There’s plenty in the media at the moment about the long hours worked by Australians. Then just last week, I was flicking through a business magazine and came across an article about the Head Honcho of a big global company.

The story followed his typical day…he arrives at 5am, works non-stop until 8pm then goes to a high-powered client dinner before returning home at midnight. The article praised his legendary work ethic – he’s followed the same gruelling routine for over 25 years.

But it got me wondering. What does such a single-minded approach cost in terms of sacrificing time for your family, friends, health and passions? Many people thrive happily on this sort of pace, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.

The question “Do I take the money, or the time off?” is one soloists face every day. There’s always work that can be done to grow your business, and it’s easier to say yes to paid work than it is to say no. This can result in the same long hours, late nights and weekend work of traditional corporate life.

So, the million dollar question is…

  • What’s a weekend with friends worth?
  • How much for a night with the family?
  • What’s the ‘cost’ of guitar lessons?
  • What’s a snooze on the grass worth?
  • How much for a cuppa with your Mum?

The idealist in me says their value goes well beyond the opportunity cost to our businesses. After all it’s the little things put together over the years that add up to one big, beautiful life full of family and friends.

Hard work, drive, ambition and leadership are all worthy pursuits, but not if you’ve sacrificed too many of the things that are important to you along the way.

But then the realist in me appreciates that the bills, mortgages, children and everyday life do require cold hard cash.

So, shall I do some work tonight or play some bad guitar? Perhaps my mortgage will answer for me!

Realistic or idealistic? We’d love to hear your tips and thoughts on how to strike a balance between your money and your life.

Read 40 comments or add your own at Flying Solo

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