When we were all introduced to computers, and eventually the Internet, we were all promised a Jetson’s lifestyle and all the extra time we could handle. In the last decade that I have been in the technology consulting and Internet business, I have had a number of people say, “Cool, you must have a lot of free time since you can do your work anytime, anywhere.” I have always responded with, “You would think that would be the case. But, I often find myself more tied to the work since it is always there.”
Well, this summer, I have finally seen the other side of the coin and I’m thankful that I chose this field early in my career. My wife’s family faced some unexpected health problems that resulted in us making the decision to move family into our home for full-time care. This, unfortunately, started a chain of challenging events that I don’t think we’ll ever forget. Over the last two months, I was lucky to find a day that I was able to work a full eight hours. Just when I would get on a roll, something would happen and I was off to pitch-in where I could.
At times I thought, “How am I ever going to catch up when all of this finally slows down?” This only added to the stress put upon our family, but I always reminded myself that family comes first. “Stay strong, and it will pass.” PixelMill has always been very family-oriented and focused on the personal needs of those around us. Business swings have sometimes made this a tough position, but we always do our best (even when it didn’t seem right at the time) to put an individual’s needs over the needs of the company. This is fortunate, because not only was I facing challenges, but so was the rest of our management team. It has just been one of “those” summers.
What I have found, though, is that I was wrong when I said that I was “more tied to my work”. Actually, there is flexible time and it presents itself when the time is right. Like “karma” or a rainy-day savings account, the time invested on the front-end will come back around when you need it the most. I can’t say that the time off didn’t affect our business and the timing of some projects, including the newsletters, but I found that we’re not too bad off.
The benefit of computers and the Internet is that we can effectively make time to save time in order to use it down the road. I think the key is to work on investing the up-front time (those late night, extra hours) into projects and strategies that can sustain themselves down the road. For example, at PixelMill we have focused much of this “extra” time on store automation and support. By doing so, we help customers help themselves and it allows us to either focus on new products and services, or take the time saved for personal needs and family.
I recommend that each of you look at your business or career for those opportunities where you can invest in future “time.” Don’t ignore the personal and financial responsibilities you may have now, but know that at some point in time in the future you may need to step away from business for things that are more important. When you face those times, remember the mantra we have used… Stay Strong!
This intro is probably much more than you had expected, but hopefully it provides you with some understanding that we’re all not alone when it comes to life struggles. Over the coming months, PixelMill will be delivering a number of new product lines and education opportunities. Most of these will not only be focused on PixelMill providing better products and solutions, but also at helping all of you find ways to add to your business, advance your career, and help create time investment for future needs.
Tell us your story. I’d like to hear from you who have found the ‘time’ benefit that we have all looked for in this business. Tell us your story about how the Internet has provided you the benefit of ‘time’ to meet the needs of you and your family. Please email me your story at email@example.com.