Everyone should have a hobby, be it sport, walking, reading, gardening, collecting and so on.
The point is that a hobby is very personal and offers both pleasure and often a welcome distraction from the cares of life.
Mine is Freemasonry and in particular researching the history of the Craft and collecting related artefacts.
All very undemanding and even fulfilling but surprisingly there can be problems.
Freemasonry has in excess of twenty Orders known as Orders Beyond the Craft; these are based on historical or biblical legends and have their own meetings, rituals and regalia.
I know of many Masons who seem to collect membership these often esoteric Orders and they can rapidly become "five nights a week" Mason. Indeed it can become obsessive and that is unhealthy.
What effect this has on family life can only be conjectured but one assumption is that the spouse may well welcome it.
Conventional Masonic thinking in terms of priorities says that the family should come first at all times, the demands of work second and Freemasonry (or any other hobby) third.
In business terms I have found on too many occasions that the first two are reversed and often without the modifying influence of the third.
I hear people saying things like "I'm not sleeping too well", "I don't see much of the kids" or worst of all "There is a lot of tension at home".
It goes without saying that everyone needs to be dedicated to driving the business along to generate such success as is feasible but it should never be at the cost of family and close relationships.
Success in business should never be achieved in an atmosphere of regret for lost relationships; we don't hear of last words saying "I wish I had spent more time at the office".
It is all a matter of balance and often of self-discipline.
Vistage has a great strap line:
"We are dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and enhancing the lives of executives"
and that covers it all.
If the pressure of the business starts to increase take o look a how many people report to you directly. A good question to ask yourself is "Whose job am I doing now?"
Always be aware of upward delegation where people pass the buck to the leader rather than taking the responsibility themselves.
Restructure the management team if necessary to reduce the number of direct reports and stop doing things because you enjoy them!
Plan for a four day week, delegate to your people and if you don't trust them with the freedom to work without supervision, then get yourself someone you CAN trust.
Legislate in your calendar to take at least a day a month specifically to think about the business. Go for a metaphorical walk on the beach without a notepad or worse, a smart phone, and just spend a little time in cogitation.
I recall the story of a Vistage member who was working all hours possible to the visible detriment of his family and relationships and sensibly he took action.
Eventually he cut his working week down to three days, changed his way of working, reduced the number of his direct reports and guess what?
He found that he was achieving more in the three days and the business gained dramatically.
Get some balance into your lives. The family and close relationships come first and when they are good and right, then it is far easier to devote time and effort to the business.
Like the great golfer Sam Snead said:
“Take time out to smell the roses”
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