One of the most common issues I hear from self employed parents is that they would like to work less hours to be with their kids, improve the quality of their family life and to be the parent they want to be.

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How to work less hours

How to work less hoursOne of the most common issues I hear from clients who are self employed or run a business from home is that they would like to work less hours.

They want to have more time to do things like be with the kids more, protect family life, improve quality of life and just live life more.

Even though they don’t have a boss dictating their working hours to them, they often feel unable to reduce their hours because of the demands of the business.

The first step to reverse this situation is to stop blaming the business.

The business operates the way it was set up. So with the risk of over simplifying the task, it is a matter of setting the business up to operate a different way and for you as the business owner to operate differently.

It isn’t about working hard, it’s about working smart.

How to work less hours

Now, I am not suggesting you wake up tomorrow and decide you are working 50% less hours and just do it and to hell with the consequences. What I am suggesting is that if managed correctly, reducing working hours is possible.

Here are some points that will infuence how many hours you work:

1. Get clear on what you really want. Exactly how many hours a week and weeks per year would you ideally like to work? (Forget, “should” “must” and “ought to” – what is your ideal?).

2. How much revenue would you need to bring in each week if you only worked your ideal number of weeks?

3. Review your business model and revenue streams. Once you have the answers to question 1 and 2 brainstorm what changes you can make that will allow you to generate revenue more effectively to meet your ideal working hours. Get creative.

4. Increase your personal effectiveness. This factor is a significant contributor in reducing working hours so you can’t afford to ignore this area. Look for ways to upgrade the areas that directly impact your personal effectiveness.

5. Review your business processes and procedures. I know this subject bores the pants off many people, but like point 4, it is one of the keys to your ability to reduce your working hours. Look for ways to automate, outsource, simplify and improve the way your businesss operates.

There are many more things you can do to get on the path to reducing your working hours but I hope these few points will provoke some thought and help you get the ball rolling.

If you have any tips and/or challenges around reducing working hours, please share them in the comments section below.

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  • HEY ALI,
    I think the most important activity to be monitored is our information intake. We get google happy and head from one link to the next . Aggregation is key – for later consumption. Choose your media battles. In other words, disciplined strategic info-intake. It's an individual choice – or I should say bazillion choices.

  • Judy, that is such a good point. Distraction is everywhere – being strategic about what we let in and when is an excellent suggestion. Thanks for dropping by.

  • Another excellent post, Ali! And one I will reference again as I keep working on my business. I've been self-employed a long time but as you know the focus on only the career industry is new. The re-inventing of me has created new challenges and I'm still working on systems and focus. Set-backs are inevitable.

    Yesterday a simple call to charter for information made me lose the rest of the day trying to get my network back and I still have to have my expert come in (and pay her) to restore things that were working fine before tech support analyzed my speed and broke my network. The struggle I find is mindset on those days. I was upset and angry and that makes me non-productive.

    Keep up the great posts!

  • Julie, mindset is such a vital factor to all of these things. Being at peace with setbacks can be a challenge. It is great that you have the awareness of how your reactions to setbacks impacts your effectiveness. The key, I find, is to develop a mindset that responds versus reacts. That can really help us to stop getting in our own way! Thanks for sharing your story. Hope your technology challenges are now resolved.

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  • Julie, mindset is such a vital factor to all of these things. Being at peace with setbacks can be a challenge. It is great that you have the awareness of how your reactions to setbacks impacts your effectiveness. The key, I find, is to develop a mindset that responds versus reacts. That can really help us to stop getting in our own way! Thanks for sharing your story. Hope your technology challenges are now resolved.