Here in the UK, we are about to hit the school summer break. That means some significant opportunities and challenges for the entrepreneurs amongst us. Challenges around the demands of families who want more of our time, and opportunities to surprise and delight them by actually making ourselves available.
In last week’s blog, I mentioned Ricardo Semler’s TED talk. He starts by talking about Mondays and Thursdays – what he calls his “terminal days”. On those days, he does whatever he would be doing if he had been told he had just a few months to live. His company, Semco, started by allowing employees to do the same, by ‘buying back’ time in exchange for a small drop in salary, to do things now, while they have the health and energy.
Then they figured, why not pay people for a job, not for a number of hours. If they have completed all their tasks by Wednesday, Semco staff are quite at liberty to head off to the beach for the rest of the week. No-one asks “Where were you?” and no-one asks them to clock in – if the job is done, everyone is happy. What if you got a bit more efficient, and got all your important tasks completed by the middle of the week?
As business owners, of course, there is no end to the things we could be doing, no end to the tasks we could be completing. And therein lies the problem – for us, and our families. That’s why we don’t get to take time out for them – because there is always something “work” that we could be doing. But if you follow that thinking to its (il)logical conclusion, then we would never stop – not even to sleep – because there is always something else we could be doing.
“Ridiculous!” you cry, “You have to sleep to stay alive!” Of course, that’s one of the problems with a ‘reductio ad absurdam’ argument (like the one I just used) – they are easy to refute. But if we accept that we have physical limits, we can also choose to set other boundaries, ones that serve us, and our families. It may be true that we’re not going to die if the kids don’t get taken to the park, or we don’t find time for a nice walk and a leisurely lunch with our spouse. Not physically, anyway – but we all know, deep down, what it does to our spirit to miss out on time with those we love.
Just ask yourself this: why did you set up on your own in the first place; was it to provide a better lifestyle for your family – and for yourself? Does burying yourself in your work achieve that aim – or would you be better to give yourself (and your family) the kind of respect and care that Semco’s get?
After all – you ARE the boss, aren’t you?
Improve your work-life blend
If you would like to discuss how you blend your work with your family life so that you achieve the success you deserve without your family feeling let down and abandoned, you can book in for a strategy call. The first step is a quick 10-minute chat to discuss whether Joyful Genius coaching might be right for you – just pick a time that suits you here: www.Joyful-Genius.com/book-chat