I don’t have to tell you that owning your own business is not a nine-to-five proposition. Still even I was rather startled at this headline “Small Business Owners work 15.3 million days extra annually.” It appeared this week on Bdaily Business Network, a UK website for the small business community Across the Pond. The figure comes from research from Yorkshire Bank, which compared small business owners with UK employees.

The survey found that small business owners also work significantly longer hours, with two thirds putting in more than 50 hours a week, far more than the UK average working week of 39.1 hours. Many business owners don’t even take a sick day. Some 2.5 million across the UK hadn’t had a single sick day in the last 3 years. Regarding time off, even in a country where 28 days of vacation is a statutory entitlement, (I know what you’re thinking — 28 days of vacation, are we dreaming?) three quarters of the small business owners took fewer days.

I couldn’t find current figures that compare you against your British counterparts. The most recent figures I found regarding how hard you work are a few years old. In September 2010, CBS Moneywatch reported that small business owners put in in about 47.6 hours a week, according to a survey of more than 1,200 North American business owners during May and June of that year. This compares to August 2010 figures from The Bureau of Labor Statistics that found the average employee of a private non-farm enterprise put in 34.2 hours a week.

The demands on you from multiple directions heighten the need for greater efficiency in your work day. That’s why many small businesses are turning to unified communications to integrate all your devices, apps and communication systems so it’s easier to connect and collaborate with those you need to within your company and out. (See: “The survey says….”You’re already doing it.” ) Headsets that make it easier to switch between your multiple modes of communication – for example your desk, mobile and PC phones – with the touch of a button and enable you to be hands free at the same time also can enhance your productivity and efficiency.

Efficiency isn’t the only answer. Learn how to say no to some things and some people; and above all make sure you to take time to relax and refuel.

Additional suggested reading: Plantronics Case Study: Kevin D. Dixon Law Office