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On Work Life Balance

On Work Life Balance

Finding Balance is an ongoing process.


Growing up, I idolized the hustlers for their work ethic and their inability to give up. A lot of this was learned from my parents, who modeled entrepreneurship and working hard from a young age. I became obsessed with working hard, building and creating new things. Working at an engineering firm, owning multiple businesses and then eventually Paddle North - 100 hr work weeks were the norm. There were even nights that where I slept at the office, Elon Musk style. 

Through 15 years of hustling, grinding, and working way too hard, I’ve learned a few lessons to help me balance my life. I feel like I’m just now hitting my stride. Trying to juggle business and home life is an ever-changing exercise.

Here's a few of the main hurdles:


1. Blurred Boundaries

We’re constantly connected to everything these days. I can be reached at all hours of the day and often am. This connection makes it difficult sometimes to be present in the moment when you know there is a fire that needs to be put out behind the scenes. Peter and I also both seem to have some of our best ideas later at night. We are often absorbed into long text conversations late at night (that my wife can get quite annoyed with). This constant connection has fueled a lot of creativity and the ability to share the second we have an idea. The constant digital connection can sometimes be frustrating when we’re physically with people who want to spend time with us.

2. Growth and Rising Expectations

“If you’re not growing you’re dying,” is a popular business philosophy these days. Wanting to build up, be better, do better, create more. These desires can lead you to over-commit, work long hours, sacrificing home time, to get that next taste of success.


3. Guilt

It’s easy to feel guilty when work gets prioritized over family or personal time. I think from 2014 to 2022 the most common text I probably sent my friends was “would love to but I have to work”. Even worse, when my son was old enough to voice his disappointment that I would work on a weekend instead of being with him. It’s had the same effect on my wife who has felt guilty for needing me to take time off work to help her with something. It can be a hard thing to manage, and having a flexible schedule and the ability to complete work from anywhere, has eased this to some extent.



I didn’t want to bail on friend and family events for all those years. I felt FOMO while I was working, and my friends and family were enjoying themselves. It can take a toll and add stress when you must miss important events.


5. Unpredictable Life Events

Life can be hard and unpredictable. You never know when you’re going to face a major problem in your business or losing a loved one. With all the challenges I’ve faced in my life, what used to set me off is now a minor inconvenience. There will always be issues or problems but if you can stay calm and think clearly, you’ll find the solution. Time and experience are really the only ways to attain this knowledge mindset. Keep yourself agile and open to out of the box solutions. Your level of stress will go down with time after you’ve encountered and conquered what, at the time, you thought was an insurmountable challenge.


Here's how to manage them:


1. Time Management

This has always been my biggest challenge, it’s easy for me to get distracted by the shiny object. I’ve used a technique called time blocking with some success. If I’m able to focus on a sole task, my efficiency and effectiveness are much greater. I try to block time for certain daily tasks at the same time every day or weekly so I can focus on those routine items. There will always be distractions, questions, and more urgent needs. But the more you can stick to the time blocks the more effective you will be.

2. Priorities

Being a business owner and a father has been both challenging and rewarding. I love my family and I love the businesses I’ve helped build. Priorities are going to shift as both your family and your business grow. I’ve been fortunate that as my son has grown, I’ve had more flexibility with my schedule and less of a need to be in a physical workplace (like a trade show or mall store). I played a lot of sports, participated in a lot of activities and my parents were always present. It’s something I want to provide for my son as well. So set your priorities and when they conflict get creative to figure it out.


3. Organization, Systems and Delegation

This one took us the longest to learn. I would describe both Pete and me as creative, agile, analytical, and easily distracted. However, we’re not the most organized people. We’ve gotten much better over time. It really took hiring people to get our warehouse, shipping, distribution to the next level. Part of this is we just didn’t have the time to devote to it. But I also don’t think it’s something either of us really enjoys. We’ve had some great people pull us up the hill there and implemented systems, standards, and processes for everything in the business.

Delegating these tasks and organizing who handles what seems obvious. But when you’re building a business with rapid growth, there isn’t always time or room in the budget for a person who owns a lane. Lots of us covered 2-3 lanes for years before we could pass them off. Had we have been as organized in year 3 as we are in year 10 of the business, we would have a lot of time back and a lot fewer headaches. If you’re currently at the early stages of your business, I would offer this advice: document, organize, and make processes for everything you do. Even the most menial task, if you have a document explaining how to do it, it’s much easier to delegate keeping your time free. This will make delegating, training, and employee turnover much less challenging.


Final Thoughts:

Achieving a sustainable work life balance is an ongoing process that requires a conscious effort from yourself and your business. Priorities and boundaries will shift with time. Mistakes will be made, you will miss things, you will have stress, but you will also feel fulfillment and purpose. Getting to the root cause of the issues that are keeping your life out of balance is the only way to solve the problem. Like anything worth doing it will be hard and will take time.

As my wife will tell you, I’ve in no way perfected this topic. I’d probably start 100 businesses if I had more hours in the day. In the end the memories I’ve built with my family, friends and coworkers are going to be the most important. So, a parting tidbit of wisdom—find your balance and you’ll find fulfillment and happiness.


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