Time for a break? Managing overworking as a small business owner

Approximately a quarter of Australian small business owners have become ill due to stress, ultimately needing time off work and defeating the whole purpose of productivity. Most business owners find that they are so invested in their work that they are often viewed as a workaholic, not having interests or a lifestyle outside of work. This current generation has deemed working long, late hours as a normal, and even desirable practice to succeed in business. However, this unhealthy lifestyle can have negative effects on a person, and ripple into the productivity and success of a business. That’s why it’s important to find ways on how to stop overworking.

Key points to remember

  • Overworking yourself as a business owner can have a ripple effect on your employees, your business’ success as a whole and your livelihood. 
  • Taking time for yourself as an individual is not selfish. 
  • There are a range of strategies to implement to achieve a high work output along with getting adequate rest.
  • Explore and utilise technologies and software to streamline repetitive or administrative tasks.

What is overworking?

Overworking as a business owner can often develop into feeling burnt out. Burnout is now officially recognised by the World Health Organisation as an ‘occupational phenomenon’.  It stems from not taking any time away from work to reset and reflect and it shows in one’s mental and physical health. It relates to one experiencing exhaustion and a lack of interest, resulting in a decline of professional productivity and job performance. 

Signs of overworking

A business owner is often strongly invested in all aspects of business operations, however it is important to establish the fine line between work and rest. A range of signs that demonstrate the negative effects of overworking are:

  • Having a negative depiction to work (e.g. not even wanting to go into work/avoiding projects);
  • Showing little motivation for tasks;
  • Finding it difficult to focus and becoming easily distracted;
  • Not looking after yourself (e.g. personal relationships, eating poorly); 
  • Feeling exhausted and overwhelmed even while completing everyday tasks; and
  • Socially isolating yourself and not enjoying hobbies or side activities. 

It is common that business owners are more susceptible to becoming overworked because they are extremely passionate about their work; and it is crucial to recognise the signs in order to effectively manage the situation. If overworking is not dealt with correctly, it can lead to developing serious mental and physical illnesses.

Tips to manage overworking

There are constructive methods to manage your lifestyle to ensure that you are not overworking yourself.

  1. Setting limits – being strict and being able to say no is essential so you are not overloading your schedule. 
  2. Timeblock – planning your day and putting rest or non-work based activities into your schedule. This forces you to think about the importance of having time for yourself. 
  3. Health – prioritise sleep, eating well and exercising as this will help you feel better overall and become more productive at work. 
  4. Delegate – sometimes you have to give up control in some aspects and assign tasks to others. You do not have to complete every activity yourself.
  5. Outsource – certain tasks can become tedious overtime, look into outsourcing or hiring new employees for areas like administration, payroll and blog content. Explore new technologies and softwares that will streamline your everyday work processes and save you time and money.
  6. Relaxation – from time to time, switch off from emails or social media and listen to your body to know when a break is needed.
  7. Non-work life – take the activities (hobbies, trips, sport) that you enjoy outside of work seriously. Understand that there is more to life than just working and create goals around your interests. 

While these tips seem easy and easily implementable, they are often overlooked as a business owner. 

What are some best practices I can implement to ensure I am not overworking?

If you are unmotivated and bring a bad attitude to the workplace, it is likely that your work will reflect this. Essentially, no matter how much you love and are invested in your business, you will eventually be susceptible to becoming overworked and burning out if you do not have balance. If you are building the best version of yourself and taking time out of your day to do the little things you enjoy, you will receive greater return for your hours invested at work. 

A common downside for most business owners is that they never try a different approach to work. It is found that ineffective habits often result in more time spent in the office. For example, if you are feeling overworked, you may try constricting your work hours to find a new way to do things that may be more efficient. Don’t be shy about testing out new softwares as these programs can automate mundane, repetitive tasks for you.

Being realistic and trusting your intuition is crucial. Instead of feeling guilty, set strict boundaries to ensure productivity to focus on what you want.  Though success is often associated with putting in the long hours, overworking is severely draining and affects one’s mental and physical health. If you look after yourself and ensure that you have healthy work practises, you will see an increased output of productivity.

How can we help?

To reduce the strain of everyday processes and legal compliance, it will be beneficial to purchase templates of legal document templates to use in your business. Click here to view a comprehensive library of legal documents which will free up time to foster better relationships with your staff and clients. Contact us at info@businesskitz.com.au or by calling 1300 988 954 for further support with your business needs. 


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