I did a brief post on LinkedIn last week. Maybe no-one saw it because they were en route home or already there due to snow. Looking out of my kitchen window at 16.00 all warm with a cup of jasmine tea, I wondered what others were doing while I was responding to emails and LinkedIn messages, planning my week ahead and, as evidenced by this, writing blogs.
Now, I like my free time as much as anyone. Even running my own business, I still love time off, especially on a sunny, as opposed to snowy, day. I’ve never been any different. It was the same all the way through my corporate career.
Adverse weather such as we’ve just had is certainly a reason to head home to the warm. But is it a time to switch off completely arguing that no one else is working? Is it fair to say that there are people that take any excuse to stop working and others that keep focused on the business road ahead? The merest sniffle causes some people to down tools. We’ve all worked with that kind of individual.
I asked my wife a few weeks back when I last had a sick day. She replied that she thought that it was when we were first going out. I had food poisoning. I literally couldn’t get out of bed for a few days. Next year, we hit the big 30 in terms of married life. I haven’t had a day off sick for a while!
Of course, no-one can predict illness. Some people are lucky in health and some are not. I maintain a rigorous fitness regime and I believe that contributes to energy and to pushing away nasty bugs and the like. I’m also very task oriented. I believe that also gives me focus and energy.
So, looking out of my kitchen window on a very cold and snowy day, I wondered what all of my business contacts were doing. That goes for my prospects, customers, competitors and the like.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we all need to throw snowballs and build snowmen at times. But, do you and/or your team take every opportunity to become distracted or do you maintain your focus?
A few years ago, when I was regularly working from home, a friend asked how I could work from a home office and not get distracted. He said that he always ended up watching TV, browsing the internet and so on. For me, that never entered my head and, as it happens, I found that I was much less distracted than in an office environment.
Focus is essential in business. It’s also essential to have goals and drive. I compare goals to a lighthouse in a storm (maybe a snowstorm). Without the lighthouse and a compass, it’s hard to see where you’re going. It’s an almost impossible task to reach your destination. You’ll have some blustery weather that makes you drift off course at times. However, if you follow the beacon and a consistent trajectory, you’ll reach your target.
Now that we are publishing this blog, the weather has improved. Yet, summer will be here in not too many months. Then, those lovely warm days will try to seduce us. Football fans will also perhaps be keeping an eye on World Cup match dates and times!
As I suggested earlier, I’m not trying to be an old misery, despite what my wife says. We should stop to enjoy the nice things. I’m an advocate of that. There’s an old adage about a tombstone and the saying that no-one wants a message on their gravestone that says ‘I wish I’d spent more time at work’. I agree with that. However, it’s by focusing on what provides the impetus to allow us to experience the nice things and the time off that should power your behaviour on frosty days like these.
On snow days, by all means, leave early to avoid disruption and risk. Arrive home safely. But, remember that it doesn’t mean you should switch off altogether. That’s all the more so on those cold, warm, wet and windy days when you don’t feel like doing what you know you need to do.
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