13/01/2013 18:36 GMT | Updated 15/03/2013 05:12 GMT

Working 60 Hours a Week Will Ruin Your Life

Being a business owner is addictive. No matter how hard you try, the office is always with you. You cannot escape. Emails being sent to your phone; the lure of social media; the need to always complete one last thing before you finish for the day, and the list goes on. The thing is, working constantly on your business is not clever and it's not smart. In fact, it could ruin your life. Ever heard your friends complaining that they hardly see you enough? Have you ever punched your fist in the air at the dinner table when an email has come through saying you have won a new contract? Having your phone at the dinner table is plain wrong. Dinner tables should be a place of conversation with your family, not a place to continue your work.

Entrepreneurs are architects. We design, and in principle, get others to do the building. If you are working more than 40 hours a week, the chances are, you are doing the design work and the building work as well as many other tasks. This is not healthy. Being constantly attached to your phone is not healthy, and it's not necessary.

One of the first businesses that I owned was an IT company. It was great at first. The excitement of working on something that I had created and the esteem that came with going in to work as the boss. After a while, I was working 40 hours a week. And that crept up to 50 hours a week. Before I knew it, I was working over 60 hours a week, my wife was at home with our first baby, and I was physically and mentally exhausted. I was seeing little of my family, and financially, things were not making sense.

Entrepreneurs need to be slick with their time. There is nothing wrong with working four to five hours a day, and enjoying the freedom that being a business owner can create. If you do work for 60 hours a week, the chances are, not all of those hours will be spent doing productive tasks. When you are exhausted, time gets wasted. Entrepreneurs need to work smart. They don't need to work until they start falling asleep at their desks. Yes, the economy is not easy. Yes, you may have to work harder, but going into overdrive never helps matters.

Being a business owner can sometimes become a bragging contest. I've often heard people say "I take my phone to the gym and send emails when I'm on the treadmill." I've also heard people say "I only sleep for four hours a day, because I don't need sleep." Yes buddy. Tell your body that when it's trying to repair itself at night. I used to work for 16 hours a day. My wife put a stop to it fast. It's a good thing that she did, because I was on route to reaching burnout fast, and with three children to think about, and a wonderfully supportive wife, that would not have been a good thing.

A business owner's job is to lead. You don't need to work around the clock to do this. You simply need to do your part, and delegate the rest.