Thomas Michael Live

Work-Life Balance: How to work a 40-hour week, stay in business, and still take a vacation

One of the most challenging parts of running a company is often remembering when NOT to work. I always have a list of things to work on that could keep me in the office late or end up coming home with me—and I know you do too.

As company leaders we make tough decisions every day. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance requires tough decisions too.

In fact, that’s the first step to a better work-life balance, deciding to make a change.

Are you committed to finding a better balance to benefit you, your family, and yes, your company? Then it’s time to commit and make some choices. I schedule my downtime just as I schedule my workday. I have a set time that I leave the office, and I do my best to stick with it. I’ve made a conscious decision to limit my weekly hours spent working and then make tough choices to make sure it happens. And when I’m home, I set work aside and focus on spending time with my family or relaxing. It can be as simple as putting down the cell phone and closing the computer. Leaving work, but staying attached to it and distracted by it is not truly leaving work.

But how can you go home with so much left to do? The key is to delegate responsibilities, not tasks. Reducing your operational involvement is the best way to cut back your working hours without negatively affecting the productivity and success of your company. When you’re not there, who is in charge? Who do you trust to make the decisions that keep your company running? Every CEO needs someone they can trust who knows the business as well as they do. I made a conscious decision to trust my team, and the best way to learn that this works is to give it a try. Sure, it took some getting used to, but once I saw that the world didn’t fall apart when I let other people share the load, it became much easier to leave my work at the office and truly enjoy my time at home.

Reduce your operational involvement by delegating responsibilities, not tasks.

If you cannot take a vacation from your business, you don’t have a business – you have a job. If my business were in a position where it couldn’t run without me, then I would make changes until it could. I choose to take a vacation several times every year and I stick to that plan. Remember the key to maintaining a work-life balance is applying the same discipline in your life as you do in your work. If you say you’re going to go home at 6 p.m., do it. And if you say you’re going to take a vacation, take it. Having the discipline to say ‘No’ to the office and trust that it can run without you is the only way to achieve the work-life balance we all strive towards.

If you can’t leave your business, you don’t have a business – you have a job.

Lastly, I always remind myself that better work-life balance is not only better for me and my family, it’s better for my company too. It’s possible to lead a balanced life even if you’re running a company, just remember the three Ds: Decision, Delegation, & Discipline.

What about you? Have you found any great ways to cut back your hours and get more out of life? Any success stories about how more time away from the office actually improved your business? Please leave them in the comments below.

And, as always, thank you for sharing this post!

Thomas Michael

Thomas Michael is the CEO of the Michael Management Corporation, the leading provider of award-winning online SAP training. He enjoys living in Manhattan and just booked a trip to see the Oktoberfest in Germany this year.

My # 1 Business Rule

There are a lot of business rules out there…some better than others. Some worth following, others worth ignoring. But there’s one single rule that trumps them all. This is the # 1 rule I use in my work and it has never failed me. I use it to assess new business opportunities, working with customers or vendors and even with potential employees.

Want to know what this rule is? Well, here you go:

Read More

Culture is EVERYTHING or How to Create Culture by Design

The picture above is a recent ‘career development day’ at our company Michael Management Corporation – we took a trip to Disneyland…just for fun. No agenda, no awkward games or assessments. Just for fun. It’s part of our culture.

If you think your company has no culture, you’re wrong. You either have one by default (bad) or by design (good). And remember this:

Culture is EVERYTHING. Yes, I said everything.

Read More

4 Steps To Better Sales Calls

I get my fair share of sales calls and honestly, 9 out of 10 are total train wrecks.

If you make a living doing sales calls and are not meeting your quota, it might be because you are making these common mistakes below – which are the kiss of death for any prospecting call.

Here’s what you need to do when you make a sales call to me (or anyone else, for that matter):

1. Quick – you have 10 seconds.
OK, I answered your call instead of letting it go to voicemail. Now tell me what you do and why I should care in 1 sentence and in under 10 seconds. Something like this:

Hi Bob, my name is Thomas with the Michael Management Corporation. We deliver online SAP training that allows our clients to train more people in less time for half the cost of traditional classroom training.

Now I can decide if your opening value statement is interesting enough for me to continue the call. You better have something valuable for me, otherwise it’s ‘good-bye, click’. Notice the 3 underlined pain points above – I know that these are the top challenges for our prospects in our industry. You need to know these for your prospects/industry.

2. Do not rattle off a list of your product’s features.
Amateurs do this a lot. Ditch the pitch and forget your product’s features. Instead, convert these features into benefits for me. Put these on a piece of paper and put them in your back pocket. I do not need to hear about these right now.

3. Don’t tell me…
…about your company, your great customer service, your history, your awards. I don’t care one bit at this moment. If or when I seriously consider your offer I’ll vet your company, your customer service, your reputation, testimonials and awards. But not in the beginning of the sales process.

4. Listen more than you talk.
I had a sales call once where the rep talked for 7 minutes straight. Seriously, 7 minutes. That’s enough time to check my email, make a sandwich and write down a couple of thoughts for this article.

Instead, ask me open-ended questions, then shut up and listen. You need to find out if I have a perceived problem with xyz (i.e. no time or budget to train my staff). Then you need to find out if I want to fix the problem (I might have 10 other issues I want to fix first) and how I would want to fix it.

Now you can pull out the benefits list of your product and tell me how it would solve my issue in the way I just described.

Do these 4 things and you’ll do better than 90% of all sales reps.

Your turn now. What are some of the other things sales reps should do or stop doing? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.

And, as always, please share this article if you found it useful.


Thomas Michael

Thomas Michael is the CEO of the Michael Management Corporation, the leading provider of award-winning SAP eLearning training. He moved to bitter cold New York City from sunny San Diego and sometimes wonders how smart that was. Oh, and he’s on a mission to make corporate SAP training fun and effective again.


Why I deleted 700 LinkedIn connections

Just 72 hours ago I had over 1400 LinkedIn connections – now I’m down to just 700. That’s right, I deleted half of all my connections and am not done yet. I think I can delete another 200 connections in the coming days.

Are you thinking: Why would you do that?
Well, let me explain what happened and why I did what I did. Read More

Top 5 Duties of Successful CEOs: What CEOs do all day

What does a successful CEO do all day? Run the company, right? Not so–if things are running as they should, that is the job of the Chief Operating Officer, or COO. As a CEO or an entrepreneur that hopes to one day be a CEO, it’s important that you understand your true role–what you should focus on, and what you should leave to others on your executive team.

Read More

Our Employee Happiness Plan

Part of running a company is creating jobs and contributing positively to the world, and that means taking care of the people who work for you. Happy employees also work harder and better, but you already know that.

I’m sure you’ve read general posts about improving employee morale–but I want to share what we at Michael Management do specifically to serve our employees.

Read More

Use LinkedIn Like A Boss

Want more leads? More customers? Find new potential sales? Welcome to LinkedIn, the world’s largest business network with 300+ million members.

If you think that setting up your profile is all there is to using LinkedIn, think again. Once you’ve taken care of the basics of a good LinkedIn profile (make sure to google that), it’s time to get serious about using LinkedIn as a lead- and sales-generating tool. Here’s how I use LinkedIn like a boss to get more leads and online visibility by using lesser known or advanced LinkedIn features: Read More

Is Every Customer a Good Customer?

In the beginning, we celebrated every new customer. No matter how small the contract or how demanding the client, our answer was always “Yes!” But then we grew. Before we knew it, those small and demanding customers began to distract us from our business goals and our growth. Read More

I’m Not Coming in Today: Why you need a guilt-free mental health day

Ever have one of those work days when you’re just downright CRANKY? Nothing seems to go your way and the smallest things irritate you and you can’t believe what you just said to your coworker and banging your head against a wall doesn’t sound so bad right now and …


It happens to the best of us, but it doesn’t have to. As the famous Dr. Phil always says, “You can’t give what you don’t have.” Read More