Are you someone who works long hours to get the job done, but does not actually tell anyone just how much overtime or excess work you are doing? Are you burnt out? This is a common theme among business owners and executives, but just as we want our employees to reduce stress and burnout from long hours, leaders need it too.
Like a lot of managers and executives, you may have times of high workloads where extra hours become the norm for short periods of time. However, if the short periods are turning into long periods of time, or even worse all the time, it is time to be honest with yourself about it. Hiding or ignoring how long you are working does not allow the company or yourself to realize just how much work you are doing, and that you likely need to hire someone else (even if only part time) to help, or re-evaluate the position and work. If you fear that no one else can possibly, do it as quickly as me, or one of the most common excuses I hear, ‘it is just faster for me to do it then train someone.’ then you have some work to do. Yes, training takes time, however once done, you have someone that can help you repeatedly. This will allow you to work less, and perhaps grow a key individual into a leader one day.
My goal here is to provide you options only for ways to bring down those excess hours. This will allow for less stress, better work/life balance, the important “me” time, and you will likely be happier too. If you are burnt out or stressed, or working way too many hours, let’s talk or contact your medical practitioner if you feel it has gone too far and is affecting your mental health.
In the meantime, here is a short list (in no particular order) of things you can consider:
1 – Face your fear head on and talk to your coach for how to reduce those long hours. There are many ways that may be unique to you, and we leadership coaches can help.
2 – Go to Human Resources to see what your options are for hiring students, part-time staff, or even another FTE (assuming you are not sure) or check that head count budget. If it is not in the budget or plan, remember to build what you need to ensure you can justify a new head to whomever may need that (CEO, other leaders, Board of Directors). Time studies and removing time wasters will likely be needed first (and can possibly reduce your hours and need for additional help).
3 – Simply ask around to see if anyone has some time to assist you (and ensure they are not working too long – the last thing you want to do is make it worse for someone else).
4 – Work only the hours you are willing to (within reason of course). This does not mean that you take four days vacation a week. It may mean creating boundaries. For example, not working weekends, or limiting it to two Saturdays a month. It can also be limiting the number of hours in a day to something more reasonable.
5 – Seek out other employment. Okay, this one may not be something you want to start with if you have a great company you are working for, but if your position and the company are not aligning with you and your values, this may be an option to consider or reflect upon. I suggest staying where you are until you have a new position if you decide to go this route. This is a big decision and not one you should do lightly.
6 – Do nothing and accept the consequences. If you decide to intentionally do nothing, that is fine, but you need to own that. And when you realize that continual long hours and causing burn out, let’s talk.
7 – Complete a time study then determine what the time wasters are and try to eliminate or avoid them. They are everywhere! Yes, a time study takes time, but this is worth it. Are you running three reports with the same information? Are you approving things that really do not need your extra signature? (Process review/mapping comes in handy here.)
8 – Review the job description and ensure it is still accurate. Are you doing things that perhaps really are no longer part of your position that can be delegated? If so, delegate! Delegation is a huge time saver for leaders. Delegating work can be helpful not only for you, but can help others to learn and grow.
9 – Review the tasks and meetings you do and determine if what you are doing is really needed. Think about unnecessary reports, meetings, approvals, etc. that perhaps you can remove or reduce.
10 – Start meetings on time.These are huge time wasters if not done. Meetings that you arrive on time, but don’t start for 15 minutes because a few people have not arrived, just add 15 minutes later to your already full schedule. Start meetings on time. If someone is late, catch them up later and remind them to be on time next time.
11 – Keep up with your action items by their due date. When it comes to action items, get them done (delegate here too where possible). Having to review them every single meeting just to say it is not done yet, is another time waster. Remember, training someone to help can lead to less hours later.
As you can see, this is not a complete list and I do necessarily not suggest one over another as I do not know your specific situation and also I am not here to tell you what you need to do, but to assist you by providing some options. Hopefully you find one that speaks to you to start with. Good luck and remember that we all need ‘life’ time…not just ‘work’ time.
Contact me today if you need help. firstname.lastname@example.org
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