Appreciate the moment.
As August comes to a close, there’s a collective sigh of relief around the nursery. It is brief, however, as things quickly shift to fall shipping and the many tasks that come along with it. The peak growth of the trees is slowing, so the constant shuffle of labor to different varieties begins to subside. Yet, there is something magical about that moment.
Keeping up with growing plants is difficult. To get it done right requires a shifting strategy and an insane time commitment. And timing. The bottom line of the business is a direct reflection of the right work getting done on time.
Such questions can weigh heavy on the mind. One might decide to focus on taping a maple that could wait a week, only to realize that the redbud must be done today, or it will have defects. It’s easy to find yourself wondering if you are making the best decision at that moment.
One of the sayings that always comes up in the green industry is that if you aren’t working from behind, something is wrong. I do agree with the heart of that message, which is that it’s impossible to get everything done on time. It boils down to priorities. What needs attention right now?
However — if we take this mentality too far, we end up working too much and feeling stressed out. It feels like we will never catch up. That can take a toll on our overall health.
I’ve witnessed this personally. One of my dear friends needed open heart surgery. Another is awaiting diagnosis on a tumor. Various others have struggled with health issues at a younger age — young enough that it made me stop, think and reflect.
They all have one thing in common — that they work too much.
A lot of people wear their overwork as a badge of honor, and understandably so. It feels good to work hard and see the results of that.
I recently chatted with a nursery owner who lamented that the new generation takes too many vacations. I asked what that meant. What’s too many? He elaborated that it was weekend trips here and there throughout the year. I asked him, do they get all their work done? The answer was yes. What’s the problem then?
When he was earning his stripes as a nursery owner, people were working more than 10 hours a day, seven days a week. That was all just part of the recognized formula for success.
It doesn’t have to be like that.
How’s your work/life balance? Is there much life? Enough to even things out? Life is too short and too precious not to stop and smell the roses.
I recently had a birthday party for my son William, now 4. I took off a little early from work to rent a water slide. The times spent on the slide on a Saturday became a point of pure joy for my family. What that meant for me was like that magic moment at the end of August, when a task is complete and a new one begins.
It made me consider my perspective in life. I questioned whether my values and time commitments were in alignment.
Surround yourself with good people — they are out there. It allows you to find a balance. Slide out of work and into life. Hug those close to you. Things can get scary in a heartbeat.