Update 2020-06-29: A Russian translation of this article had kindly been made available at https://softdroid.net/net-ty-ne-mozhesh-zanyat-tret-moey-zhizni
I am going to tell you two stories. If you value life, then pay attention!
My father was a really hard working man. He spent his entire life working full-time. Every day when he got home from work he was tired both from the work itself and from the hours spent in transport between home and work. He would usually fall asleep on the couch while watching the news and if we children made the slightest noise that would wake him up we would get a serious beating. When he woke up he would eat, spent a while in front of the TV and then go to bed.
Sleep, work, eat and repeat!
He had three children, none of whom he ever got to know and he missed every single important moment in their lives growing up. He never played with them or spent any quality time with them because he was always too exhausted and too grumpy. Even in the weekends because then he had to catch up on everything else like fixing something in the house or simply because he was so tired that he didn't want to do anything but watch the TV.
Then eventually my father got old and sick. He had thrombosis, heart problems and diabetes. The thrombosis left him almost blind on one eye and the side effects from the daily medication is causing him more problems than the bad health itself.
Today he is even grumpier than he was when he was working and he spends most of his time complaining.
"What happened to my life?", "Where are my children?", "I don't know my children, it's your fault! (blaming my mother)", "I don't have any family!", "Why didn't I get rich?", "I never traveled!", "Cursed are the damned politicians!", "I just want to die!"
I learned all about hard work from my father and I even spent time working with him in my youth and I truly value those lessons.
I worked hard as well. I built my own company at some point and often had 12 and 14 hours work days during that time. Some days during very important projects I would occasionally work for 18 hours a couple of days straight. I have also spent time working as a full-time employee.
But then it was my turn to become a father. I was 29 when my son was born.
Now, let me share something special with you.
I have never missed a single day in my sons life!
From about the time when my son was about 4 or 5 every other day we would turn the entire apartment into a make believe spaceship. I would hang wires from the sealing, put blinking lights on the furniture, and have a laptop play special "spaceship sounds". Then we would spent an hour or two going on a make believe adventure on different planets where all his toyed animals would serve as strange and rare aliens.
When we didn't fly around in space we would turn his room into a ship and go sailing. We had bed sheets as sails hanging from the window to a stick we attached to a chair. Then we would catch make believe fish and read a story while we were eating (some real food).
I also made it a fixed habit that we, as a family, always took a nice daily long walk. Preferably somewhere green. We still do this almost every day.
As my son got older some of the make believe travels turned into computer gaming where we enjoyed a couple of hours playing Command and Conquer or Halo or something else.
Besides from all of the above we of course did a lot of other things as well.
How did we manage to do all that for so many years?
As a default I never worked more than part-time!
Of course I had the occasional busy moments during some project, and occasionally I do take on full-time assignments, but then I require the hours to be completely flexible and free of choice. I decide when to work and for how long at a time. This means no nine to five rigid schedule.
Since my son was born and until today I decided that I wasn't going to waste such a precious thing as life on work.
This was a pivotal moment and a life choice. Something I have never regretted!
Sure, I had to make some sacrifices, but the choice was a really easy one!
Perhaps I cannot afford that brand new Mercedes or a big house or something else, but what is all that really worth? Do you honestly think that when you lie there at your dead bed that it is your car or house that you will be thinking about? Or all the so-called important projects you spent half your life working on to the exclusion of everything else?
We only have this one chance! Life is simply too precious!
And guess what.. I found out that if you only work part-time you're able to be your very best during those hours.
As mentioned, I had my own company for a while, even more than once, and I have had employees. I have worked full-time too. Do you know what I discovered? People will give their best for about half the time, then the other half is spent trying to avoid working, thinking about when they can get home, and doing less than optimal.
You want to know something else? You can actually increase productivity by as much as 75% by having only part-time workers!
You think time is wasted teaching more people how to do their job, or you think time is wasted in double the amount of management, but you're dead wrong! You can run almost any kind of company you would using full-time employees with part-time employees instead. It's all about attitude and planning. What you'll get in return is a very happy and extremely productive work force.
Now, I'm not here to tell you what to do or how to spend your time. We each face our struggles and daily challenges. But I would like to make you pause for a moment.
Think about it! If you have a choice, when and if you live to become old, how do you want your life to look when you look back at it?