Joe Benesh is a senior architect with Shive-Hattery and President + CEO of the Ingenuity Company, a strategic planning, diagramming, framework development, and design thinking consulting firm.
I had lunch with a good friend of mine last week. He and I spend a lot of time talking about how the workplace is evolving and different strategies for how to respond to these evolutions.
The catalyst of this particular conversation was that my friend wanted to know when an appropriate time to pick up his dry cleaning would be – it had been at the cleaners for weeks and he just hadn’t found time.
This led us to a very interesting conversation about strategy, and how the way we all interface with our daily lives might be more closely aligned with running a successful business than the traditional view of what the idyllic view of day-to-day life truly is.
As our society has evolved, we have developed a tendency to move away from the 8-to-5 employment model in favor of a more flexible schedule centered around what is conducive to effectively completing work, but in different timeframes. Employers are becoming more and more flexible, realizing that productivity and job accountability actually goes up when employees feel like they have more control over when the hours they work occur.
But my friend and I were not simply talking about flex time at work. What we were really talking about is how he and I both look at our schedules and tasks for the week as if it were a business.
For me, scheduling tasks on Sunday is critical. I set and check personal and work appointments for the week, making sure that I am able to balance everything. Scheduling time for family is a critical piece of this – if you are a “workaholic” you know exactly what I am talking about. Paying bills, reading, catching up on email. Everything gets a look – it has to in order for there to be enough time to get to everything effectively and do it as well as possible. If I simply “wing it”, everything is generally a mess by late Tuesday morning.
The business of “You, Inc.” is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The strategy on how to make You, Inc. a successful business relies heavily on balance, setting goals, and being disciplined about executing what you set out to do on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis. This will aggregate into systematic and sustainable success.
Let’s get back to my friends dry cleaning conundrum. I think the answer is that “it depends.”
Each person should take time to define what is appropriate for their own case and what will allow them to be effective with their jobs and their daily lives. What I have found is that many “alpha”-type people have a tendency to put off things like picking up dry cleaning, getting haircuts, and getting their cars in for service because they “can’t find time” to do these things.
But think about it this way – if these things were part of your job, would you find time to do them? Of course you would.
Running a successful business has a lot to do with using holistic strategies. For me and for my friend, this means that sometimes we have to get our dry cleaning at 3 p.m. on a Wednesday, because we happened to be in that part of town and it would be hard to get it otherwise.
Sometimes it means we have to finish a proposal at 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday because that’s when we feel most productive. It’s prioritizing personal tasks along with professional ones that lead to better overall success.
The business of You, Inc. is ongoing and always in development. By thinking about things holistically, you can ultimately improve the ability to be successful in all that you do by incorporating a little bit of strategy.