As a small business owner, hard work and long hours are the nature of the beast. The amount of effort you put in to your company has a direct correlation to its success. But when does this type of dedication actually backfire? Here are a few signs that you may be logging too many hours on the job.

You have developed tunnel vision.

Although being hyper-focused on a project or goal has its merits, never straying from the task at hand can be counterproductive. Time away from the office opens the door to talking with different people, experiencing new situations and being exposed to fresh ideas that can spark a creative solution or generate a new concept back at work.

You’ve established an unrealistic expectation for others.

While 60-hour work weeks may be your norm, it probably isn’t what your employees signed up for. The example you set influences the culture of your workplace, and whether you’ve stated a specific policy or not, you may be giving the impression that long hours are an expectation you have for everyone.

You don’t like what you’re doing anymore.

What compelled you to start your own business? A brilliant idea you wanted to see take off? A particular passion you had to pursue? A desire to break out on your own and be your own boss? If that initial drive has been quelled by too many hours on the job, it may be time to reevaluate the amount of downtime you’re allowing yourself.

Your relationships are suffering.

While you’re busy working, kids are growing, marriages are changing, parents are aging…and none of it waits until you have the time to notice it. Most people would define a rewarding or happy life beyond what they’ve accomplished in their career. Take note if the important people around you are giving signals that they feel less significant to you than your work.

For the small business owner, “work/life balance” can be an especially elusive goal. The growth of your company depends on your commitment to it – but excessively long hours may, in fact, be sabotaging your efforts. When is work working against you? The answer may not always be clear, but remembering to ask the question can help you set healthy parameters for your long-term success.

Susan Bryant is a writer and editor who enjoys working on diverse subject matter and collaborating on interesting projects. She can be contacted at