Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mommy, Do Entrepreneurs Have To Go To Work?

An innocent and profound question from my amazing daughter...

Here she is at 3 years old sitting at my desk being brilliant, typing her first paragraphs of random alphabets. Today several years later, she reads and writes lengthy and creative stories. She wants to become a writer - and a psychologist - and a world-renowned violinist - and an Olympic gymnast - and possibly a World Peacemaker - and an entrepreneur.
Who am I to tell her that she can't do all of these things? There are too many examples in history and in action today to ignore the power of possibilities and potential. My job as I see it is to open doors, to show her examples of what happens when (not if), and to help her to go through any door that she chooses. She's free to imagine and build her own future the same way entrepreneurs do.
Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.
Albert Einstein
I was just slightly older than she is in the picture when I recall my dad creating, organizing, building, buying, and selling things. Weekends were when his business machine would crank full speed and everyone had a role to play. During the week, preparations were being made. I had no idea about the concept of an entrepreneur. All I knew was that everyone was busy - really busy. However, I did have a sense that when I grew up I would become one of those "really busy" people.

Who Are Those "Really Busy" People?

Dreamers, innovators, game-changers, thinkers, tinkerers, and folks who have just had enough of the way it is... These are examples of the "really busy" people who help to alter the trajectory of any product, service, culture, organization, or industry. They're sometimes given labels like entrepreneur or intrapreneur. Their imagination and passion may be ignited by an idea, by an opportunity, or by a problem that needs to be solved.
Entrepreneurs work their magic with or within entities that they create, purchase, or organize. Intrapreneurs work their magic inside of entities that have been created, purchased, or organized by others. These general definitions will do for now. Either way these "really busy" people are driven to move the markers from where they are to some place better. No one has to tell them to do it. They just do it because they must. They're hard wired to make progress.
So how much time do entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs actually spend at work? The answers aren't surprising.
While I was examining data on working hours, a pattern emerged between roles, risks, and working hours. I've captured what I learned in the diagram above. It shows an increase in responsibilities and risks as roles change over time. This interaction leads to an increase in the number of working hours.
Is this true? It certainly has been for me. What about for you? Even so an interesting factoid emerged about entrepreneurs who are shown at maximum risk and maximum working hours in the diagram. I'll unpack the assumptions, definitions, and additional conclusions at a later time.
...[in 77% of tracked economies]
It is interesting that...entrepreneurs exhibit more work-life balance satisfaction than people not involved in entrepreneurial activities

Intrapreneurs Work Way More Than 40 Hours Per Week

"Really busy" intrapreneurs (or full-time employees) work on average 47 hours per week according to recent Gallup Work and Education Surveys. Standard working time in the US has been defined as 40 hours per week for purposes of calculating regular pay, benefits, holidays, and special circumstances like overtime pay.
Someone should tell intrapreneurs that they're working way too much! The red flags are waving on the idea that working an excessive amount of hours is good for business. Proof is quite to the contrary.
...Being busy doesn’t work, because most people produce 80 percent of their results in 20 percent of their time

Entrepreneurs Work Even More Than Intrapreneurs!

The paper chase is great, but it means little in the end if we're not able to enjoy the rewards. Entrepreneurs are often the busiest of the "really busy" people, but they don't have to be. Some stats show as much as 63% more working hours for entrepreneurs compared with intrapreneurs. Why so much?
Perhaps the excessive hours are due to the increased risk associated with managing complex organizations - or perhaps it's because entrepreneurs enjoy and indulge in the control that they have over their work. Regardless there's a need for systematic time management the old fashioned way because none of us are getting any more hours in our days no matter how hard we try.

Time Management Action Plan

The "really busy" people are typically proactive, passionate, driven, visionary, persistent, and determined to make a difference. These amazing traits don't mean that we have to spend all of our time at work. Here's how I escape.
  • (1) TAKE TASK NOTES - Keep a note pad or device handy for capturing tasks as they come up.
  • (2) CREATE ACTION CATEGORIES - Establish a short list of action categories that will make it easier to sort, reference, and schedule tasks later.
  • (3) SCHEDULE "YOU" TIME - Make yourself a priority. Block off time slots for meals, snacks, relaxation, exercise, and spending time with family, friends, and co-workers.
  • (4) PRIORITIZE AND SCHEDULE WORK ITEMS - Shake off your task list to see what’s really necessary to handle and by when.
  • (5) LEVERAGE YOUR SUPPORT TEAM - Delegate, delegate, delegate! Put a support team in place and leverage them.
  • (6) REVIEW EOD or EOP PERFORMANCE - Review end-of-day or end-of-period performance and celebrate your accomplishments.
  • (7) OPTIMIZE ACTION PLAN & REPEAT - Implement controls and barriers to ensure that you accomplish your goals better next time around. Repeat steps.
With an effective Time Management Action Plan in place, an Apple Watch just might become a fun way to spend time.

I've gone quite a distance to answer a simple question from a curious child. The complexity of the answer got the best of me.
Do entrepreneurs have to go to work? Yes - but not for nearly as much time as they think they have to...

What are some ways that you optimize your time? I'd like to know. Add your comments below.

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