Being in business these days can become a 24 hour occupation. Smartphones mean we’re never far away from our emails, phone calls from clients can be difficult to ignore and for some people even a bank holiday weekend means lots of work.
So what are your views on working on weekends and bank holidays? Do you catch up a little, do you work the whole day as you normally would or do you make sure your computer, phone and email stays off until the long weekend is over?
If you’re in an executive position, sales or the owner of a company, the chances are that you are responsible for a lot in your business. If a disaster happens you may have to be available when you’re needed. But for a lot of people, being on hand for disasters has extended to working a lot of hours with no let up.
Having a work/life balance is important, though in the face of demanding customers, Murphy’s law and generally wanting to do your best you may find that even a bank holiday weekend means being in front of a computer. So should you be forcing yourself to take the day(s) off?
Your game, your rules
My answer for most people who ask me if they work too hard is it’s your business/your job/your life and therefore your rules! Who says that you have to be a work free zone on Bank Holidays if you don’t want to? Who says you have to take any time off at all if you don’t want to? The operative words being “if you don’t want to”. If you truly love your job, don’t need a break, are looking after your health and wellbeing and are getting plenty of time with those people that mean the most to you – I say work whenever you want.
However, if you’re working because customers need something yesterday, because other people in your business aren’t pulling their weight or because you feel you should, this weekend is the time to take a deep breath, put your phone on silent, hide it in a draw, shut down your computer and make a pact with yourself to chill out for a while.
In reality, if you’re used to working that much, it won’t be easy to suddenly cut the proverbial apron strings. You may need to ease yourself into it, so here’s some tips.
1. Make some rules for when you will and won’t work and stick to them! Personally I like to feel like I’ve earned my weekends, so I work pretty darn hard during the week so I can switch off completely between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.
2. Decide to charge extra for rush jobs and out of hours demands and stand firm. If your customers know they can take advantage, they will. But they can also be educated, so though it’s hard remember it’s your rules.
3. Have a system. Make sure there are no temptations for you to work. If you take your mobile on holiday the chances are you’re not going to be able to resist having a quick peek at your emails and messages. Step away from the phone!
4. Get some back up. It’s not as hard as you think to put in place some extra help so you can get a few hours to yourself. These days there are a plethora of services you can use such as call answering, virtual assistants, temporary staff, partnering with other business people in the same position. Take advantage of it.
If you are working this bank holiday, that’s fine. Just make sure you have some time off soon and don’t work too hard. Remember it’s your decision and no one else’s. I’ll leave you with a profound thought for your weekend…
“It’s not that life is short, it’s that you’re dead so long…”