Tell the truth: Are you working too much?
Does your family need to rip you away from the computer in order to spend time with you? Are you looking a little pale from being inside all day?
I know many business owners who work far more than they need to. It’s not that they want to work hard; it’s usually that they don’t know how not to.
Today I want to tell you why I don’t think you have to work so hard (unless you want to), even if you’re not sure how that’s possible.
It wasn’t always this way for me
I was fortunate to learn my “stop working so hard” lesson while I was still in college. By age 20 I was burnt out, depressed, and down right miserable. My grades were suffering. My health was suffering. My life was suffering.
Then I met a woman named Sarah, a fellow intern where I was working one summer.
Sarah was one of the most up-beat, happy, well-rested people I knew. She seemed to have fun and get her work done, and she also seemed really, um, normal.
One day we had a conversation about sleep and school. She told me how she always made sure she got eight hours a sleep each night. I was baffled. How did she get her homework done, work as a TA, spend time with her boyfriend, workout, and sleep eight hours each night? At the time I didn’t have a boyfriend or work out, so how she did all of that was totally unbelievable.
I asked her, “How do you get it all done and still sleep eight hours?”
Her response was, “I sleep eight hours and the rest gets done.”
Needless to say, I didn’t really believe her, but I also knew she wasn’t lying.
The quest of curiosity
When I returned to school that fall, I decided to see if I could figure out how to get it all done: go to class, complete my school work, hold down my 10 hour/week job, volunteer every Friday afternoon with at-risk youth (a requirement for a scholarship I had), and sleep eight hours each night. I also had to manage duties as Vice President of my sorority, and I decided to put exercise back on my daily routine.
I realize this might sound little a bit much.
That fall I learned that it was totally possible to do it all. Not only did I get all of my homework done and exercise daily, my depression began to lift, my health improved, and my grades went up significantly.
I started to realize that I could get far more done during my day than I ever thought possible. I saw all of the things I had been doing that were killing enormous amounts of time, compromising my sleep, and limiting my success in school.
Making it all work
Over the course of that year and during my senior year in college, I massaged my approach to life, school, work, and my commitments, and I learned how to get far more done in less time.
When I graduated from college and joined the corporate world, I took my philosophy with me. To make it all work, I needed to…
- Figure out what was most important and put that first.
- Focus on the task at hand, whatever it was I was doing, and put all of my attention on that one thing.
- Simplify and systemize everything, so I wasn’t wasting any unnecessary effort on anything.
- Delegate. As an engineer, I liberally delegated to technicians, which meant I got tons of work done through them. As a manager, I liberally delegated to my staff to let them showcase their talents on the big projects and save myself from extra work.
- Know when and how to say no and how to set good boundaries.
No one was going to make it happen for me, so I had to make it happen for myself.
I learned these ideas in college. I practiced and refined them during my corporate tenure. I continue to use them as an entrepreneur and business owner.
The essential shift
When I first discovered that Sarah’s trick actually worked, I told my college friends that they could sleep more, get their homework done, and improve their grades. Not many people believed me. They were too entrenched in the idea that they had to pull all-nighters to get it all done.
I see this same problem with business owners and other professionals. They think they need to work long, hard hours to be successful. However, long hours aren’t required to get it all done. It’s the ideas listed above that skyrocket your productivity.
You don’t have to work long hours unless you want to. You can sleep, exercise, and run a business, if that’s what you want. The first step is to decide that you’re ready for things to change.
Ready to learn more?
Would you like to learn how to fit more into your day? Would you like to work less but not earn less?
On August 3rd, I’m hosting a FREE class: The Secrets to Working Less Without Making Less – A Tell-All Telecall on Creating a Business that Supports Your Life.
You can register right here. Yes, it’s free.
You don’t have to work so hard. I’ll show you how.
In the comments below, tell me…
1. Have you made the shift in your business to work less without making less? If not, are you ready to make this shift?
2. What helps you get it all done?