American Business Brokers & Advisor Founder & President PROFESSIONAL INTERMEDIARY & MARKET MAKER FOR PRIVATELY HELD COMPANIES Advisor • Consultant • Speaker Market Valuations Involved in Closing 500+Business Transactions & Over $500 Million Author of “The Art of Buying and Selling a Convenience Store”
Don’t Let Your Buckets Spill Over Compartmentalization is Essential to Success
“Keep your work life at work and your home life at home. Wherever you are, focus on the matter at hand, and keep those buckets from spilling over.”
L ately, I’ve been thinking about the central characteristics of successful people. One characteristic that I keep coming back to is the ability to compartmentalize. Compartmentalization is the ability to separate all the different aspects of your life into different categories, so they don’t bleed together and cause mayhem. I like to think of those different categories as buckets. Having a different bucket for work, family, finances, and any other important piece of who you are, and not letting them interfere with and detract from one another, is crucial to being a successful business owner. Compartmentalization is even important for people who aren’t business owners. For years, I played guitar for a rock ‘n’ roll band. I remember constantly telling my bandmates that while we’re on stage, the audience owned us and we had a responsibility to give them a great show. It didn’t matter if one of
was howling and whistling through the cockpit, she screamed at me “What are you going to do?” over and over. I answered, “I’m going to fly the plane!” which was the correct answer. Pilots aren’t supposed to worry about anything except flying the plane, no matter what sort of chaos goes on in the cockpit. In that scenario, successful compartmentalization could mean the difference between life and death. If you don’t compartmentalize your buckets, the contents will all spill out and melt together in a big mess. You start making excuses. Maybe you missed a call with a client because you said you would get lunch with a friend at the same time. Maybe you worked late and missed dinner with your family for the fourth night in a row. Whatever the case, taking care of your own life ensures you can properly take care of your friends, family, and colleagues as well. It’s not always easy. Within each bucket, you might need smaller, more specific buckets. For example, your finance bucket might have buckets for investments, real estate, business costs, or other categories. Our lives are complex, and keeping every category separate is hard — but essential. Keep your work life at work and your home life at home. Wherever you are, focus on the matter at hand, and keep those buckets from spilling over.
my band members had a fight with his wife or girlfriend right before the show — on stage, we had a job to do.
Similarly, when I was learning to be a pilot, my instructor
once opened the passenger door of my little high-wing plane mid-flight, and while the wind
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