How much work is enough?

Answer: There is no straightforward answer to this question, of course, but if you find that you are taking on more and more work just to cover your bills, and working longer and longer hours as a result, something has to give. It is time to take a fresh look at your business model.

Maybe you need more help, such as a research assistant to take on some of the more routine tasks. Perhaps you need another “you.” Why not sub-contract a colleague for some of the senior work? Are you expenses too high? Maybe your office costs have crept up from year to year. Is it time to relocate? Or have you simply fallen prey to the fallacy that your clients need you. Well, they may need someone, but it doesn’t have to be you. I know what it’s like to stay on too long—there’s is a lot of ego involved—but no one is irreplaceable. Maybe it’s time for a new challenge—for both of you.

Enough work is “enough” when you still have time for the other aspects of your life. If you find yourself spending less and less time on family commitments, personal activities, hobbies, or exercise, if you aren’t seeing your friends, or if you are passing up on social engagements because you have too much work to do, something needs to change.

Life has a lot to offer and work is only one part of it. It certainly is an important part and gives you a sense of purpose and satisfaction but it is the other parts of your life that feed the wellspring which makes you who you are. Your clients benefit if you are balanced, whole, and rested, so step back and take a look at how you are spending your time.

In addition to your business and evaluation career, how satisfied you are with these aspects of your life:

  • Finances
  • Health
  • Family and friends
  • Romance
  • Personal growth
  • Fun and recreation
  • Physical environment
Create a more balanced life. Your friends, family, and clients will be glad you did!

Originally published in the Independent Consulting TIG Newsletter, Volume 5, Issue 2. June 2014.

For more information on consulting topics see in Barrington, G. V. (2012). Consulting Start-up & Management: A Guide for Evaluators & Applied Researchers. Los Angeles: SAGE.

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