Battling Boxes

hBattling Boxes (Video)

Do you have trouble with people wanting to put you in a box and label it with who they think you should be?  I do.  I always have.

I am one of those women who never wanted children.  I just did not.  I remember as a very small girl getting a baby doll from my grandma.  It was one of the first ones that you could feed a bottle of water to and in a little while it would “wet” its diaper.  I dressed it, fed it a bottle, pretended to feed it food, changed the diaper, changed the other clothes because they were wet, and put the doll to bed.  I remember thinking, “That was boring!”  And yet I could play with other toys for hours.

I hoped that my brothers would have children, because I thought being an aunt would be really cool.  (It is!)  I also thought being a grandma would be fun, as long as I did not have to go through the mother step first.  That worked, too, because it just happened that my husband had children that were almost grown when we married.  And being a grandma is fun.  And I am still glad I did not go through the mother step.

When we are very certain about what we want, or do not want, it is important that we stick to that even if family, friends, and society think that they know what is best for us.  (There are exceptions, of course.  We cannot harm others.  We cannot expect others to take responsibility for us; we are responsible for ourselves.)

If someone is trying to put you in a “box” that does not fit you, say something.  Do something.  Do not calmly enter the box and let others tape you in and label you.  It is your life.  It is your responsibility to decide who you are and live accordingly.

Clean House or Change Oil?

hClean House or Change Oil? (Video)

In a previous blog I discussed work, hobbies, and required responsibilities.  Required responsibilities are those things that we are responsible to do for ourselves.  If we own a business or are self-employed, we have professional required responsibilities as well.  These are things that we need to do, but no one is going to pay us directly for them.  For example, we need to have a website, but no one is going to pay us directly for our website.  We need to work our costs into our selling price to cover our business expenses.

With required responsibilities, we can either do them ourselves or we can pay someone else to do them for us.  It is my responsibility to clean my house.  I have decided not to pay someone else to do it.  I am capable of doing it myself and it does not take that long to do.  It is also my responsibility to change the oil in my car.  I could learn how to do it, buy the necessary equipment, and determine where to dispose of the oil.  I have decided that it is a better use of my time to pay someone else to change the oil.

When I am trying to determine the best use of my time and money related to business, I often ask myself if it is similar to cleaning the house or changing the oil.  Some things, like writing and posting blogs, is similar to cleaning the house.  I have the capability to do it and can make the time to do it.  I also enjoy it.  (I enjoy writing; I hate cleaning house.  I just want to be clear on that.)

Other things, like designing a website, are similar to changing the oil.  I might be able to learn how to do it, but it will never be as good as if a professional did it and it will take me much longer to do it.  If I am designing a website that is time that I cannot spend elsewhere.  The money I would save doing it myself would probably be small compared to lost revenue.  And I would still have an inferior website.

In business, we have to decide what we can and should do for ourselves and what we need to hire someone else to do.  Too often I think people see only the business “expense” and try to do it themselves.  Many of these expenses are also investments in our business.  If we are going to make an investment, it should be the best we can afford.  This may mean contracting with someone else who can do it better and faster than we can.

Are there tasks you are doing that would be better contracted to someone else?

Business, Hobby, or Required Responsibility?

Business, Hobby, or Required Responsibility? (Video)

hWe do many things.  Most, perhaps all, can be divided into three areas:  business, hobby, or required responsibility.

The business area includes everything that we do for others that they are willing to pay us to do.  If we have a job, we get a paycheck in return for what we do.  The work we do has value to our supervisor or the company where we are employed.  If we are self-employed, our customers pay us to provide goods or services because these goods and services are valuable to them.  In my case, people pay me to speak at their conferences and they pay me for my book.

The hobby area includes those items that we do because we enjoy them, but no one is going to pay us to do it.  Or, they will not pay us very much.  Something to keep in mind is:  “Businesses are in business to make money.  If it does not make money, it is a hobby, not a business.”  (This is the best piece of information I learned at the University of Louisville when I got an MBA.)  I love to hike, but no one is going to pay me to go hiking.

Required responsibilities are those things that we are responsible to do for ourselves.  This includes everything from feeding ourselves to cleaning our homes to taking care of our pets and/or children.  No one will ever pay me to clean my own house; it is my responsibility.  And I will never pay someone to clean their own house; that is their responsibility.

With required responsibilities, it is our responsibility to see that they are done.  We can do them ourselves, or we can hire someone to do it for us.  We can clean our house, or hire a housekeeper.  We can mow our lawn, or hire a lawn service.  It does not matter which, so long as it is done.

How would you divide what you do?  What tasks are business, what are hobbies, and what are required responsibilities?