11 Chapters
Medium 9781576751169

CHAPTER 6

Drake, John D. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

I love coaching, but anybody can coach. My wife has just one husband and my children have just one father. Some of you may think I’m jumping ship. I don’t believe I’m jumping ship. I’m diving overboard to save my family.

DANNY AINGE (PRESS CONFERENCE ANNOUNCING HIS RESIGNATION AS HEAD COACH OF THE PHOENIX SUNS)1

The last chapter presented downshifting options that focused on how you manage your workday. Here are eight new ideas for restructuring your job so that less time is spent at work.

You will find that these downshifting ideas are riskier, because they represent substantial changes in work patterns and reduce your physical presence onsite. As you can imagine, they are also more difficult to sell. The upside is that they have the potential to yield significantly greater leisure time than the options described earlier.

The possibilities we are going to explore are listed on the following page. They are all designed to help you find more leisure time. We will begin with a look at flextime.

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CHAPTER 3

Drake, John D. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

They conquer who believe they can. One has not learned the lesson of life who does not each day surmount a fear.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON1

Quite often, we are ourselves the real roadblocks to working less. We postpone downshifting, not only because of external pressures (presented in the last chapter) but also by our own internally generated worries. We’re fearful because we’re contemplating a change; we’re trading something we know for something that is less certain. We also realize that risks are involved, and risks are scary. It would be unnatural not to have at least a few concerns about downshifting.

Psychologists tell us that the best way to cope with fears is to confront them. This chapter is designed to help you do just that and to provide ways to surmount them. What follows is a description of concerns that are likely to emerge as you contemplate downshifting. As you read, try to identify those that trouble you the most. Along with each fear, I have provided for your consideration an On the other hand. It presents thoughts that may ameliorate some of your concerns. Later in the chapter, I’ll discuss additional options to help reduce anxiety about cutting back.

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CHAPTER 4

Drake, John D. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Not to decide is to decide.

LAURENCE J. PETERS, PETER’S QUOTATIONS1

“John, I’d love to downshift, but I haven’t got the time even to think about it!” For many, finding time is a formidable obstacle to changing their lifestyle. Working twelve-hour days and six-day weeks doesn’t leave much time for making an important decision about cutting back, much less the necessary time for planning.

If you are trying to decide about downshifting but are so stressed out or time-pressured that getting to it seems impossible, this chapter is for you. We’ll describe steps that have worked for others in similar circumstances; I hope they will enable you to make the right decision.

If you’ve already made your decision, you can skip ahead to Chapter 5. There you will find a variety of low-risk downshifting options.

The first significant step to make downshifting a reality is to carve out sufficient time for thinking about it.

Let’s accept the fact that the time needed for deciding about downshifting is not going to be handed to you. Rather, you will need to create space to think about this life-changing step. Among the items to be considered are:

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APPENDIX GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE: A FIVE-SESSION PROGRAM

Drake, John D. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781576751169

CHAPTER 1

Drake, John D. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

There’s more to life than work.

OLD ADAGE

“I should have left an hour ago.” “Between my job and my family, I haven’t got a minute for myself.” “The money is great, but there’s got to be more to life than this.” Do these statements have a familiar ring? Maybe you’ve uttered the same words yourself. If so, you’re not alone. U.S. News and World Report1 found that 49 percent of Americans say our society puts too much emphasis on work and not enough on leisure. For many, the idea of leisure is a joke. Gates McKibbin, a former organization effectiveness consultant with McKinsey & Company, put it this way:

The prevailing work ethic in the United States right now demands that people succumb to absurdly escalated expectations of the time and energy that one must invest in work-related activities. The fast pace and pressure to be plugged-in at all times, made possible by the omnipresent cell phones, voicemail, e-mail, laptops, and faxes, fuel the expectation that employees should quite literally be available to deal with work issues 24 hours a day—wherever they are, whatever they are doing.22

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