In a day and age where fast and furious seems to mean bigger and better, its easy for ambitious, gifted small business entrepreneurs to push themselves to the point of diminishing returns. In fact, I recall Judge Ziglar (Zig Ziglar's brother) stating that if you work 40 hours a week, you'll be in the top 10% of your colleagues; if you work 50 hours each week, you'll be in the top 2%; if you work 60 hours per week, you'll join the top 1%; and, if you work 70 hours a week, you're a F-O-O-L! Although I totally agree with his premise, it's taken me years to fully understand the ramifications of overworking.
The truth is most small business entrepreneurs are so wrapped up in their work, they seldom notice the signs of overwork – or they deny what they're experiecing – as if sweeping it under the rug somehow makes it go away.
Here are ten signs that you just might be an overworked small business entrepreneur:
1. Inability to focus. You have 5 projects on your desk, 7 windows open on your computer, and what were you working on?
2. Easily distracted. Anything flashing across your screen takes you running in that direction.
3. Irritability. Clients you really enjoy are getting under your skin.
4. Bad attitude. You don't want to go to work – and you're the owner!
5. Overeating or eating unhealthy foods. You're really just trying to achieve some comfort from the stress and overwhelm.
6. Forgetfulness. There was something more I was going to say about this but I've forgotten…..
7. Avoidance. Big (and small) projects with luming deadlines are pushed off to the very last possible moment.
8. Fatigue. Even after a good nights rest or a long weekend away from your office, you're feeling like a nap under your desk would really feel good.
9. Increased caffeine consumption. No matter your drug of choice (coffee, soda, chocolate, sugar), you seem to be consuming more and more in an attempt to achieve a needed buzz.
10. Lack of motivation. This is not you! You love your work. You love your clients. You're excited – most times – about your future but lately you've been day dreaming about working at Starbucks.
Do any of these sound familiar? If you answered “yes” to even one of these, perhaps you need to push yourself away from your desk and go for a long walk. The world won't come to an end. Your clients won't all leave you. Your revenue won't experience a devastating drop. In fact, you'll return with a renewed sense of purpose ready to take on the toughest task.
Now go! Get out of here!