One of the blessings of the Internet is that it’s accessible anytime, anywhere. But one of the curses is that, as a business owner, you have access anytime, anywhere. What that means for a lot of people is it’s hard to “turn off” work.
After all, it’s easy to walk down the hall to the “home office” at midnight— just to check orders and emails. And oh yeah—someone needs a link and there’s an update to a forum post you’re following and the latest and greatest product was “just released.”
So here are tips for keeping your work in perspective—even if it *is* possible to work 24/7.
1. Set working hours.
If you’re part- time, it may be when you can’t see the screen any longer. But remember that you have other responsibilities and joys in your life and honor those. So instead of working till midnight every night of the week, take a full night off or stop at 8pm a couple of nights to enjoy dinner out with your significant other.
If you’re full-time, consider stopping when traditional work hours end. For example, when it’s 5pm Pacific, it’s probably time to quit for the day. Yes, you “may” go back to work later at night, but the idea is to stop working 24/7, so keep an eye on that.
2. Turn off your phones.
Unless you provide a service where you are required to be “on call”, just turn it off. Yes, even your cell phone has an off button!
When you allow other people to interrupt your activities you’re letting someone else set your priorities. Rarely is there a phone call that cannot wait. In fact, many calls resolve themselves if you just let the person at the other end of the line handle it.
3. Put off email.
Like phone calls, most email can wait. Yes, you want to provide good service to your customers, but that does not mean you need to be at their beck and call 24 hours a day.
Set a policy to reply to customer emails within 48 hours—not immediately. When people get into the habit of hearing from you immediately, they respond immediately—and the speed of communication escalates. Again, there is no reason that any issue handled via email needs to be turned around that quickly.