Working long hours may seem to be the best way to satisfy client needs and meet new prospects, but it can take a toll on your health. And too much work reduce your ability to concentrate and lower your productivity, ultimately hurting your bottom line.
“Our workforce is probably among the most ‘worked’ workforces in the world,” says Joshua Zuchter, a business and life coach in Toronto. “And that’s also why stress is at an all-time high.”
These easy tips can force you to reduce your work hours — without neglecting your business:
> Make outside commitments
Sometimes it’s hard to tear yourself away. To help ensure you leave the office at a reasonable time, commit to other activities after work, Zuchter suggests. Carpooling, for example, ensures you will get up from your desk on time. Arranging to pick up your children from school gives you an inflexible deadline to finish up business and head out. Volunteering gives you another reason to check out of the office.
> Take regular breaks
Getting up from your desk throughout the day makes you more productive and will help keep your work hours down.
“Some people will work straight through the day,” Zuchter says. “That is not healthy mentally or physically.”
Take at least 30 minutes for lunch every day. As well, try to take four five-minute breaks throughout the day — two in the morning and two in the afternoon.
> Schedule free time
Taking time off regularly can help refocus and rejuvenate your mind so you can get more done during the workday. When you take time off, don’t focus on anything work-related — whether it’s answering emails or reading Investment Executive, says Catherine Nomura, director of business development at Toronto-based Strategic Coach. Avoiding things work-related during your free time will improve your productivity and your focus when you are at the office.
Focusing on business all the time can reduce your effectiveness and your ability to concentrate when at work.
“After a while you tend to get reactive and you can’t be as creative anymore,” Nomura says. “It takes longer to actually get the same amount of work done.”
> Set reminders
Whether it’s through your smartphone, a computer alert or a sticky note — set reminders to tell yourself when it’s time to go home.
“We use [electronic tools] to remind us of appointments,” Zuchter says. “You can also use them to tell you it’s time to finish work for the day and go home.”
> Get your team and clients onboard
To make sure your free time is uninterrupted and that you will make your after-work commitments, let your team and your clients know when and why you’re unavailable.
Ensure that your assistant doesn’t schedule appointments during your allotted free time. When you’re off, screen your calls to ensure you don’t get “work leaking in and destroying your free day,” says Nomura.
Explain to clients that you take time off in order to serve them better. “You’ll be able to take a fresher look at their issues,” Nomura says.
While you may think you’re working overtime to make extra money, keeping to a strict schedule is better for your business. “It’s critical for advisors to take time off to increase their incomes,” Nomura says. “Otherwise you reach a point of diminishing returns.”