Day 28 – Become Your Own Boss

The most rudimentary division of daily life activities can be drawn between ‘have-to’ tasks, and ‘want-to’ tasks 

A ‘have-to’ task is something that you feel absolutely must be accomplished, no excuses.  The best example of ‘have-to’ tasks is everything undertaken in your work environment.

A ‘want-to’ task is something that you would really like to get done, but is inessential and can be brushed off and postponed.  The best example of a ‘want-to’ task is everything done in your private leisure time outside of work.

The process of becoming your own Boss is the transformation of ‘want-to’ tasks into ‘have-to’ tasks.

These could be anything: going to the gym.  Spending quality time with your children.  Learning an instrument or language.  Even doing chores.  

For most people, the only Boss they have is the one that signs their checks.  Everything that authority figure tells them to do becomes a ‘have-to’ task.  You ‘have to’ sell these electronics.  You ‘have to’ answer these phones.  You ‘have to’ stay late to do inventory. 

At home, there is no Boss.  You are free to slack off and relax as much as you like.  Sure, you have aspirations, dreams of private study and skill acquisition.  But when it comes down to brass tacks ‘hey, you don’t have to’!  You just ‘want to’.  There’s no Boss waiting to praise or berate you, no one monitoring your progress.  No one with a schedule you must adhere to.  You don’t have anyone breathing down your neck. 

When you become your own Boss, you begin to breathe down your own neck. 

This may seem like a non-issue.  Of course people need to unwind and let off steam in their downtime hours.  This is healthy and constructive.  However, if absolutely none of your personal goals are held with the same regard as the ones you are given while in a uniform, difficulties arise. 

A ‘have-to’ task will always trump a ‘want-to’ task.  You may sleep in and lay around for three hours instead of playing piano on the weekend.  It’s a bit more difficult to simply show up for work three hours into a shift.  I am not directly speaking about financial autonomy, or survival, this is about motivation.  About drive.  You are driven to work because money is a beneficial tool that provides practical enrichment to your quality of life.  It takes a little more thought to properly recognize a personal goal as having the same kind of benefit.  Albeit the material gained is a little more abstract than a wad of cash.

The issue arises when everything undertaken outside of a work environment remains a ‘want-to’ task.  Personal aspirations become messy and nebulous, and the only solid goal you stick to is one provided for you by your workplace superiors.  This is a quick path to bitterness and resentment towards how you earn your money.

When passionate hobbies and life goals become ‘have-to’s, you are willing to make sacrifices.  To struggle.  Maybe not directly conflicting with your job (i.e. not showing up to work because you really have to finish these German Language flash cards), but a different kind of sacrifice.  A looming workshift will make you get ready to leave for work, no matter how tired you feel.  When you become your own Boss, you make that same sacrifice to your comfort and immediate gratification for a goal that you choose.  For a project you create.  For a life you are living

Of course the time you have in a day is a chief feature for ‘have-to’ tasks.  If, realistically you simply don’t have time for any pursuit outside of the necessary wage-hours required to survive, this is your lot in life.  So be it.  You can still make it fun.

However, having no time means having no time.  Zero time between working, eating, and sleeping.  Having ‘no time’ does not mean: a few hours before you go to bed but you really can’t draw or write or go to the gym right now cause you are really tired and you kind of got a headache and it’s dark out already and someone did something dumb at work and you can’t stop thinking about it so I just want to blow off some steam and browse the internet and… 

You can see where this apathy-derived inner bargaining leads.  How different that dialogue would be if you were having it with someone who wrote your paycheck…

Becoming your own Boss is not an easy feat.  Self-control and privacy make terrible bedfellows, and the check you write to yourself is rarely cashed.  However, the benefits are huge.  Start with one thing.  Make one task a ‘have-to’ task, and see where it takes you.  


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