Steve Blank: Live for work or work for life?

Original author: Steve Blank
  • Transfer
The questions “Do you want to put everything on the startup’s altar?” And “Is it worth it to work 15 hours a day instead of 14 to achieve the goal?” Sooner or later arise in the mind of any company founder. Many words have already been said on the topic of work, not “12 hours, but with the head,” but not everyone can find a balance between work and the rest of their lives.

UPD: Perhaps the article has fairly obvious things, I have no idea how developers and programmers will react to this, but there is probably something to it. Steve is by no means a business coach; he has launched about 10 companies and continues to develop his business, sharing his experience along the way.

So his opinion about combining life and work:

I met my future wife on a blind date and already then I realized that, in addition to common interests, we were linked by a desire to start a family with children. Our first daughter was born 4 months after I launched my fourth startup. The second daughter was born a little over a year later.

My wife and I immediately agreed to abide by several rules. So, for example, we decided that I would continue to do startups, although she understood that most of the care for the children would fall on her shoulders - I just could not physically be home at 5 o’clock in the evening every day!

Naturally, there were some quarrels and certain difficulties, but on the whole, our agreements paid off. They can also provide good advice to young entrepreneurs:

1) Have dinner together as often as possible.Despite all the unpredictability of a startup, I was supposed to be home at 7 pm. At dinner, we discussed children's affairs, school performance, and other topics.

2) Put the children to sleep. I did not realize how important it was for them to spend time together from dinner to bedtime stories until they admitted this to me, as teenagers.

3) Try not just to listen, but to hear. At first it was difficult for me to switch from workday to homework, but then I realized that you can work in the office, come home, spend time with family and ... return to work only when the children are sleeping. They never saw me sit down at my computer again and work until dawn.

4) Spend weekends with children and for children.I always tried to spend interesting time with them: the zoo, the beach, museums, picnics, amusement parks, etc.

5) If you work on the weekend, then only on Saturday morning. Sometimes I took my children to the office from Saturday morning. As they later admitted, these trips helped them better understand what I was actually doing. In addition, the children in the office helped me introduce certain rules of conduct in the company, which also always had a positive impact on the work process.

6) Spend a long joint vacation once a year.As a rule, for three weeks in the summer we went to the US national parks (the love of hiking is what always united us with my wife). The older the children became, the further we climbed on our trips. Traveling helped them understand that life is not just about California and Silicon Valley. Life is different, and in many countries its level is much lower.

7) Never miss important events in the lives of children . School plays, football matches, piano concerts - I tried to visit them as often as possible, even if they dropped out in the middle of the working day.

8) Engage your spouse in your activities.I gave all my important presentations and documents to my wife for criticism. Each of her advice helped me get a little better. In consultation with my wife, I gave her the opportunity to understand what exactly I was working on and what goals I was trying to achieve.

9) Sometimes spend time only together. Try to make some time for a mini date.

10) Always try to help your spouse as much as possible. At the very beginning of our family life, we did not have a lot of money, but, nevertheless, we tried to invest them in the development of our children. It really helped my wife, and so I tried to at least somehow compensate for my absence.

11) Follow the traditions. It doesn’t matter whether it’s family or religious holidays, the main thing is to join the whole family.

12)Go on business trips only when it is really necessary. When you manage a company, you understand that every little thing, every process needs your presence, regardless of geographic location. With the advent of children, I learned to prioritize my business trips.

13) Try to capture every moment. Photo. Videography. All this is a good memory.

14) Work for life, not live for work.When I was young, my main principles were "I myself" and "now." With age, I began to understand and accept the concepts of "others" and "for the future." Work 24 hours 7 days a week was not my main goal in life. Being an unburdened entrepreneur, I thought that “I live in order to work,” there was nothing more exciting and important than work. Children changed my philosophy to "I work to live with dignity."

15) Work more wisely and not with perseverance. Efficiency does not depend on the time spent on it. These considerations formed the basis of my Customer Development strategy .

16) Think about what will happen after your death.The life given to you is not a trial attempt, there will not be a second one. Live in such a way that in relation to your family you never have to sigh "I could ...". In the end, what would you rather see on your tombstone: the phrase “He was never late for meetings” or “He was a wonderful father”?

17) And the last: leave on time.

Is this suitable only for founders and managers or also for developers and programmers?
By the way, the opposite position of Nigel Marsh, who claims that achieving a balance between work and life is quite simple when you have no work.

Also popular now: