At Google, and all my previous employers, I've generally worked pretty hard, however there were a few key differnces that put some boundaries around things. There was the team agreement about what is ok - things go up and down, but we all sort of knew what was reasonable. Tasks could potentially be re-allocated with some discussion with your boss. Deadlines and expectations were quite clear, so you knew when something was done.
None of these 3 things exist by themselves in entrepreneur world. I don't think I can, or even should, seek to re-create these 3 things now, but I'm keen to get better at finding the right long-term balance. These are the things that have worked, and I try to do more:
- Set clear work objectives for a day and week, and when I'm done, call it a day. This can lead to the guilts about how you should be working, but I think it's important to train yourself that work does have an end. If I find myself kicking back at 4pm every day, maybe I'm not putting enough on the daily list, but hopefully you see what I mean
- Seek to keep knowing yourself better. I know that I'm most productive in the mornings. I know that I'm less good when I'm hungry. I know that I get more done in a day if I take a proper break over lunch and have a chat about something different. I'm sure there's lots more I don't know about myself, and I'm sure that everyone is different, but I'm trying to learn.
- Get enough sleep. I can go the odd night on short hours, maybe 2, but if I do it repeatedly I find my productivity and concentation starts to suffer. Unless there is just a long list of something monotonous to get through, this a complete trap where I invest the hours, but don't get the output.
- Exercise. I'm sometimes bad at this - I set the alarm early intending to exercise, but instead hit that snooze button a few times. Then I think I should really get on with work instead of heading out for some exercise. Yet I also know I work better when I'm feeling fit and healthy. Dilemma!
What other tips and approaches to people have to managing this challenge?