Talk to someone that works for someone else. Their work day will sound vastly different than yours. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, your day seems to never end. You get up early, you stay up late, you think about your job around the clock.
Your friend who has a boss and sits in an office owned by someone else punches a clock in the morning and packs up their desk in the late afternoon with everyone else. Your friend heads home and doesn’t have to think about work again until tomorrow. The nine-to-five is just something you can’t even fathom. Or could you?
Let’s put ourselves in your friend’s shoes for just a moment and look at a typical work day.
They clock in at 9, get settled, grab a cup of coffee and chat up a couple of coworkers. They get some work done before lunch and then spend an hour eating a decent meal. After lunch, they head to the restroom, maybe call home to check in and spend a minute or two getting resettled into their ergonomic chair. They spend a couple hours hunkered down, finishing up a few projects, taking meetings with clients and the like.
Then they clean up and punch out. Does that sound anything like you’re day? We didn’t think so. To be honest, some people have days like this, and some don’t. Some people spend 7 hours a day at work, and others work double-shifts. We aren’t poking fun at these people and we understand they work hard. All we are saying is that the life of an entrepreneur isn’t cut out for the typical work day. There is no punching in, and there’s definitely no punching out.
Why It Doesn’t Make Sense
So we’ve said that the 40-hour work week doesn’t make sense. That, in turn, would tell you that it’s probably not practical. But why not? Because it isn’t realistic. When you start your own company, you can’t turn your brain off. You are thinking about your company and what you can do to make it grow with every step you take. Lay down at night and you can’t get that great idea you had this afternoon off your mind.
In other words, you eat, sleep and breathe your business. It’s normal. Just try to turn it all off, work for eight hours and then go home to a “typical” life. You certainly may be able to do that a few years down the road when your business is self-sustaining to a point. But now? No.To run a successful business, you may need to talk to vendors in another country. You may have to burn the midnight oil finishing a proposal. The reasons that you are working all hours of the day and night are endless. Right now, working 40 hours and then calling it down isn’t feasible….
But You Can Save Time
You might not be able to clock in and out, but there are some habits you can develop that would help you shave an hour or two off your day. Chances are that you are going to use those extra hours to do something else for your business, but that’s your choice.
Here are some time-saving tips:
Eat your frogs first. In other words, tackle your largest tasks or your most important projects first and save the small stuff for last. This is something that can be difficult, especially for those who tend to procrastinate, but it really does work.Here’s how you can do it: Each morning, make a list of what you need to get done for the day. Once you have your list, prioritize it into a checklist, putting the biggest or most important task at the top. Check things off as you go.
This can be tough if you are a one-person show, but if you have people that are either working for you or friends who are willing to help, delegate tasks. Entrepreneurs tend to white-knuckle all of their jobs, but it can be a mistake. If there is something that someone else can do for you, let them. In the famous words of that popular snow princess, “Let it go.”
3. Try to Limit Your Day
Cut an hour off of your day. Yes, we did say that working a 40-hour week wasn’t realistic, but neither is working a 90-plus hour week. If you normally shut the office door at 9 p.m., start shutting it at 8 p.m. It’s going to be difficult at first, but if you stick to it, your anxiety will subside. It’s a mental game you’re playing with yourself. Once you cut an hour off of your day, you’ll start to work smarter, realizing that you have an earlier deadline.
4. Batch Work
Some people find it helpful to lump their work in batches. In other words, they set aside the same hour each day to answer emails.They use the same 30 minutes to return phone calls. They do paperwork from 11 to noon. However you can put certain tasks together, do it. You might find that it helps you get more done.
Get More Productivity Tools and Tips from Company.com
These are just a few tips that may or may not work for you, but it won’t hurt to try. A 40-hour work week may never happen for you, but it doesn’t meant that you can’t organize your time wisely and work smarter. For even more ideas for whittling down your work day and making your small business more productive, reach out to Company.com. We know that you have worked hard for what you’ve built, and we also know that you deserve a personal life. Call us to learn how we can help your business thrive.