Defaulting on Life



Want a more stimulating, less anxious, more satisfying week?

Want to wake up Saturday morning feeling refreshed and content?

You remember contentment, don’t you?

We’ve gotten so busy we’ve managed to get our priorities out of whack again, but it didn’t happen overnight.

It crept up on us slowly and quietly.

The grind is a ninja, yo.

More and more, it seems we say ‘no’ by default to things in our family life.

“Sorry, I really don’t have time to take you to soccer practice. Mama can do it.”

“No, I really don’t have the energy to stay up and talk tonight. Can’t we just watch TV?”

“I wish I could, son, but daddy’s too busy right now.”

Stop me if you’ve heard those.

We find time for work, extra work, work-related community service, networking and busy work.

We say ‘yes’ by default to work stuff.

Switch the default boxes.

This week, try and find ways to say ‘yes’ to family stuff.

Family, extra family, family-related community service, netfamilying and busy family.

And turn on ‘no’ by default to work stuff.

Are you afraid they’ll fire you?

Do you really want to work for jerkfaces like that?

Just asking.

I’m going to go play with Will now.

If you can’t see the embedded video, please click here.

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As CEO and Head Custodian of Miles & Company, Tim Miles helps owner-operated companies do more with less. He's the author of Good Company: Making It, Keeping It & Being It.

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  • Ray Seggern


    • Tim

      Thanks, Brother Ray. Have a great week.

  • Jeff Mac

    Good to hear this. I am frustrated how often I need to be reminded of this and am continually letting myself be tied down by the “necessities” of work when they are often just requests…


    • Tim


      I wish your necessities including blogging more often! I love your stuff. We share many of the same interests (travel, travel gear, audio gear).

  • Nancy Nadolski

    Yesterday my schedule changed abruptly to match my son’s. He has no idea what a gift he gives when he asks me to sit with him while slowly and methodically turns the pages on a book he’s looked at a bazillion times. He forces my attention to the truth that time is all I have. Thanks Tim, here’s to a good day.

    • Tim

      Cheers, Nancy!

  • Tom Cadwallader

    Amen! I remember my parents coming to see me in school in 7th grade on a regular school day, to talk to teachers and guidance counselors. There was no issue or problem. I thought it was weird but I was proud too. I had forgotten about that day until I saw your post.

    Unfortunately my wife and I divorced so my kids and we had an relationship concentrated during periods of visitation. After they were grown, graduated from college and moved on to new places and jobs, I made a point of coming to see them and visiting them in their new jobs. I told them how proud and impressed I was with them and all that they were doing. At the time, all three were teaching in Teach for America positions or a charter school. You could say an approval and blessing. Those visits have made all the difference.

    It has made all the difference

    • Tim

      Wow. Great story. You must be insanely proud!

  • Lisa Brouwer

    It was a couple years ago when I realized that my clients had become more important than my family. I was a self-proclaimed work-a-holic and I was darn proud of it! Here my little ones were… hungry for my attention and I had nothing left at the end of the day. I read Andy Stanley’s book, Choosing to Cheat and I gained a new perspective. I penned out a life plan where I figured out what my priorities were and started to live my life consistent with my beliefs. It was hard to turn a big ship around!

    At the beginning of 2012, I stepped down to three days on the job. I still put in what the job demands but I’m much more efficient since I don’t want to do “work stuff” on my days off. I only wish other mom’s didn’t go through what I did and regret not putting time in to what lasts… their family!

    • Tim

      It’s not easy, is it? Thanks for sharing your story. I’m going to check out that book. Rock on!

  • Jeff

    The joke about yachts, at least for those that end up living aboard one for awhile, is the standard rule of whenever you bring something new onboard, you have to take something off-board. There’s just no room to keep cramming “more” into a boat. With houses and daily grinds, that never seems to sink in with the same clarity. Applying that rule to regular life, it means having a Stop Doing list. We’re so apt to pile on the “To Do” or “Start Doing” items that we never stop to think what we’ll stop doing to balance it out. But “Stop Doing” doesn’t have the same galvanizing emotion as what are you ALREADY saying NO to that’s stealing your life away.

    Thanks, Tim.

    • Tim

      You are irritatingly brilliant. And your latest post gave me the same joy I used to feel when the Sears Christmas Catalog came in the mail back in the 70s.