Time for Work, Time for Play

I was reading a book to my daughter the other day, and the opening words struck a chord with me:

This was no time for play.
This was no time for fun.
This was no time for games.
There was work to be done/
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss

Two kids, instructed to clear the snow from the sidewalk in front of their house, have their work interrupted by the Cat in the Hat, who just wants to have fun. In the process of having fun, he makes a mess of the house and yard, but at the end, of course, the snow is cleared, and the mess cleaned up.

Running a business is like that too. There are parts to the business that we like to do, others that we consider to be a chore. There are two ways to approach balancing the two portions of the business.

We can be like the two children in the book, segregating the work from the fun. We can try to do just the work or just the play. While this is often more efficient and productive in the short-term, it also generates a distaste for these required tasks.

On the other hand, we can be like the Cat in the Hat. We can try to have fun all the time, and along the way, get the work done. While this tends to be less efficient, it avoids creating a distaste for those chores.

If your business is large enough, perhaps this isn’t relevant. You can hire someone to do your chores. Don’t like maintaining your books? Hire a bookkeeper. Don’t like writing newsletters? Hire a copywriter.

If you’re still small, though, you likely need to do many of these tasks yourself, because it’s not financially viable to hire someone for all these tasks. So, while it may be more efficient to do these tasks in batches (for example, spend one afternoon a week bringing your books up to date), doing a smaller amount throughout the week may avoid turning those tasks into chores.

If you want your business to succeed, you do need to work hard, but you also need to have fun. You need to enjoy what you’re doing, or you may find yourself neglecting certain tasks that will prevent you from seeing your potential.

So work hard, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey!