Who are you working for – and why?

I love being approached online by people who’ve read a post that resonates with them.

This week it was a company called ‘wework‘, who state they ‘build communities that empower people to do what they love‘.

That sounded very liberating to me.

Emma emailed a link to a recent article on their site ‘One founder’s best productivity trick: Save time and do less‘, which she’d connected in some magical-internet-journey-way to this site.

The article asks its readers:

  1. Do you say no?

  2. Are you delegating enough?

  3. Is everything on your to-do list necessary?

  4. Are all of the recurring meetings on your calendar necessary?

  5. For one-off meetings is your default time too long?

  6. Do you even need a meeting at all?

  7. Are you a slave to your in-box?

I could definitely see similarities to many of my posts – apart from the perception that it was targeted at employed people or those employing others.

The endless 'to-do' list

Dipping in and out of emails and the endless ‘to-do’ list

Reading it also made my spine shiver in remembrance of many years of employment where I’ve been that ‘yes’ person, of definitely not delegating enough but having a ‘non-one can do it as well as me so I might as well just do it all‘ mindset, of a never ending ‘to-do’ list with little time to step back and look at what was really crucial (probably due to trying to do it all!), of far too many meetings where little got done going on and on in chasms of perpetuity, and of a mountain of endless emails that  I dipped in and out of throughout the day in no logical order.

I suspect I’m not alone in many of those feelings.

Taking many steps away to reframe and reflect, I’m now ever more powerfully aware, as Emma’s title suggests, that by doing less we can achieve more, which I also highlighted in a recent post.

Working for your self

There’s certainly advantages to being employed – that regular pay check tops the list! Someone else being accountable for ensuring your tax (and National Insurance in UK) is paid. And the camaraderie of colleagues.

Conversely, not (yet) making enough to pay tax or National Insurance, means anything I do earn is mine. Office politics don’t figure in my life anymore either, and I can generally choose when I work and focus on my businesses, and when I take time out to be with my self, my husband, my family and my friends.

I was quite dumbfounded recently to track back and discover that out of an incredible 31 different ‘jobs’ I’ve had since the age of 12 (seriously, I worked on a Saturday in a corner shop, having lied and said I was 13!), for 8 of these I’ve been self-employed – almost 25%.

The past 18 months though is the first time I’ve been totally working for my self and no-one else. Well maybe me and my husband!

I have less ‘stuff’ than ever, and little – if any – need to accumulate more.

We live on a narrowboat, not in a house, so our overheads are significantly lowered.

I have far more power and control over my life.

I want to discover what I’m capable of, without the constraints of having to clock in and out of a political driven organisation, having voluntarily stepped off the employment hamster wheel.

BUT …

It’s early days.

And there’s a lot to learn. Like saying no, delegating more, managing my to-do list (I’ve changed it to my ‘take action’ list, it feels better in some strange way), maintaining control and awareness of what meetings are really necessary, and definitely not being a slave to my in-box.

Counting the days to retirement?

I’ve known many people over the years, some of whom have been recent clients, who see their working life as a time for counting the days down to retirement, rather than making their days count.

Security comes at a high price for them – is it worth it?

I guess they’re the only ones who can truly answer that question.

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