Mondays Don’t Suck When You Are Self-Employed
Ever since I “fired” my boss in 2009 for slackery, I have made it a point to make Monday my day of rest and relaxation. My former employer was a real tool about the 9-5 daily grind five days a week, with no flexibility for alternative schedules. He just couldn’t grasp the 80/20 rule, a basic proven rule of business and time management, which says 80% of your important essential work is accomplished with about 20% of your time and effort. And the remaining 20% takes 80% of your time and effort (a.k.a. “trying to squeeze blood from a stone…”).
Applied to the American corporate workplace, the 80/20 rule tells us that we get most of our work done in about one business work day and the remaining four days are essentially there to stress us out, annoy us, over work us, put us down, suck away our life force and generally make our lives miserable for that little extra 20% push over the cliff of productivity. When I “fired” my boss, I put my money where my mouth was and rejected this sick business model, in favor of my new one.
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In my new model, Mondays are the day that I do what I want. Very often this is work, because I really love my job as a self-employed freelance writer and musician/performer. It’s a dream life.
I work much longer hours than I did at my former job. That’s because I enjoy it. But I still get 80% of my productivity out of 20% of my time and effort. I have just learned to eliminate the 80% of useless time and effort that yields very little extra productivity. It took me a long time to learn to do it, but it is so worth it. And now I have the flexibility of self-employment that allows me to say “F OFF” to the BS, that my tool of a former boss would have insisted I pursue at risk to my own health and well-being. That’s why Mondays are a pleasure to me now.
I spend the morning relaxing, getting my mind in a balanced state for the week. In the afternoon, I might run a few minor errands like depositing cash winnings in the bank and going to the library to get a reference book. Today, for example, I am going to hit the bank and deposit all the cash from the weekend of rock-n-roll shows I performed. Then I’m going to stop by the local auto mechanic and see what kind of a deal I can get on new tires. Then I’ll probably buy some groceries and head home, make a nice leisurely relaxed lunch, then work on the garden this afternoon. In the evening, I will join the Madison WI Outdoor Enthusiasts social group for a bike ride before heading over to Come Back In bar in Madison for the open mic night from 9 PM until midnight. Pretty typical Monday.
The corporate model of employment in America is destructive to the soul. People are forced to get up too early, then they are rushed and frantic, trying to get ready for work, often while juggling kids at the same time. Then they get on the dangerous American highways and battle all the other similarly frazzled and frustrated people trying to get to work on time. Then, totally stressed out, when they get to work they are asked to immediately focus their minds on banal tasks that yield little in the way of productivity. They are asked to meet impossible deadlines, and the stress level is maintained for eight straight hours (with a short break to eat, that is also usually stressed and rushed), five days a week. Sometimes more.
And people wonder why stress and chronic diseases kill so many people a year…
If I was a corporate CEO, Monday mornings would be relaxation time. You could come into work at noon if you wanted to. But if you came in earlier, the entire company would be one big relaxed coffee social, where you could read, talk to people about whatever, go to the on-site gym (which we would have available to everyone and it would be accessible any time of day or night too), surf the web, whatever.
Monday afternoons would be FOCUS time. People would be encouraged to get their 80% of useful work done on Monday afternoons alone (20% of their total work time of the week), even if they had to stay late. If they accomplished this, they could feel free to take the rest of the week off. Yet, if they were feeling particularly motivated that week, they would be welcome to come in and work some more. Mornings would be relaxation time every day of the week, even if people decided they wanted to work during that time. It would be a choice. In my business, I would recognize the 80/20 rule and it would be a basis for the company philosophy. New employees would be trained in the 80/20 concept and be given all the tools necessary to focus on the 20% of their time and energy that was most useful for getting their 80% productivity and efficiency. They would learn to eliminate the 80% of useless, stressful, energy-sapping nonsense that yielded only 20% more. The company would be OK with 80%. That’s a solid B-minus, and the reality is most average working people in America are B-minus or C-plus types. We have a mentality that everyone should be an A+ type, but it’s not realistic. We should recognize that most average people are just that – “average” – and maximize the yield from those people in a way that benefits everyone.
So that’s my philosophy of life.
Buy Now: “4 Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferriss – Free yourself from the deadly grind!