Live to work

Is your job or business the focus of your life? I doubt many of us would instinctively answer “yes” to this. We will genuinely feel that we ought to state that family and health should be our first answers to this one way or the other. I for one would not try to persuade anyone else that those are not the “correct” answers.

But if what we do demonstrates what we are, rather than what we think or say, how many of us can honestly say that we do not prioritise the job or business first? For many people that is understandable - after all, the job needs to be done, the customers need to be looked after and our commitments need to be met. Otherwise in fairly short order, there will be no job or business to provide that income that we will need to support ourselves and our families. Frequently sacrifices need to be made, and we all appreciate that, but do we become accustomed to prioritising the work so much that we do it even if we do not need to?

Flexible and agile working methods and enabling technologies give us much more capacity to alter our ways of working, so that we can do so around our families. But it can also mean the reverse. To take one fairly classic example, being able to pick up emails on holiday can sometimes be useful, but do we do so habitually when really we do not need to?

Most of the time the world of our work can probable survive pretty well without us, for a short time at least, but perhaps we need to think whether we in turn can survive without it.

Personally I love what I do, and have no intention of giving it up in the foreseeable future. Both my day job and the other roles I have keep me involved in a great many interesting projects. I know this makes me very fortunate. However, the fortune I have in other aspects of life is even greater and I hope that I never take it for granted.

I appreciate my luck, but I am sure that I am by no means unique. I have little doubt that a great many people reading this will consider themselves equally lucky as soon as they take a moment to reflect on their lot. Some though, I appreciate, may not feel that all is well for them at the moment, and I hope that this will change for them as soon as possible.

Either way, it may still be worth taking a moment to reflect on what we have, how we prioritise things for ourselves and those around us, and whether we might improve things just a little with some small tweaks to our routines. As we know small “marginal gains” can sometimes add up to big wins.

By Dean Orgill, Chair of Sussex IoD
and Chairman of Mayo Wynne Baxter


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