Life has a way of keeping us very busy, and at the end of the day we wonder where the time went. Are you too busy to get the things done that matter? Are you taking care of business or just busy?
There is a HUGE difference between being busy, and taking care of business. One of the reasons that I really enjoy my business is that I have set it up on a simple performance basis. No work, no money. Water Cooler talk and office gossip never made sense to me. I would much rather head outside to play, and even then, not just any play.
At one job, my friend and co-worker Robert put together a street hockey gave every day at lunch. At Apple we had a floor of games and a basketball court outside. None of this ever made sense to me. I didn’t really like basketball or hockey. I prefer to surf and ski. It fits with my current lifestyle quite well. The trick was building my work life around my play life. And yes this year has been very short on skiing. #PrayForSnow.
One contractor I met years ago really liked to take long vacations. He would say “Do the deal, get a check, take a vacation.” I always admired him because he would do really big deals, go on really nice vacations, come back nearly broke and do it again. I don’t quite have the stomach for that much of the unknown.
I go to work to work and when I am done I want to leave. Well sort of. These days I work mostly from home and occasionally visit clients in their office. There is a small studio for recording podcasts and videos in my home and another larger studio for the interviews and bigger videos walking distance from my house. No wasted windshield time.
Working from home allows me to be hyper efficient. Whether you like President Trump or not, his method of working with “propinquity” works. I can get three to five times the work done by simply managing my travel time and distractions. This gives me the choice to a. play more or b. make more or c. a little of both.
My income is better now than it ever has been and it is coming in from multiple sources even when I don’t work now. Books sell while I sleep or surf. It doesn’t matter.
Even then there are still distractions that can keep me from being as productive as I would like to be. When my wife is home and not working, that is the biggest distraction, mostly because my office doesn’t have doors. I might have gone a little too far with the open door policy but I like the light.
I am getting better about nicely saying ‘get out’ when I am working. Since she is one of our principle photographers, sometimes it is about work, but mostly it isn’t.
Another big issue in business is distraction by non related information or irrelevant information. In the military we called this the “fog of war”. TV Chef Emeril Legasse would add “essence” to food. Chefs spend thousands of hours learning how to derive the “essence” of something. Great script writers spend hundreds of hours learning how to distill a scene to it’s “essence”.
Learning how to distill your business down to the “essence” will absolutely free up time. New business owners get bogged down in the details of the business, and stop working on the business. I know this because I did it too. Many of my clients who were way smarter than me would try and help me see through the clutter, and it still took years to master.
Honestly the breakthrough for me came when I wanted to go skiing and I had there big jobs to get done. I broke them down to the essence of what was absolutely necessary and just did that. Job done, ski trip accomplished.
If you find yourself bogged down in the details, try starting with Gary Kellers book “The One Thing”. Gary offers some great insights to help distill just about any business down to the essence.