Balancing work, time with family and friends, travelling, and staying healthy is a big job for anyone, including myself. But somehow, I make time for it all and then some—squeezing in things like teaching and mentoring somewhere in between too. People often ask me how I do it all, and the secret is…
You’ve got to love what you do. Otherwise, none of it will work.
That doesn’t mean you’re always enthusiastic about waking up at 4 AM or looking forward to a late night of work, but it’s crucial to prioritize what’s important to you. I’m someone who thrives on staying busy, so here are some tips for how I deal with the daily chaos without going crazy.
The Power of Routine
Every day looks different for me, but I like to stick to a general routine to start the day. My day begins around 4:30 AM when I get up and read local newspapers and the Wall Street Journal. Then four or five days a week, I’ll head to the gym at around 5:15 AM. My gym specializes in customized fitness programs, so the trainers keep me on my toes with different exercises and circuits. I’ll grab a double espresso from Starbucks after the gym, and once back home, I’ll shower and do anything else I need to prepare for the day. Then my work day starts at around 8 AM with calls and major tasks.
Does anyone like getting up that early in the morning? Maybe, but it’s not a piece of cake—it’s a habit that takes some getting used to. Personally, it feels good rising bright and early to shake off the sleep mentally and physically, and you never really regret a good workout once it’s done.
Take Breaks To Reboot Your Brain
I work through Zoom calls, meetings, and board duties for the rest of the day, and I rarely stay at home in my office. I’m constantly moving around, whether that’s going out for lunch, attending in-person meetings, or grabbing an afternoon coffee and snack. Around midday, my brain needs a rest, and my body needs some exercise, so I’ll usually bike around the neighborhood or find a Starbucks or local cafe to work from.
This routine allows me to function at my best and not feel burned out by being busy. So, find what works for you because structure improves productivity and helps you feel better overall.
Think about it: if you rise every morning and have to make a mountain of decisions throughout the day, there’s no doubt you’ll feel exhausted. If you know what happens next to some degree, your brain can focus on what needs to get done. Structure and routine create that frame for your mind to conquer the day.
Accommodate the Stresses and Strains of Travel
Travelling is also a big part of my life and work, which undoubtedly interrupts my routine. From flying to Seattle to teach at UW, meeting with founders and companies, or speaking at an event, travel takes a lot of energy to keep up with multiple meetings and interact with countless people. All of that, combined with not having the luxury of running on a familiar schedule, means really needing to know what’s important to you and making it possible wherever you are.
A common theme you’ve probably realized about me is my need to incorporate fitness and have a change of scenery. I’ll take advantage of quiet moments during long days of meetings and go for a walk to get fresh air. I like visiting local coffee shops to wake me up, satisfy my sweet tooth, and get some much-needed espresso.
Although the rigors of the road can be rough when you’re travelling a lot, the meetings themselves are always fruitful. Bringing together entire teams makes for productive discussions—I learn something and enjoy all the interactions at the end of the day.
Find the Right Work-Life Balance
I’ll be the first to tell you to work hard, but I’ll also be quick to say that it shouldn’t be all work all the time. I end my work days enjoying time with my wife, and I try not to work on the weekends. I spend my downtime reading, attending football or basketball games, hosting events at home, or mentoring.
To be able to do it all—work, serve on boards, teach, mentor, travel, stay healthy, and have a personal life—you have to pick your battles and spend your energy on what’s needed. If something is interesting to me or I’m trying to accomplish something, I’ll prioritize that because that’s what reenergizes me.
A packed calendar isn’t stressful, just time-consuming. But despite exhaustion, it’s non-negotiable that you always respect people. It’s too easy to snap when you’re busy and drained, but you still need to treat your people well. Being overly sharp is a sign to set boundaries and take a step back.
I said it right in the beginning: You’ve got to love what you do. You can’t add more hours, minutes, or seconds to your day, but you can make time for what matters. Once you figure out where your priorities lie, the balancing act gets easier, and you’re a lot less likely to burn out.
What life tips do you swear by? I’d be interested to hear if any of my experiences inspire or help you out. Find the routine that works for you and listen to what your mind and body need.