Don't think in hours per week, think in outcomes per year!
Updated: Feb 21
One of the key things that I learnt very early on when I had children and I was to have business or build a business was to change my daily mindset from time spent ie. 9-5 to outcomes achieved.
Time and time again, I hear women say, I work 10 hours per week and achieve this, I can only do 20 hours a week so can achieve this. Or alternatively, I want to work this many hours per week, or I can only work this many hours per week. Already there is a scarcity mindset. It is a worker or employee mindset not an entrepreneur mindset or a business mindset.
My answer is stop working day to day and week to week about what you can achieve, start working year to year or at least month to month. The business I was in had a sweet spot of when you earnt your money and when you didn't. I chose to work some longer hours when I was delivering face to face and the ability to create a workbook/design a course from home, being paid for the output/outcome rather than how many hours it took me.
Whatever it was though, I did know that I had these certain times to make money and other times when it was difficult to. The other side of it too was that when I worked, I earnt a large sum of money for the outcome, not how long it took me to create/deliver it. I focused on the core work that I wanted to do and refused to do the other work, such as networking, marketing and sales. The reason for this was simply that I could make the most money, I could control my time and I could be with my children as much as possible. That particular task ticked all the boxes. Most importantly the be with my kids box. Easy to hold boundaries with my time present in my work and present with my kids.
Sure, at times I had to be away from my kids for 4 days per month, but in that time I earnt more than if someone was to work minimum wage 40 hours per week and some. Plus I had the flexibility to be there for the rest of the time. And for four days I could pretty much live a life of pre babies/kids. I am not saying this was easy in any stretch of the imagination.
I have traveled with a Nanny, tried to express milk during the day and not entirely succeeded, been the only person who will take on board making my child drink formula, sleep scantily through the night and have got up the next day and turned up to train 28 people in sales skills. Something that I had wanted desperately to do for like 5 years and here I was living my dream to only see a very different picture emerging. I remember very distinctly soon after I had had my first child being in a hotel in Wellington looking at the whole group saying none of this matters as much as my small baby at home, my new purpose in life.
At the same time there are some fun things, when my kids traveled with me for work, we would make the most of going these different places, we would enjoy staying at a hotel and eating pancakes for breakfast, they would enjoy exploring everything that the hotel had to offer such as a swimming pool. My nanny's were lovely, young and sometimes requiring some mummying too. But it worked for them and I, they had the ability and flexibility to live with what we had. One thing that was not flexible was the fact that I had to turn up to a group of people and train them. No interruptions.
One time, we were in Hamilton and Oskar fell off the bed, he was crawling at that stage and it looked like he had broken his arm. We went to the A&E, I don't think I have a lot of recall on this, but somehow we got an appointment, they considered it green broken, he got a plaster and I think I went to work, started the training, excused myself and went and collected him, the Nanny and Oliver to get back to the hotel, then went back to training.
Another time, I turned up on the Monday morning in Auckland with no voice. Nothing, on opening training day. Usually the first day is the most vocal, and there was no sound coming from my mouth. Luckily with only 6 participants it was intimate enough to move it forward without it being completely disastrous and I regained more voice each day.
What I am trying to say, is that I made a decision about the larger picture. The children coped and we made the best of what we had. When you have money you can have a bit of fun, when you are flexible about how you achieve this, then you also have some cool work stories.
One thing that came out of all of this was that we were all flexible about how we did life. They had a resilience about travelling away, sometimes we might go out on a day trip somewhere to then consider staying the night last minute with the clothes on our backs. That was our life.
From a schooling perspective, the boys have recently laughed at the fact that they can be away from school almost one day a week for a term and still achieve an excellence. We have a perspective that time does not create excellence. But what you do in that time does. And especially if you are allowed to do things that you love such as surfing, horse riding or skiing on some school days, the other days when you turn up, you are focused and clear about what you have to achieve.
I believe the more I focus on what I love, what fills me up, my time, the more I can achieve in my work. And yes, my work fills me up too. But so does spending time with my family, exercising and eating well, socialising, riding horses and all those other things. If you just look to your work to fill you up it is way too one dimensional.
So if the one thing you can do is do something for YOU and doing that means you achieve more in your day, why would you not do it?? We all win, when we all win!