Have you heard the phrase “work like you are on vacation”? I’m not sure when I heard it first, but I seem to recall reading it in the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss years ago. My memory could be fuzzy (I’ve read a ton of business books…) but I’ve seen in many times since and I find myself drawn to it.
This week Inc. had an article and I only sort-of agree with the title, but the article is very good: You Don’t Need a Vacation. You Need to Work Like You’re on Vacation. (My take: everyone needs a break sometimes – so even if you work like you are on vacation, please take a vacation to recharge and unplug occasionally. OK…but that is not what this post is about.) Eric C. Mack writes that “working the same way you would from the road can make you more productive when you aren’t.”
YES YES and more YES.
As a marketing consultant agency, this is very important to us (we bill hourly for some clients): would our clients rather pay for someone who is productive, knowledgeable and efficient and takes one hour to complete a project well OR a person that takes three hours because they took their time and stopped and started?
Here’s the thing: I’m a procrastinator.
There. I said it. I’ve worked on this but deep down it’s still there and a daily struggle. If something isn’t URGENT, I want to wait until the last minute and then I get it done. This can be putting away laundry, paying the cable bill, scheduling a big new business call, sending a thank you email, or writing a huge white paper. It’s often something I want to do! Desire doesn’t necessary play into procrastination for me.
To help avoid procrastination, I make myself a MUST-do list (to-do lists are not strong enough for me.) In order for things to get done, I set deadlines and work backward. I schedule…schedule…schedule. Now, as awesome as a four-hour work week WOULD be for me, I have not achieved that level of entrepreneur work-life freedom. But I also don’t work 100 hour weeks! I have to say I am very happy with my work-life balance!
Eric talks about removing distractions, compartmentalizing work, prioritizing what has to be done and preparing for “getting lost”. I highly recommend this quick read. You will want to become a freelancer and travel all around the world after hearing how he does it. But honestly, I agree: I am MORE productive when I am NOT AT MY DESK IN MY OFFICE and I have to GET WORK DONE!
We currently live in a city, and when the warm weather arrives I like to get away. You’ll most likely find me at the lake, where I adopt a different way of life: my work desk becomes my patio set on the deck, the sound of traffic becomes the sound of the water and birds. I sleep a little later, spend a little more time with the family, and overall life is just wonderful. I work more efficiently and procrastinate less in order to get all my stuff done and move on! I’m not on Facebook as much (except for my clients), news articles and videos don’t suck me in, local politics fade away, and if the weather changes I’m often surprised because I haven’t watched TV in days so I had no idea a storm was coming.
Imagine if you take this work mentality and adopt it in everyday life. Get your stuff done so you can focus on what matters most! I am one of the few human beings who really does love their “work.” I love to write! I love to research! So work isn’t “work” for me. But I also love spending time with my family, or reading, or fishing or napping on the deck. I won’t lie. This is not selfish – it’s normal.
Think about how you can work smarter and more efficiently and regardless if you are 50 stories above the NYC skyline or in a tiny log cabin in the middle of the Andes mountains, make every second count.