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Ladies, Are You Working 80 Hours a Week? Here’s How to Cope

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Ladies, Are You Working 80 Hours a Week? Here’s How to Cope

As a female Small Business owner and a working mum, I work 80 hour weeks but I no longer feel that I am comprising my family life, work life or my personal health (this required more of a change in mindset than lack of time).  The difference is that as a Small Business owner, I have the flexibility of working around my family life without missing out important moments.

A recent study reported by Fairfax has found that Australian mothers work longer hours than the average CEO and put their family’s health before their own.

The study of 1009 women with one or more children under the age of 17, found more than one-third had not taken a sick day off work when they were ill. But 70% said they had taken time off work to care for sick children.

The study, conducted in March by the Online Research Unit on behalf of the Cenovis Women’s Health Index, found Australian mums were working up to 80 hours a week in paid employment and running their household.

You may ask where is the joy in that?  In full-time employment, I agree that it was always challenging to find the balance between work and family where you find yourself not having time to look after yourself.  I had to go to work regardless if I was sick or not because I need all available leave days for my family.

Now, I work 80 hours a week on average being a Small Business owner and a mum. I even work during holiday breaks aside from Christmas week which does mean that I work most of the time of the year.

Why do I work so much?  Well the truth is, it does not feel like work for me. I enjoy every minute of it as much as I enjoy spending time with my family.  My business is not at the stage of where I can completely delegate to my team so I still need to check on emails hence the need to work away during holidays.

I am also fortunate to have a husband who shares the household and child caring duties. He himself is also a Small Business owner so he also has the flexibility around work and family life.  We noticed the difference when we both became business owners in the ease of managing around our family life.

I am certainly not overlooking the challenges and risks of owning a Small Business as that doesn’t change whether you are a woman or a man which comes with its own stress levels but at least when working away on something that you are passionate about and having the flexibility when it comes to my family, I don’t have the nagging mother’s guilt that I used to constantly have when in corporate.

So if you want to try to enjoy your 80 hour week, here is a my recommendation of how:

  1. Choose the work in your business that you are passionate about as that takes away a lot of the stress when you are working on something that you thoroughly enjoy.  Delegate work that causes stress for you to competent staff members as they enjoy it more than you do.
  2. Arrange better flexible work options for both you and your husband so that you both share the times when either of you can work from home when the kids are sick.  It is not easy to be the only one with all of the home responsibilities so by sharing, you will find your 80 hour work week is manageable. A better split of household duties including who takes your kids to appointments and school.
  3. Encourage your staff to take time for exercise and you set an example by doing it yourself.  Even though I am talking about 80 hour work week, your health is very important so work-life balance cannot be ignored.
  4. Find cheaper and easy access to healthier foods so that you are not tempted to eat “junk” food when you don’t have time.  You need to keep your mental health in optimal condition when managing your 80 hour week and you would be surprised how healthy eating really helps you makes it easier for you.
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