Why I’ve never considered myself to be lazy (until now)
“Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is NOT laziness. This is hard for most people to accept, because our culture [American] tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.” Tim Ferris
I’ve never considered myself to be a lazy person, and if you knew me, you’d probably agree.
I often work longer hours than most people I know. Sometimes, when it seems necessary to meet a deadline or complete an important project, I’ll even pull all-nighters – working 30-40 hours straight without so much as a break for a proper meal.
If you’re anything like me, you take a certain amount of pride in being the guy/gal that’s willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Nothing short of excellence (perhaps even perfection) is acceptable.
When it comes to your work, you are consistently reliable, infinitely available, and doggedly indefatigable.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably pretty proud of yourself right now, too.
Not so fast, cowboy.
When you (and I) are avoiding
Tim Ferriss, in his game-changing book The 4-Hour Work Week said “Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.”
Every time I’ve read that quote, I’ve thought about it the context of my work. So, I’d buckle down, identify and then eat my “work” frog at the beginning of each day, and proceed to eliminate, automate, and delegate everything else possible so I could focus on what was critically important.
But as efficient as I am, I’ve constantly found myself slipping back into the habit of being busy with work.
And then, in a mastermind meeting at the hands of some new friends, it hit me for the first time: I’ve been using my work to avoid the hard things in the rest of my life.
It turns out that by “working” harder than anyone I know, I’ve actually been lazier than anyone I know.
You see, business makes sense to me, and I’m good at it. I earn a very good living, receive praise from others, and excel at projects with deadlines and performance metrics.
But the rest of my life is a bit more… fuzzy.
As a husband and dad, I often feel like I’m lost in a jungle without a compass or a map. After 11 years, I still feel like I have no clue what the heck I’m doing half the time. Unlike business, there are no numbers by which to measure my success and that makes me feel perpetually unsuccessful.
For me, being an active husband and dad is much harder than running a business. But it turns out that my family life is where my “few critically important but uncomfortable actions” are.
I want my kids to benefit from the gifts that only I can give them. And that takes time.
At this point, I realize I’ve painted myself as a horrible husband and father. And although there are many valid scabs you could pick, I do truly love my family more than my own life.
In fact, starting EntreFamily was part of a several-years-long journey in fixing something I knew deep down was broken, but couldn’t. quite. pinpoint.
I’ve always wanted to put my family first, but defaulting to work-mode was either easier for me, or I would actually feel guilty for not working (a topic for another post). But as I had my epiphany a few weeks ago, I’ve been able to start breaking those bad habits and loving my family better than ever before.
Although I’ve also got a lot of important “work” done for our businesses (we’ve still got bills to pay, you know), I’ve systematically prioritized time to play, teach, and learn with my kids, date my wife, and have several adventures with my whole family. As a result, our family life has never been more vibrant.
I don’t know who is going to read this, but I’m writing for my fellow workaholics. For us, working MORE is the path of least resistance, but working LESS is the thing that takes the most courage.
What are your critically important (but uncomfortable) actions?
Top photo by Craig Garner, bottom photo by Life of Pix
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