I've had my business since 2001, and it's been profitable since the very beginning (meaning I made more than I spent). Since 2008, I've had the sole support of me and my two daughters. My business has grown, and I'm thrilled to say I have a waiting list for people to work privately with me.

What that means is that there's always a lot of work to do. Especially since I have goals and dreams for my business to reach more people and make a bigger impact.

So being very cognizant of my responsibilities - to my family as well as to my clients - I work pretty hard. In the last three months, my average hours worked per week has almost doubled from what it used to be. (That average is obviously changing!) I'm working nights and weekends. I don't have a set end time to my working day. It's usually just "get as much done as possible" or "get everything done."

That's not working for me so much right now.

(As an aside, working really hard while I was going through some tough personal issues back in 2008 and 2009 was a great outlet as well as somewhat of a distraction from my problems. Now that my personal life is pretty darn good, though, I've found that I need to step back from that business Autobahn and make sure I'm not burning myself out.)

Now, this isn't a new issue. I have YEARS of journal entries where I visit the problem of working too hard, feeling burnt out, not getting to pursue my hobbies and personal passions. I've tried this and that, and that and this.

Honestly, there are times I feel like I'm a failure because I think there is some crucial piece to time management and working that I'm just missing.

So, I'm trying again. Some time ago, I experimented with making a concerted effort to limit my working day and create a solid ending time. I tried for 4pm, and met with some success, actually. Most days during the two-week experiment, I ended work only 15-30 minutes after that scheduled end time.

Most interestingly, though, I noticed that as 4pm crept nearer and nearer, the voices in my head got louder.

What I realized was that those voices had always been there, and I just unconsciously listened to them. Here are five of my voices:

1. There's so much work to do - it MUST be done now... today... tonight. One of the values of working with a former doctor who did her internship in an ER was the very realistic view of what a true emergency is. An emergency is blood, broken bones, imminent death. After that, "It MUST be done NOW" takes on a different flavor. In simple terms, very few things MUST be done NOW.

2. If I do it now, there will be less to do tomorrow. That's a great idea, except that the list never ends. There will NEVER be less to do tomorrow. You will never get your to-do list completed. Never. When you have long-term projects, you have to learn to be happy with simple progress and forward motion.

3. But I'm getting so much done! I don't want to stop. Yes, there is value in momentum. And there's a bit of an adrenaline kick here. No matter the momentum or the adrenaline payoff, however, there is a cost.

4. I'm so valuable and productive. My clients will love me! And they will love you if you do what you say will do when you said you would do it. That's what's important, and that's what they want. Burning yourself out is NOT what they want.

5. I can't possibly take a break! I must work until it gets done, because if I take a break, I might not want to come back! When you actually take a break, you usually remember that there is life after work and that the world does not end. You get a lot more perspective when you can step away. So whenever you can, take significant breaks.

So what did I learn overall?

The list never ends.
There will always be stuff to do.
I'll never get it all done.
I need to take breaks.
My self-care is as important as my work.
The importance of figuring out the real priority, whether it's a sales page or sleep.

And, finally, to not always believe the voices in my head.

Author's Bio: 

Dawn Shuler, Content Creator Extraordinaire, helps entrepreneurs and authors convey their deep message into compelling words, whether it's marketing material or a book, as well as to create powerful content to increase their credibility, visibility, and profitability. Her soul purpose is to help entrepreneurs unleash their authentic selves into their businesses through their content. She created the Writing From Your Soul system to help business owners connect more powerfully, reach more people, and make a difference. Download the free, 13-step system at www.WritingFromYourSoul.com.