Online technology means you can choose when, where and how to work. But with all that flexibility comes the risk of overwork. We look at how to get the balance right.
These days it’s possible for many of us to ditch the daily commute. With secure data sharing and improved communication channels (from Slack to Skype) you could save hours of travelling or be sure to leave the office on time, knowing you can catch up on those figures later in the evening. Working from home is a great option for many people, but it’s important to be disciplined. After all, emails you send late at night while sitting in front of the TV might not be your finest work.
One thing at a time
Mobile technology certainly saves time. Most small business owners agree that being able to get things done on the go is a game changer. But all that convenience won’t make you a natural-born multi-tasker. Make the most of unexpected quiet moments to catch up on work, but focus on the task in hand. It’s easy to make mistakes if you’re trying to walk the dog/cook the dinner while simultaneously sending out invoices or estimates.
Work, rest and play
Working for yourself in a mobile world means you needn’t stick to standard hours. Perhaps you’re most productive at 7am, or prefer to take Tuesdays off and work every Sunday. However unconventional your timetable, make sure it includes plenty of time for rest and relaxation. Make a date to meet friends or sign up to an exercise class to counteract the magnetic pull of your inbox.
Your clients are bound to appreciate flexibility, whether that’s agreeing to visit them after office hours or putting in extra time to help them meet a deadline. But if your clients know they can reach you at any time, the chances are, they will. Set some firm but friendly boundaries, making clear those times when you’re not available and when you’ll get back to them. Don’t be afraid to delegate. Get a good team behind you and you can reassure clients that you’re leaving them in capable hands.
Know your limits
Growing your business is easier than ever, thanks to mobile technology. As a result, many of us are working harder than ever. Stress can have a negative impact on both productivity and general health, so learn to say ‘no’ from time to time. The light from your smartphones can disrupt all-important sleep, so banish it from the bedroom for a better night’s rest. Taking a break from your business is a great idea, but it can be tempting to check out your accounts from that hammock on the beach.
Be strict with yourself. You may love tracking every second of your growing business, but remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder.