Work Life Balance
In the late 1990’s I started working on my first golf course maintenance job. It was a small mom and pop course with an owner that would run the proshop and let us know what to do for the day. He wanted no overtime so my friends and I would work our eight hours then play golf. If we wanted extra money we would haul hay and clean out barns, and we always wanted more money. At the time I had no idea that you could make a living working on a golf course. After finding this out I moved to Memphis, started school for turfgrass and got a job at TPC Southwind. What a difference from my first course, not only the agronomic difference, but as many hours as you wanted. Bentgrass in Memphis with a summer PGA tournament — sometimes it was more hours than I wanted, but I loved the overtime! 20 years later, I have a wife and three kids, and overtime is not at the top of my list of things to do.
It’s hard to hear people not in this profession talk about work life balance, how they only work 40 hours and under no circumstance do they work weekends. I’d like to think when I send pictures of the sunrise or how green our 300 acres looks they sigh a little in their cubicle. It would be easy if our jobs consisted of mow from point A to point B or fix XYZ, but our responsibilities go much further than that. The golf course is a living animal changing all the time, it takes no breaks! Weather, growing grass, disease pressure, irrigation and employees are a few of the changing conditions that need daily attention.
Everyone has their own work life balance, so you have to determine what that is for you. If you feel like you work too much and are burned out, who is making that decision? Is your workload too much or do you prioritize poorly? Studies have shown most of your day is unproductive because of the distraction of personal phone calls, social media and email. Poor preparation goes hand in hand with being unproductive. I am the worst at changing job assignments to seize an opportunity and after starting realize I don’t have all the tools I need to complete the task.
I know finding good employees is tough in this market but not having enough employees shouldn’t mean you have to work twice as much. You have to work smarter and be as efficient with your own time as you want your employees to be with theirs. Ask yourself a few questions: what are my goals today, this week, this month and write them down. Go through and make sure you have what you need to complete these goals. Communicate with the people that are going to help you accomplish these goals, they may have a better way or see something you missed. Also look to see how your workday is spent. How many non-work-related distractions do you have in a day? My personal opinion is when you mix personal time with work, you will have work mix into your personal time. When I am at home I want to be with my family and not have work lingering over. I know we are all going to get that call on Sunday afternoon about an irrigation leak, but that is part of the job. When you lose the balance of work and life everyone suffers!