Entrepreneurs - Savor the Day

Jeff Zbar

What is your work worth? What is your life worth? If you set the two on a scale, would they balance? Or would one outweigh the other? I — like many home officers — would claim to enjoy a good life, working from home amid my spouse and children. We have a good life, one spent enjoying the liberty that working from home affords. Sure, I still have to work; the bills have to be paid and life’s wheels have to be greased. And the cyclical tidings of entrepreneurship often bring a burden of the unknown. But as home officers, we spend far less time in tedious, rote chores – like commuting, meetings or incessant business events – that only drag us from those people and places we love. I recently recalled reading two documents that touched my soul - individually and together – in ways that often go un-recognized or under-appreciated in daily life…

The first was a column by Wall Street Journal Love & Money writer Jeff D. Opdyke. He wrote of his tendency to overwork from within the confines of his home office – and his inability “to separate the office from the home.” The column started with a threat delivered by Amy, Opdyke’s wife, warning him to stop working. The hook: He was sitting at his desk, and it was eight o’clock in the evening.

To be sure, this is a reality faced by many home officers; I find myself at my desk at all hours, because I, too, believe there’s always a little more work to be done. But we have to know “when to say when.” When, for me, comes soon after dinnertime, when my circadian rhythm winds down and my brain becomes relatively worthless with regard to work. Luckily, it picks back up again early the next morning – while the family is still asleep and my time to work is my own.

I then read Newsweek columnist Anna Quindlen’s 2000 book, A Short Guide to a Happy Life. At 19, Quindlen lost her mother to ovarian cancer, and says she has never looked at life the same again. Successful in every way (save the loss of her mother), Quindlen reminds us that “success” should be measured more by the beauty each day brings, rather than the check each week delivers. Thankfully, she’s there to remind us that we, too, should savor each day. Because after all, she notes, that’s all we’re guaranteed: Today. One day at a time. And when our time comes, who among us will cry out, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office” – home-based or otherwise?

As home officers, we’re in a unique position to blend these two messages. To work when we will, while not using the home office as an excuse to overwork and therefore starve our families of the attention and anchors they – and we – need in our chaotic lives. And to NOT work when the spirit moves us, so we may enjoy each moment, each day, and each life that’s important to us, whether it’s our own, that of our closest family or friends, or some greater spirit (whether religious or just the beauty that is Mother Earth) that touches us in ways we sometimes cannot comprehend.

So savor today. Kiss your spouse, partner, kid(s), pet, even yourself. Enjoy the moment, even if it’s spent in the home office. For entrepreneurs enjoy their labors. Their work is undeniably part of their life. But just remember: It’s only part of the sum that equals the whole. Strive to enjoy all your life’s parts.

This article originally appeared in Jeff Zbar’s blog at www.chiefhomeofficer.com.

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