluded that I needed to make a conscious effort to take at least one weekend day completely off. Amazingly, the sky didn’t fall and I’m still in business. In fact, I’m more productive when I get to my office on Monday morning. This upcoming weekend, I will be taking my first vacation in over a year. I’ve been telling myself that it’s okay to disconnect for 5 days and wondering if that’s truly possible.
I think the anxiety associated with my business is exacerbated by technology. Because we have the ability to connect at any time, anywhere, there’s this underlying feeling that we’re going to lose out if we don’t check.
I’ve met several Millennials who have recently started finance jobs. They have two phones, one personal, one for work. They are completely unable to turn off for fear that a senior manager will send them an email that needs immediate attention – no matter what time or day or day of the week. This process is setting them up to always feel like they’re not getting enough done.
The level of burnout as they get older is going to skyrocket in my opinion. I don’t blame them, I blame their managers, many of whom grew up with similar demands but without the same technology. My ex-husband used to come home at 11:30 pm on Saturday night after working on a deal. The difference was, that until the Blackberry appeared, he actually got to sleep and disconnect when he wasn’t at the office.
As business owners, we have the authority and the choice of how we spend our time. Working smart makes sense, working hard can too if it’s actually moving you towards the goals your seeking. In The One Thing,* authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan suggest asking yourself “What’ the ONE thing I can do, such that by doing it everything else will become easier or unnecessary?”
In Fix This Next,* Mike Michalowicz says you need to find the biggest problem and address that first. If your business foundation is not strong, then the rest will fall apart at some point.
No matter what your business, taking the time to step back and assess what really needs to get done and, finding the time to disconnect from work altogether are critical components to your business success.
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