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21st Nov 2011
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Every business owner, I am sure, goes through sleepless nights. For the past few weeks I have been the same. My brain just refuses to switch off. So rather than forcing myself to get some restful sleep, I just get up and start working in the hope this will lead to exhaustion. It does but, this is normally about 4:30am. I then get about 4 hours sleep or so.

I do get a lot done late evening and early morning. No calls, emails or any other distraction. This should not be appealing, but I find it has its appeal. I do not think it improves my productivity since I am exhausted during the day. My productivity during the day could be a lot better.

Like most ambitious people, I am in the current state of thinking that what I do is never enough. I can always do more. This means come time to switch off, I can’t. I know I am not the only one like this. I think about marketing, planning, routine work, expansion etc. So many things thoughts go through my head. I write it all down it does not help since I want to start working on it straightaway.

I seem to have a new routine now, get to the office late between 10am to 10:30am work though less productive, leave office, dinner, ½ to 1 hour telly then in the study start working. Even weekends I just want to work. I find domestic chores get in my way. TV has lost its appeal. This is a good thing. So TV now has now reduced to 20mins to 30 mins a day.

The new routine is not good. I could miss potential client calls. Though my staff is in the office so she could handle this, but I need to be there. If I had a shop front, I would not have been able to handle this.

Blogging really helps.

I will try and change the routine.

Would you say you have a good routine? What is it like? How do you manage to switch off? I am sure others are no less ambitious than I am.


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Replies (7)

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By petersaxton
21st Nov 2011 22:22

Live life how it suits you

I get up when I wake up. Usually that might be 4 am or 6 am. If I feel tired at 8 am I will have another hour or two sleep.

I work until I want to go to bank/have a meal (at home or outside)/go shopping.

If I feel tired I will go to bed.until I wake up.

Usually I will work until the evening and then go to bed when I feel tired I go to sleep.

I find that it is best not to try to shoehorn your life into set hours but to live your life how it suits you.

Obviously if I have an appointment I will make sure I am available.

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Image is of a pin up style woman in a red dress with some of her skirt caught in the filing cabinet. She looks surprised.
By Monsoon
21st Nov 2011 22:56

If you want a good sleep, you're probably doing it wrong.

Like you, I can have an over active mind that doesn't let me sleep. I realise the irony of posting this at nearly 11pm.... But, if you want a good sleep, stop working and doing anything work related a good few hours before bed. Do something relaxing. You won't quiet your mind if you keep filling it up with 'busy' subject matter when you should be / want to be sleeping. Read a fiction book instead (there's not much worse than lying in bed wanting to sleep and being awake, so I like to do something) but don't do do anything that engages the work part of your brain.

I sleep better when I leave work in the office. Ok, that's not always possible, especially this time of the year, but I ought to do better.

Actually, thanks for posting this. You've reminded me to turn my work email off my iPad and get my balance back a bit. Signing off to go hang up the washing and watch some telly in bed before sleep (both my partner and I find this is a good way of relaxing before sleep).

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By FirstTab
21st Nov 2011 23:35


I went for a long walk, then tried  to sleep earlier. No success. I am wide awake. 

Leaving work in the office may work. As you Monsoon, a few hours off work before retiring should do the trick.

I will try this tomorrow.


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By Moonbeam
22nd Nov 2011 08:08


Since the start of the recession I have found a full night's sleep impossible to achieve and frequently wake at 3.30 am with my head spinning. No amount of relaxation before bedtime makes any difference. I find it's best to get out of bed and do something for half an hour or so.

I occasionally log onto Aweb in the middle of the night and see there a plenty of others still awake. I have also sent emails then, and got an immediate reply from insomniac clients!

A spot of washing up/ironing is sometimes useful to fill in the time here. I wouldn't attempt any office work. I find as a result that I have to go to bed in the afternoons, but am trying to force myself to stay awake until bedtime if I can.

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By FirstTab
22nd Nov 2011 09:18


Thanks for your response.

With me it is not so much the recession, it is ambition/survival.  I am a late starter to going on my own. This means I have fewer years left in me. With no pension to speak of and the current earning level has not reached at a level that would be sufficient to make a living, has lead to massive personal disappointment and worry.

So far work and rewards do not match. The way accountancy fees are going, my concern is this gap will widen further. Demand and supply will make sure of this. As we read in Any Answers more and more people are going into practice. People say  they are enough clients to go around. I disagree. They are more and more of us chasing a limited number of clients,

I have to/will make this work.



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By Moonbeam
22nd Nov 2011 09:48

Late starter, Huh?

Your first paragraph describes most of my worries to a T - and I think I'm older than you. I was planning to work to 70, but it looks as if 75 is more like it. My big worry is whether my eyesight will cope. I can't find any wealthy widowers to hook up with so I will have to fend for myself.

On a positive note, I think of my most successful clients and compare them with those who aren't so successful. The successful ones could run any sort of business and still make a profit. The unsuccessful ones will never make a go of anything. We need to look at what the successful people are doing and see if we can replicate anything good that they do.

At a breakfast meeting last week I met a 35 year old who had formerly been a civil servant, and has just bought a digital printing franchise. What an inspiration! His franchise have trained him, albeit briefly, in how to get new business. It means tramping the streets, but this is what he does and after 6 months it is beginning to pay dividends. He already has a good accountant, unfortunately, but his whole positive attitude and persistence in what can only be a crowded market - everyone's a digital printer these days - is something for me to learn from.

Read LancsBoys postings and you will think he lives in a different world from you and I. He is so focussed on getting new clients and he is very clear on who are his target market. He would probably be astonished at the negative attitude some of us display to difficult trading conditions.

So although it is tough, there will always be some people who, because they are determined to get more and better business, will improve their circumstances. We all know competitors who have a poor personality, and are never available to clients. For those of us who are outgoing this means there are lots of potential clients who would switch to us if they knew who we were. It's just a matter of telling more people about how we can help them save tax and give them a good service.


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By dbowleracca
22nd Nov 2011 22:24

Ditto FT
I am nearly always thinking about work related stuff, largely because I love it so much.

Most of the time it is nice thoughts - new ideas, successes we have had etc - but then sometimes it can be morbid thoughts like how are we ever going to reach those growth targets.

I disagree that there are tooany accountants competing for the same work. Admittedly there are new entrants to the profession and more than usual because of the recession, but if you look at the average age of many sole practitioners and partners in small firms, it's not going to be long before they all retire! There is a crisis in the profession with a lack of younger accountants wishing to procee to partnership which means either closure or merging with a bigger practice.

I don't have trouble sleeping, but I do sleep better when I switch off from work. One trick I have found helps is writing down all of my tasks at the end of the day before I go home to clear my mind, and tidy my desk ready for the next day.

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