Let me show you a scene.
It’s a Tuesday, and I’m working, as I am most Tuesdays. I lead a meeting. I answer email. I update my goals for the quarter.
I’m not in my office, though, and I’m not at home. I’m sitting on a mountain overlooking Steamboat Springs, about 1,000 miles away from the Far West Capital office in Austin. Thanks to the miracle of cell network coverage and the technology in my pocket, I can “be there” without “being there.”
Let’s be clear: I think work-life balance is a great goal. We should all strive, as I’ve said, for progress in our spiritual, mental, physical, fiscal, and emotional goals; we should all prioritize our families as much as we do our work. But I have a slightly different view: Call it work-life integration.
There’s some that say that sitting atop Steamboat Springs and looking at an email on my phone isn’t balanced, and it certainly isn’t vacation. I’ll give you that it isn’t vacation, but I gotta say: Sometimes I’d rather answer that email from the mountain than I would from my office.
Yes, it’s good to unplug. But flexibility is my day-to-day goal.
It’s good to have distance from our devices and even our offices. When I went to Cuba in 2015, I had to unplug – and it was really good for me, not to mention my ego. As it turns out, the world doesn’t stop when I leave the office, and it doesn’t even stop when I go off the grid. I realized then how stupid it was for me to be that addicted to my phone and email. I think it’s a huge problem; I don’t think our brains have evolved to be gathering as much input as they’re gathering. Nonetheless, we all do it. I still do it. But even then, I’d rather have the flexibility to do my work on a mountain when it makes sense. Plus, I got to take a client with me.
I love to travel – I try to get out of town at least once a quarter, and we’ve built a workplace here where everyone can do that – unlimited vacation and no set work hours means that I don’t care if you hit your goals after you run over 9 mountains or when you’re sitting in a Far West Capital office. But I don’t set an autoresponder. I just don’t believe in them. Nobody’s really out for the most part. Nobody really reads them. It’s just another email I have to delete. And I don’t want to go out of town for a week and come back and be totally swamped – that’s not a good way to recover from vacation.
So I integrate. And I delegate. And I trust in my team.
To me, that’s balance – the freedom to work however and whenever it makes sense. To let ego slide and know that my team will cover things when I do need to turn off my phone.
What’s your strategy?
Cole Harmonson is the CEO of Far West Capital, a company that funds the goals of high-growth entrepreneurs. Know a great company in need of capital to unleash their potential? Send them here and we’ll give them a call.