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“I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.”
― Hunter S. Thompson
If you are like most humans, you have been conditioned to work from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm every Monday through Friday. This conditioning has led most to live their life from day to day and weekend to weekend. Dreading Monday and loving Friday is the norm for most of the people on this planet. But, there is a better way.
I’m a morning person and thus the closer it gets to 2:00 or 3:00 pm, my work quality suffers. Having realized these years ago, I discovered my best work was done between 6:00 am and 8:00 am. A few years ago, I used to get up about 4:00 am, travel to work out at 5:00 to 6:00, and then drive to my office where I would immerse myself in the answering of email, making phone calls, and completing paper work that “just had to get done”.
I would hit the bed every night about 9:00 pm exhausted thus making me a bad husband and parent.
It’s now many years later, I’m divorced, my kids love me, but I’m thinking I could have been a better Dad when they were younger, but that life of old is gone. I now wake up about 6:00 and clean up my email from the day before. I recently began batching my email work so between 6:00 and 8:00 is when I answer email and send out information that I’ll need that day. I also spend this time reviewing the proposals my staff has generated at my request helping to prepare for my daily meetings. At 8:00 am, if not before, I turn off my outlook and my email work is complete until afternoon. I am not a slave to email.
I then usually go for a 2-mile run, take a shower and set off for my first appointment. Notice I’m not heading in the office; there is no need for this. I’m the owner of an insurance agency and everything I need can be sent to me via email or worst-case scenario, I can access it from my laptop or very soon my IPAD.
Insurance agency owners that spend a lot of time in the office aren’t doing anyone any favors. Let’s face it, the staff does not like it when the owner is there, all they do is create work. Last time I checked, there were NO clients in the office, the good clients are tending to their own company not sitting in their insurance agent’s office. No one likes to sit in his or her insurance agents office!
Usually I run a couple of appointments, pick up Starbucks and if I didn’t get a run in, will go for a half-mile swim. After lunch I drop by the office for a few moments to drop off anything that needs handed to the staff. I usually meet with 2 or 3 of my employees on various issues before I’m out the door again. I average about 30 minutes a day in the office with a worst case of 2 hours. If I’m in the office for more than 2 hours, my body breaks out in a rash and I have to sit in a bath of Vaseline and sand to make it go away.
At this point, I might have a few more appointments, but many times I return to my loft where I might fix a light lunch and check my email for any pressing issues, usually there are none.
After a quick 30-minute nap (yes, I take a nap about every day), I am refreshed and begin making my phone calls to my clients setting up the next week’s appointments. Return carrier calls if any and usually work with one or more virtual assistants I’ve hired to manage various projects for our company.
Sometimes I spend some time writing or working on where I’d like my company to go. This working ON the company vs. IN the company has proven to be very valuable over the years.
In the evening, I might attend a board meeting, hang out with my kids, my life / business partner or relax with a good book. My workday runs from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm with many breaks in between. I wake up each day looking forward to not my job, but my life. My lifestyle is designed for me and not what society thinks is best for me.
I encourage all my business owner friends to break the mold of the 9:00 to 5:00 workday and work with your employees to offer flexible working conditions that might just enable them to have improved work efficiency. If my staff can prove to me they can be 1.25 % more effective working at home, you’ll see a mass exodus from my world headquarters.
Lifestyle design for a business owner is a reality. We must embrace the new world and design our lives using the tools that are available to us today.
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