Over-working 60-70 hours per week and even more?
Familiar with feeling like you are on a hamster wheel with no way off? Are you losing momentum, and aren’t even sure what the next best step is when it comes to getting ahead?
Is your dream vacation, scheduled for “some day,” yet that “some day” continues to be pushed further and further out?
If you are experiencing this in management or business right now, working long hours has likely been going on way too long. Join the club of hundreds of thousands of over-working, over-tired, well intended, go-getters.
I totally understand, I’ve been there myself. In fact, my husband swears I was over-working upwards of 80-hours per week. (I got up in the middle of almost every night to work on projects I just couldn’t figure out how to complete during my normal work hours.)
You see, I thought that if I just worked a little bit harder, and could just turn that corner, things would get better. Years went by with that same mindset. I still worked all those hours without play time or vacations. In fact, I worked so much that when I was diagnosed with Stage IV Lymphoma, I didn’t have time for that either…
Unless you have a startling life experience, often you work for years and the corner never comes. Instead, it becomes a habit and a way of life.
My heart for you is to not have my wake up call, (BTW – I am now cancer free and work about 20 hours per week and live in paradise).
Instead here’s how to break free of the cycle of over-working in 5 not so easy steps:
1. Set a start and stop time at work and stick to it!
My trick? Set dates with friends that you want to be around, schedule family activities that force you to move away from work. Make a promise to someone you will not break.
2. Sleep all night instead of sneaking out to work in the wee hours of the morning.
I have to admit, I still struggle with this one, however, it’s down to a couple of nights per month instead of every other night. The habit of disrupting your sleep causes weight gain and actually decreases your productivity. You make a lot more mistakes because your brain does not function in top form when it lacks sleep.
My tip? Stop taking on projects that stress you or feel like a lot of work. Realize that you can make plenty of money without trying to do more. Be exceptionally great at what you do best and set boundaries. When you are amazing, (fully present with your highest skills) you can charge higher fees by learning to help your people or clients solve their own problems. When you do this well, you actually work less. You can then farm out your midnight oil burning work or will finally have the time to do it.
3. Get help to do all the things you can’t charge a client to do.
This work might also be called your “cringe” work – all the stuff you procrastinate on. At first, you may say “I can’t afford an assistant,” gradually you will realize you can’t afford not to have their help because they like your “cringe” work and it gets done. Once you find people you can trust, this allows you no excuse to do the real money making activities.
My trick? I started with interns; they taught me for free how to decide, organize and explain the work I wanted done. Eventually, I graduated to an overseas service. They were the right price, but for me was difficult to get across what I wanted. Finally, I found a Virtual Assistant, who balances me and craves my “cringe” work. Whew!
4. Take mini-weekend vacations at least once a month.
My tip? Plan those vacations in advance and where possible, pay for them up front. There are amazing wonders just hours from where you live. This time away allows you the rest and the relationship time that will both fuel your work and reconnect you with your family. You can’t lose with this. Even an afternoon picnic in the park is better than excusing yourself, again, from those you love.
5. Clear all the BS (belief systems) that tell you steps 1-4 are not an option.
Maybe you can see what you are doing and a way out; if you can, good for you. I couldn’t and I argued profusely with every one on the points above. I reassured myself that my break was just around the corner. It was, it was my breaking point.
You see, when you think “this is the only way”, then it is the ONLY way. The problem is that you made up that thought. When we buy into our thoughts (or the ones we are told over and over again by others we trust) that the only way to success is through hard work, long hours and lots of sacrifice, this infers that maybe, just maybe, one day you can enjoy life – later. What if this were not true?
What if you could have your cake and eat it too? What if you could work and enjoy life today? I’m not talking all play, I’m talking work and play. If you aren’t doing both, it is likely your family no longer believes that you are going to spend time with them. Is it time to change that? If you think all of your plates will crash and break if you stop working for those extra 4-5 hours per day, I’d like to challenge your approach.
My tip? Get someone to help you see a way through this cloud of impossibility. To support you in seeing your life the way you would like to see it. Your spouse is not the one, it’s not fair to him or her. When you hire someone to work with you, you are more likely to listen.
What are you going to do about this? If you say to me, “Not now, I’m almost there, I can feel it, it’s just around the corner,” go back and re-read this article.
Would you like help taking these 5 not so easy steps?
Act now, this offer may be subject to change or withdrawal.