Last Friday afternoon, I got  a phone call around 4  from one of my top referrers in town;  they had a client for me.  They only caveat was that I was going to have a much shorter deadline (as in tomorrow) than what I am used to working with.  Because of the relationship with my referrer (plus the fact that this client has their own wikipedia page) I took the work, despite the fact that it meant I would be breaking my no work on weekends rule.

And as I sat in my office yesterday, I couldn’t help to be a little jealous of the 9-5ers out there that leave their work the minute they clock out.  Most notably, my wife, who was out at the pool with our daughter.

We all want to be our own boss.  I think that that is the main reason why making money online is so attractive to most.  There is this idealistic frame of mind that if we can get it going, we would have more free time to do whatever it is we want to do.

As any entrepreneur will tell you though, this is rarely the case.  There is always something to do and if you aren’t careful, a lack of a separation between work and play can make it seem like all you are doing is working.

In fact, if you don’t control your work, it will consume your personal life as well.

Here are 3 rules I live by as an online entrepreneur…

Steven Pressfield calls it determining what’s important and what’s urgent.  And it is absolutely critical to figure out the things in your life that you enjoy and make time for them.

Otherwise, working will become your life.

An example of the things I value are my family (I spend the evenings and weekends with them) as well as my health (I go to the gym daily and enjoy cooking).  I make it a point to carve out enough space in my day where they know I am around.  We go out to eat.  We go to the park.  We shop.

This is where most entrepreneurs fail.  They fail to build boundaries.  The problem with working for yourself is the reason why most are so attracted to it;  they can make the rules.

They imagine work free weekends and 6 hour workdays.  But without boundaries, this usually winds up being working (or seemingly working) all throughout the day and into the night.

My personal work boundaries are 9-4 (with a 2 hour break inbetween) and I don’t work weekends.  I also very rarely get online after 4.  Well, I say that but there are always exceptions to the rule (as in the example above) but those are far and few between.

We live in a world of addition.  More of this.  More of that.  But the problem with more is that more usually also means more work.  If things are piling up at your desk, then your problem isn’t going to be helped by doing more or even automating services.  You have a efficiency issue.

Usually, when an auditor walks into a business, they rarely are looking to add more function to the business.  Instead, they are looking to see what they can cut.

Entrepreneurs need to be on a constant mission to cutting things out of their work environment in order to be more efficient.  Just like an auditor, you need to ask why you are doing something and what effect it has on the business.  If the return is marginal, cut it.  I call this skinny marketing, by the way.  And it is just simply smarter business to do it this way.

Those are my 3 rules to managing my business.

What can you add to this list that has worked for you?

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