Stop Fooling Yourself. A Typical 9-to-5 Job Will Never Provide A Proper Work-Life Balance.
This is the hill I’ll die on.
Pardon the profanity in the headline, but I wanted to make sure I got your attention.
I actually struggled writing that headline because I want this to be a place for people of all ages to come and learn. However, sometimes that means I’m going to have to reach out and grab you by the ears (or eyeballs), shake them vigorously, and tell you to wake the hell up.
So why am I saying, “to hell with the typical 9-5?!” Let’s do a simple exercise to demonstrate.
- Hold up both hands in front of your face and clench them into fists. Now…
- On your left hand, hold up the number of days you typically work each week. Got it? Ok…
- On your right hand, hold up the number of days you typically have off each week (the weekend).
How balanced does that look? Is there any possible way to create a true work/life balance with what your hands are showing right now? No. Absolutely not. It’s total garbage, and anyone who says they have a balanced life while working this way is lying to themselves.
4. Now, put one finger down on your left hand, and put one up your right.
That’s a little more balanced, right? Not perfect, but it’s better, right?
This small shift of moving towards a truly balanced work/life existence is exactly why we’re here.
This is one of the main reasons I launched the Automated Executive. Too much of our time is spent slaving to make a buck. Most folks will never learn this. They’ll sit in their cubicles for one-third of their lives. Punch in, punch out, day after day after day after day. 40 years later they wake up, get their gold watch for retirement, a pat on the back, and a crappy sheet cake from the supermarket bakery.
Nope. No thanks.
What’s worse, some people don’t even make it to retirement, or when they do they don’t have any reason to get up in the morning and quickly pass away. That’s bleak, but it’s 100% a reality.
This is just one true story on that…
My Uncle Joe was an amazing man. Kind, caring, always quick with a joke, and he treated my siblings and all the kids in our family with such love. He was amazing. He also worked in the endowment office at Cornell University. Pretty cool gig considering how much money flows through that Ivy League school in donations every year.
Every day Uncle Joe would get up, eat breakfast and read the paper, pack a lunch, then put on his suit and trademark bowtie before making the 25-minute drive from Cortland to Ithaca. In the winter time this was no small feat. Windy, snow-covered roads were a common threat. Either way, Joe was a dedicated worker. He. Showed. Up.
Around his 81st birthday though Uncle Joe decided it was time to retire after decades of faithfully performing his duties. He wanted to let the younger generation take the reigns. Sadly, just a few months into retirement, with no reason to leave the house, or tie his bow tie every morning my Uncle Joe landed sick in the hospital and passed away.
It was devastating. An amazing man lost to “retirement” after just a few months? What a gut punch.
However, I think there’s a very important lesson in it. Some folks will live their entire lives allowing their work to define who they are, and that’s fine. Doctors are probably the best example of this.
They work hard all their lives. Undergraduate school, pass the MCATs, Medical school, get licensed, survive their 13+ hour shifts in residency, finish all their schooling, get board certified, then start looking for a full-time job. Almost a decade of their lives and $100,000’s before they can even get a job and introduce themselves as, “Dr. Last Name.”
Honestly, the dedication doctor’s have is incredible, and we should all be thankful there are folks willing to make that kind of commitment to helping others, living by the Hippocratic oath.
Luckily, you and I don’t have to spend the next decade and hundreds of thousands of dollars to realize a more balanced life. Do doctors ever really get to enjoy balance? I hope so.
Either way, we’re different and that’s pretty friggin’ special. Give yourself a pat on the back right now, and buckle up.
So how do we avoid living the “clock-punch” life like the rest of the population? Well, I’ll sum that up in one word: Automation.
When you automate certain elements of your business it frees you to focus on more important things in life, like family, friends, and new experiences. Don’t get me wrong, you will be working hard in this program, especially in the beginning. However, the goal is to set up the major elements of your digital business once, tweak them to be 99%, then NEVER TOUCH THEM AGAIN. Let them do the money making for you.
Why 99%? Because perfection is a myth. Remember the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Well, that actually works both ways.
My grandpa was famous for his one-liners. Here are just a few of his classics…
When my straight-off-the-boat Italian grandma would make her amazing pasta he’d always say, “The only time I go swimming is with Grandma’s ‘ronis.”
Gramps, what would you like to drink? “I don’t need anything other than God’s good milk and water!”
Gramps, what do you think of Grams? “She’s my angel.”
My Grandpa was also a plumber. He was the type who’d carry a full size hot water heater down into a freezing basement in the middle winter because a family needed it on a Saturday.
Countless hernia operations later, my gramps would always quip my personal favorite…
“Work Smarter, Not Harder!”
Well, Grandpa, we hear ya! So that’s what we’re going to do: Work Smarter, Not Harder!
We’re going to dedicate our time to creating a truly balanced life. One that’s frees us to experience life, rather than just punching in and out of it. One that ensures we’re able to live life to the fullest, after we automate everything, of course.
One last thing. For anyone thinking, Thomas, if we move to a 4-day work week, our productivity, our company will crash. Well, that may be true if you or your team aren’t actually working smarter on those 4-days, or automating the parts of your business that make you money.
However, you’re also fooling yourself if you think you or your employees are already working 100% of their 8-hours shift. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s just one recent study that showed today’s workers average about 2 hours and 54 minutes of productivity per day.
Still want more science on the matter for all you Left-brain folks? Well, just Google, “average productivity“. There are 346,000,000 articles and studies that show the world is shifting away from the traditional 8-hour work day. It was popularized by Henry Ford in 1911 anyways, so let’s just admit, “it’s time for a change!” Unless you’re running an old-school factory, that is.
If not, then let’s start creating a more balanced relationship with our work & lives today, together.
Still think I’m full of it?
Ok, I get that. Maybe a 4-day work week won’t work for you and your employees. Maybe you do actually run a manufacturing company. If this is the case, try and think outside of the box. If you can at least admit that employees aren’t working the full 8-hours then a whole world of possibilities open up.
Do any of your employees smoke? If they only took a 5-minute smoke break every 2 hours, that’s 20 minutes per day. Over a year, that’s 5,000 minutes; or 83.3 hours; or more than 2 weeks of “time off”.
I’m not picking on smoker, just proving a point. Employees find all sorts of excuses to not work. Social media distractions, sporting events, and other life events come up.
So, maybe implementing staggered work times for different people, or departments might work better for you? Maybe you know you need the sales team to make a certain number of calls per day? Give them the number, set quotas, then let them go. A happy sales team is going to close more deals faster. Same goes for every other department – Admin, Support, HR, Maintenance. You name it, the happier the employee, the more productive they will be.
All I’m saying is there are infinite ways to find greater work/life balance these days. Some may want to work Tuesday-Saturday because they need to watch a sick relative on Sunday and Monday. Ask your team. I bet they’ll give you plenty of options that work for them, and still enhance productivity in less time.
Thomas Buttino – The Anti 9-5’er