Most people turn to entrepreneurship because they crave freedom in their working lives. However, numerous polls and surveys suggest that the average small business owner in the U.S. clocks up more than ten hours a day, compared to the eight working hours of their employees.
A recent study found that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours. Therefore, are all those evenings and weekends spent plugging away at your business worth the graft? Evidence suggests not. Instead of burning the candle at both ends, here are four ways you can work less as a business owner and still get everything done.
If you’re looking for ways to work fewer hours as a business owner, you need to start by disciplining yourself. Set boundaries – such as not working past 5 pm or not checking emails on weekends – and stick to them. When you know your to-do list has a time limit, you’re more likely to work through it quickly.
Don’t buy into the notion that “work never stops” for business owners. That will only be true if you let it be. Instead, respect that both you and your business will benefit if you factor regular downtime into your schedule.
Whether you use your laptop, a productivity app or a notepad and pen, making lists is essential for smart time management. Not only will offloading your thoughts onto paper (or, most likely, a screen) improve your mental clarity, it will also help you to prioritize your tasks and allocate timeslots to each one. It may sound obvious, but many business owners neglect to follow this simple rule, relying on their brains to remind them of appointments and deadlines.
One of the biggest mistakes most business owners make is not outsourcing some of their work. If you’re filing your taxes, being your own PA, facing your clients and responding to every single email, you’re going to burn out. Lighten the load and increase your productivity by hiring a bookkeeper or a virtual assistant. You may be reluctant to spend the money, but are you sacrificing valuable time off to get everything done? If the answer is yes, it’s time to offload those tasks to someone else.
Embrace Digital Software
There is so much digital software designed for business owners that you’d be a fool not to embrace the trend. Automated sales assistants like Bidrik Winning Proposals allow you to create professional templates for client quotes, sales proposals, product sheets and more, and will send them directly to your customers. What’s more, the software acts as a storage hub so that you can keep everything in one place.
Whether you’re a veteran business owner or an emerging entrepreneur, chances are you have bought into the myth that you have to work round the clock to make ends meet. This isn’t sustainable, however, and in the long run, either you or your business will suffer. Instead of exhausting yourself, set boundaries around your working hours, manage your time efficiently, embrace digital software and don’t be afraid to hire help.