Is it time to redefine what the norm is when we say, normal business hours? You can find lots of advice on ways to manage your time so that you separate your business and your personal lives, leaving the office behind at 5:00 p.m; for example, don't give out your cell phone number and listen to music on the way home as a transition.
Yet in a study of knowledge workers by Lexmark International, more than 92% said they deal with work-related issues outside of work. This includes weekends and vacations. Boundaries have been eradicated. On the other hand, how much time do you spend on personal issues during those normal business hours? You make phone calls relating to home situations, you browse the internet for news and sports, spouses call with reminders of errands to run, children check in after school....The concept of separating our lives is actually a relatively new one. It stemmed from the era of the 1950s and 1960s. The dual-career family was not the norm. Prior to that, over the centuries, work was based on the moment's needs. Those western settlers certainly didn't wrap up at 5 p.m. Farmers started work very early and the whole family was involved.
Maybe it's time to stop lamenting a lost era, accept that there is a blend now that is here to stay, and simply focus on eliminating the parts that create undue stress for you. For myself, stress does not come from the number of hours I devote to my business, but rather from not keeping up. Think about alternatives. If there was absolutely no allowance for any personal activities or social niceties during the day, and you worked straight through from 8:30 - 5:00, with a short lunch break, would you be happier in the evenings?