Back around 2002 when I had just quit full-time employment to focus on my new business, I decided to start playing golf. I tried to hit a bucket of balls every day and I tried to play 18 holes at least once a week. For the most part, I succeeded. In spite of my time investment in golf, my new business flourished. I loved the sport of golf. I liked being outside and the beauty of nature.
Over time, that changed. First of all, being a father began to take more and more time and I started to feel guilty about leaving the family for 4-5 hours during the day. Second, business got harder. I began to take more risks and some of them did not work very well. I began to feel the grind and pressure and golf began to feel like a luxury that I could not afford. Third, my music career began to take over my life. Even though music was a business in itself with tons of work and challenges, I saw it as a viable replacement for golf.
Today, I look back at the past 15 years and realize that over that time, I have probably played golf less than five times. That makes me sad.
Let me give a warning to you who are entrepreneurs or who want to be entrepreneurs. Be careful that you don’t give away your life for your business. It is easy to do. Even if you are not an entrepreneur but in a job with high responsibility, you can fall into the trap. It is easy to work more and more and start to see a 4-hour break as unacceptable luxury. That is true even though study after study shows that such breaks do not hurt your productivity; in fact, they are more likely to help your productivity.
Yesterday, I went back to the golf course. I took my 18-year-old-son with me and we had a great time. And as we played, I realized that I have a chance to come back. In fact, in many ways, I need to come back–perhaps not to golf specifically but back to a more relaxed life where I intentionally take time to get away from business. My business is flourishing. It does not need me babysitting it every day.
Carve out that time in your life for relaxation. Like I said, it doesn’t have to be golf. Golf is a great option, though. The courses are uncrowded because golf’s popularity has waned. Green fees are inexpensive (you can probably play 18 holes any day you want for less than $20 through sites like golfnow.com) and you really don’t have to spend much on equipment if you don’t want to. Buy a starter set of clubs for $200 and give it a try.
Your business must not take over your life to the point where you have no leisure time. Take it from me.