Most business owners day is anything but perfect. In this post we look at how the business owner can take control and create their own perfect day.
For most small business owners, the perfect day does not exist. They spend enormous amounts of time juggling all the stuff that comes their way. Client crisis, customer complaint, a staffing issue, or one of the other myriad of under- or unplanned activities that come your way. If today were your last day on earth as a business owner, would you be happy with the day, how it went?
Chances are probably not.
Many business owners live every day as if they’ve got all the time in the world. Yet every day around 50,000 people die due to causes not related to age. Many of these people will have woken unaware that today was going to be their last day on earth.
Prisoners on “death row” know, better than most, when their time will come, and so, in a limited way, can prepare themselves for it. There was much comment from the media when death row inmate Kelly Gissendaner, the first woman scheduled to be executed in Georgia since 1945, placed an order for her last meal. It was, nevertheless, the meal she wanted to eat on her last day.
In her own way she was exercising what little control she had in controlling how she spent her final hours.
Business Owner’s Perfect Day
When I ask most business owners what their perfect day would look like, they nearly always say spending more time with their kids and family.
Business owners are often hailed as heroes for working 18-hour days seven days a week. Working without let-up is a bad habit that can jeopardize your business, your health and your life.
There’s a parable of the fisherman and the investment banker.
An American investment banker was taking a much-needed vacation in a small coastal Mexican village, when a small boat with a fisherman docked. The boat had a small number of fish in it, just fresh in. The investment banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked the Mexican how long it took to catch them. The Mexican fisherman replied, “It’s only been a couple of hours.” The investment banker then asked why he didn’t stay out for longer and catch more fish. The Mexican fisherman replied he had more than enough to support his family’s needs.
The investment banker then asked,
“But what else do you do with the rest of your time?”
The fisherman replied, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, and stroll into the village each evening, where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, Senor.”
The American investment banker scoffed, “I am an ivy league MBA and I could help you. You could spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats until eventually you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman, you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening up your own cannery. You could control the product, the processing, and the distribution.”
Then he added, “Of course, you would have to leave this small fishing village and move close to Mexico City where you could run your growing empire.” The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will all this take?”, to which the American investment banker replied, “15 to 20 years.”
“But then what?”, asked the Mexican. The American investment banker laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right, you will announce an IPO (Initial Public Offering) and sell your company’s stock to the public and become very rich. You could make millions.”
“Millions, senor?”, replied the fisherman, “but then what?” To which the American investment banker replied, “Then you would retire. You could move to a small coastal, where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll into the village each evening, and you could play guitar with you amigos.”
As a business owner, it’s easy to fall into the trap of over-doing it.
Since in the early days, everything is tight, capital, time, and everything is busy.
But one of the biggest secrets of productivity is the refuelling principle, and it comes down to this:
You get more done, more quickly when you step back and recharge the brain and body.
In an article in Forbes magazine, I read that fewer than half of small business owners have any plans to take any vacation.
Most small business owners claim that they are too time-strapped to take any vacation at all, let alone a proper one.
Of the small business owners who do take time off, according to this study, the majority (61 percent) grabbed just five days off per year, which is less than half of what the average employee takes each year.
Of course, as a small business owner, even taking time off or even out of the office, it’s hard for them to actually switch off and completely detach. According to this study, nearly two-thirds of the business owners check in with work at least once a day. Only 15 percent switch off completely.
When you’re constantly draining your resources, you’re not going to be as productive as you can be. Taking time out is not only key for productivity and performance, but it’s a fuel and energy for creativity and focus, that leads you to your business growth success. As a business owner, you shouldn’t be getting paid for time you spend at work each day. You actually get paid for solving problems, so if you can find the solution in a shorter period of time, then you’ve got more time to get rested and rejuvenated.
With my coaching clients, business owners learn to create a new calendar which breaks their weeks down into work days, planning days and free days. Work days are actually a time to spend on high value growth activities such as meeting new clients or working on a new product. Planning days are the days that you use to work on your business growth, and free days are exactly that, no email, no phone calls, and no checking in with the office. When you’ve got your work week under control, and with scheduled regular breaks, you’ll find you’re happier, have more energy; most of all, having your perfect day.