Who’s heard of or read the book the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris? Who’s heard of the saying do what you love and you’ll never work again? Yes, me too.

Now Tim’s book is an interesting read and doing what you love is great. BUT…only doing what you love and the concept of only working 4 hours a week (and the many other similar concepts put out there to sell books rather than change people’s lives) rather set up business owners to feel a bit like we’re not cutting the mustard.

When was the last time you, as a business owner, only worked a 4 hour week or you had a month, or even a week when work didn’t feel like work at all? If you can honestly say it did, well done – maybe you need to write a book too.

For most of us it just doesn’t happen like that. I’ve been involved in running our small business now for roughly seven years and although I love working with our Mason Lloyd clients (and frankly, the members of our team too), when all is said and done, it’s still work. There are still deadlines to be met (especially those imposed by the ATO), admin to be done and the constraints of only having 24 hours in a day – some of which must be assigned to things like sleeping, eating and personal time.

To be fair Ferris’ book is mostly about challenging your thinking and outsourcing/delegating the parts of your business (or job – yes he covers that off too) that leave you cold or take up too much of your time so you can take off to work from a beach in Mexico, the mountains in Canada, deserts in Africa or insert the scene of your favourite past-time.

However, whilst that might be possible for businesses that function largely online, for those of us with retail shopfronts, consulting businesses, farms or manufacturing – much, much less so.

But this is a lesson to be gained from the book. The one thing it does make you question is how much of what you do on any given day, needs to actually be done by you.

Now if you’re a small business owner, you’ve probably fallen into the trap (I think we all do at some point) of thinking that it (whatever it is) should only be done by you, primarily because;

  1. No-one else knows how to do it or
  2. You will do it best, right, the way the clients/customers need, like, etc.

Except that way of thinking can chain you to your business 5, 6, or 7 days a week, 50,

51, 52 weeks a year – which after a few years is just exhausting – no matter how much you love what you do. If you keep up that way of working, soon the business you love will turn into one you’ll come to loathe due to plain old burnout.

So over the break, you ARE taking one aren’t you, if you’d like to reclaim some more of the hours in your week or month, why not sit somewhere quiet and just reflect on which parts of your business you might delegate to someone else – freeing you up to grow your business, build other businesses or actually reclaiming some time and maybe working up to being able to take an even longer break in 2013.

If you’d like some objective advice on setting up systems and process that can take some of the pressure off you having to do everything yourself, we’d be happy to talk to you. You can us on 02 6023 1700.

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