Guest Post: Why I Never Start Work Early
Adam J. Levinter recently finished coaching with us. He used to worry that his colleagues wouldn’t understand why he came to work later than them. Read his story.
Last April, my father, an entrepreneur, suffered a stroke and heart attack. I found him on his condo floor, nearly motionless. He was 67.
Now he lives with a full-time caregiver who helps him dress, bathe and eat. He cannot work or walk without assistance. The 20-year-old business he owns is dormant.
I, too, own a business. I’m married, and a new father to two beautiful children. Outside of my business, I now manage my father’s company and personal finances. There are weeks in which I fight to keep my head above water as I try to manage it all.
The one thing that I never neglect is my health.
My father taught me how to skate, throw a baseball, and swing a golf club. But when he started his own business, his priorities began to shift. Work became the mainstay, and within a couple of years, he was pushing eighteen-hour days. It was an addiction that worsened over time. He seemed unable to divorce himself from anything on his desk.
I spent years trying to get him to create a better work/life balance, constantly nagging him about exercise and healthy eating. Once I knew my efforts to help him change were failing, I stepped back and watched my father risk his health for his career.
Since his stroke, I pay close attention to the lifestyles of my career-driven colleagues: no exercise, long hours, and high amounts of caffeine, sugars, stimulants and supplements in hopes of keeping up with the grind. The excuses for omitting any health-related activities are endless; too busy, too tired, too stressed, too focused, too tied up, too distracted.
These responses are variations on a common theme: most people simply don’t prioritize their health. Much of the corporate world has slipped into the same mental trap that my father did, viewing exercise and personal health as a time-waster.
For me, exercising and making healthy choices are critical components of my day. My mornings start with a healthy breakfast with my kids, followed by some journaling and/or meditation, and then a workout. I am not at my desk before 9:30AM… EVER.
I used to worry that my partners, suppliers and clients would think of me as either selfish or lazy since I wasn’t in my office “early” like everybody else. Nowadays, I no longer hide how I structure my day. Rather than pretend I’m in a meeting I share my morning routine with everyone I do business with. I don’t make excuses for putting my health on my schedule.
I get nothing but positive responses when I tell people this. They don’t think I’m selfish or lazy; they envy the control I have over my time and my day. I’ve made it my mission to share my routine and my story in hopes that other busy, career-minded people start incorporating health into their daily schedule.
Block the time in the calendar and don’t waver. Schedule in a walk, run, workout, nap, or whatever! Watch as personal productivity, health, wealth, energy and happiness improves from this shift in behavior.
Take control and make health the first priority on your list. Everything else is irrelevant when we don’t have it.
Adam J. Levinter, MBA is the founder and President of ScriberBase Inc., a complete operations and services solution for any subscription business. He is a board member of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) Toronto and a business coach for its Accelerator program. He is also involved with Venture for Canada, a not-for-profit providing opportunity for the brightest, young entrepreneurial minds in the community.
Read Adam’s Client Spotlight.