We live in a country that seems to celebrate a workaholic lifestyle. Think about how many people you’ve heard practically brag about staying up all night working or never taking a vacation day. Too many entrepreneurs are wearing their busyness as a badge of honor.
In the current environment where the lines of work and home are increasingly blurred, it’s gotten even more challenging. It appears busyness has become our drug of choice.
Studies have shown that a person’s productivity goes down significantly long before many people call it quits for the day. If you’re working a lot of hours, your misguided worship of “the grind” is keeping you from reaching your goals.
The key to finding time isn’t about being more disciplined. You must be willing to be honest about how you are using your time.
Prevent work from taking over your life with these strategies:
- Set a time boundary. It helps to put a limit on your workday, like going home at 6 pm. Or put a limit on a specific task, like one hour. Having a schedule helps to focus, too. If you know that a task has to be done by a certain time, you’ll focus.
- Disconnect from the Internet. Maybe you’re working all hours of the night because you’re wasting too much time online. While some tasks require an Internet connection, there aren’t many. When it’s time to work, work. Then when it’s time to have fun, enjoy it!
- Get a hobby. Find something to do that you really enjoy, preferably something that has nothing to do with your work. People that work a lot don’t think they have time for a hobby. If you have a wonderful reason to not work, you’ll spend less time at work.
- Spend time with your family and friends. Your family is an enormous part of the reason you’re working, anyway; it makes little sense to ignore them so you can spend more time working. Think about it. Kids grow up fast and will be out of the house before you know it.
- Work less and get more done. Are you working longer hours because you can’t get enough done during regular business hours? If you have this challenge, perhaps you spend an inordinate amount of time on tasks that don’t matter that much. Allocate most of your time on the most important tasks, instead.
- Focus your attention on the most important things. Get the big stuff done and then get to as much of the minor stuff as you can.
- Give your health top priority. Working too much is unhealthy. Between the stresses, lack of sleep, and horrible food, it takes a serious toll on your body, health, and emotional well-being. Center your health and you’ll see your working tendencies in a fresh light.
- Find other people that have an exceptional work / life balance. It’s usually easier to learn from someone else that’s already accomplished what we want to accomplish ourselves. Seek friends, co-workers, and neighbors that have the lifestyle you’d like to have. Maybe they can offer some pointers and advice.
Too much time at work negatively affects your relationship with your family and friends. Remember, no one says on their deathbed, “I wish I had spent more time at work.” In the long run, family is always a priority.
Avoid falling into the busyness trap. Set a schedule and stick to it. Focus on your health. With some intention and experimentation, you can get your work done and still get home at a reasonable hour.