Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #19

Ryan Rutan: wow, stay longer, work harder. Sleepless sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice, sound familiar. Yeah, the startup founders, we've all gone through periods where this felt necessary. When does it end today on the startup therapy podcast, we'll talk about what you can do to balance life and startup and why it's actually really beneficial for you and your startup to do. So this is Ryan Rutan from startups dot com, back for another episode of the startups therapy podcast, joined again by Wil Schroder will, This is a big one, man, this is something that I think a lot of our audience probably struggles with. I know you and I have both struggled and continue to struggle trying to find that that unicorn called work life balance,

Wil Schroter: it doesn't exist,

Ryan Rutan: I'm writing

Wil Schroter: it right now bro doesn't exist. Uh no, I mean like man, like I always put it like this, like whenever I talk about work life balance with um with my friends and most of you know founders and what have you, a lot of them are constantly looking at me like, like I have two heads, they're like, what do you mean work life? Like come on man, this thing requires like every waking hour, like where are you just hanging out on a beach balancing your laptop on your knee while drinking pina coladas while you're drinking pina coladas in this scenario, I'm not sure and just like hanging out and watching your startup grow like crazy in what world does that exist? Yeah,

Ryan Rutan: well, oddly enough I had a pina colada last night um but only because of the sales pitch, we went for a very different type of drink, but the guy told us that he had the second best pina colada in the entire world. It turned out that was a lie. It wasn't. So that was so that obviously my first question, like, well dude, who's the first best? Because because I had just been, you know, a couple years ago, my wife and I went to Puerto rico where the pina colada was invented. We went to the hotel bar where it was invented and so you know, we felt like maybe that was the best one. He's like, I actually don't know. I just say that because it sounds more credible than saying I have the first best. I'm like, all right, well I'm gonna try it anyways. Yes, that was my work life balance for yesterday, so I managed the pina colada part of it.

Wil Schroter: Oh no, actually, it's funny because if you want to talk about work life balance and if the balance looks like I'm going to work all day and then drown my sorrows in booze. Yes, I've achieved that work life balance for many. That's

Ryan Rutan: not what it

Wil Schroter: means. Yeah, I know. And and I would not recommend that. So I think it's a two fold problem. I think half the problem is that everyone thinks that everyone else hasn't figured out right. You know the old facebook myth, Everybody on facebook is killing it right? Except and then the other half is I don't really know what the hell that balance looks like. I, I just literally don't understand how a startup could consume every waking hour and yet everyone else doesn't need those hours, right? Like I need all of them. I need to be marketing and raising money and trying to hire people like where is everyone else finding all this time, right? Like don't they need to get stuff done too? And so presumably, yeah, I I think that the question comes in, is this all just bullshit, right? Is this is the work life balance thing? Just kind of a myth, right? And and and and Ryan, I've got to ask you because you've been on the other side of it, You've been on the work every waking hour and then you've been on the um, you know, try to find a true balance partially because, you know, all of us had to, when we started having families, where has it been a true myth for you? I mean, we'll get into where it's worked, but let's first talk about for you, you know, where has it become an actual myth? Like Yeah, that's just not gonna happen.

Ryan Rutan: Yes, I think it becomes a myth for me where you look at it like this set it and forget it thing, like I have now figured out how to be 60% work and 40% everything that's not work related. I don't think it's consistent over time. I think that, you know when and we'll talk about my, my slight twist on, on work life balance that I call work life blend a little bit later. But I think it's a myth that this is something that you sort of can create and then it's just ever present, right? It's just there. Now I've achieved work life balance, nothing will ever upset this balance. And I

Wil Schroter: think that's interesting. Almost like set hours.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, it's like you, you can't do that to me. The, if I, if I were to look at it slightly differently and say, you know what, instead of what is what about it is untrue and say, what about it is true for me that the true part for me is not having a consistent balance, like to some degree that almost actually does, it does sound boring to me. I don't need that. I don't need this. You know, I work from seven in the morning until five o'clock at night and then I stop and then you know what it means to me is having the ability within my work and my life outside of work To make the decision to switch between the two when I want to prioritize something right? So if, if I am, you know, in the middle of, of, you know, I'm, I'm on page three of, of, of what I know needs to be five of some content writing and one of my kids runs into the room with a skinned knee. Work life balance means I can stop what I'm doing in that moment. I can re prioritize my time for a couple of minutes. I can handle the the bloody knee and then I can go back to writing the bloody article, right? So for me, it's about being able to balance as needed, right? And I think that's, I think it's an important distinction. I think a lot of people are trying to say compartmentalize, but they're using the word balance and I think they're very, very different things.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. Look, I mean, I think for for most of us, you know, as as entrepreneurs, as founders ourselves, we're okay with the work like crazy part of it, but that's not really what we're talking about. Like I'm not willing to work hard, we're talking about running ourselves into the ground Right? Um, you know, where for a lot of us work life balance is and how do I get my startup to only cost 30 hours a week worth of my time like that, that probably never going to happen, right? What we're saying is often how do we get the start up to a point where it's not consuming every ounce of my energy right now, we're just everything I do every thought I have just doesn't tear away. I mean, you know where this thing is just eating me from the inside. Yeah.

Ryan Rutan: And I think we have to recognize that it's, it's a, there's a diminishing return to that and, and sort of at any point I want to react to something you said, which is how do we get the start up to a point where it doesn't consume all of our time. I'd argue that having done this a number of times now that you, it's always at that point, it started at that point, you can start at that point, you can choose not to let it consume all of your time. You know, startups like a fire, It will eat whatever you feed it, right? But also like a fire. You can bank that sucker overnight. You can let it, you can let it cool overnight and you can, you can bring it back to life the next morning with little kindling. And so I think that what is hard for first time founders early founders is knowing that it's okay. And not, not only that, it's that it's okay. There's actually a huge benefit to not burning yourself out. Right. And, and I think that's, Yeah, because that's, it's a big one. So I know you've done this to yourself repeatedly. I think last week was the last time this happened. Why don't you dig in on that? Don't you dig in on why don't you dig in on what burnout looks like.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, okay. So you know what I love right now in the, in kind of the headlines right now. You've got folks like Jack Ma saying like, you know, I want to push for 100 hour work week kind of thing. So you got folks on the far end or Elon musk saying, you know, nothing great ever got done in less than 80 hours a week. I actually don't disagree with them. I want to put that out there. I'm not I'm not suggesting that we have to work that much, but but I don't want to overshoot the fact that this ship is hard and I don't see any version in all the different startups I've done over the years where I could have done it in dramatically less time where I just spent too much time. However, the

Ryan Rutan: four hour workweek for startups, right? Doesn't exist

Wil Schroter: for that, right? Yeah. Not gonna happen. However, what I would say is missing from that side of the argument is the inclination that all of those hours work the same, right? And that's the mistake I made for decades, right? Was I thought that if I've got 16 hours a day, I'm willing to work, then that's 16 hours worth of unit production. It's not right. So, I did this exercise years back because I was so frustrated with with how I felt like no matter how much time I put in, I was still getting kind of the same results, right? It's what I did was I hopped on a spreadsheet, and I just did a list of everything that I did throughout the day kind of time sheet style, yep. And I did it and I think 15 million increments, nothing crazy and it wasn't terribly scientific to be honest. I was just diligent with it for a couple of weeks and all I was trying to do was just to see where the hell's my day going right. And what I did was at the end of a couple of weeks, I took my little spreadsheet and I, and I combined it with the things that I actually got done in those two weeks, right? And here's what was really fascinating, kind of changed my outlook altogether. It turned out that on any given day I only had like two hours of true productive time, like holy sh it, I got something done kind of time, right? The rest of the time I was doing stuff, but not the way that I thought I was doing stuff, not the way that Elon musk is talking about getting stuff done right. Here's what kinda happened. I found that between the hours of about seven a.m. To 10 a.m. I, I got any important things I was going to get done, got done during those times. Not intentionally, by the way, I didn't set those times aside that just happened to be consistently where maybe I did my best writing, my best product development, my best decision making, my best ideation always just happened to happen. I didn't even know that was true until I did this. Then I started to look at, well, funk, I'm at work till midnight, right? What the hell was I doing for like the next 12 hours, right? Turns out, turns out That the stuff that I do for the next 12 hours or did wasn't necessarily busywork, but it was work that could be compounded in, in constrained right? In other words, I was working for 12 hours because I was at work for 12 hours, not because I had to get shipped done within 12 hours and, and, and Ryan, you'll appreciate this. The reason I was able to test that was the moment my daughter was born, right? Because for the first time in my life I had to be home by a certain time right before I, I like I didn't really care right. You know, like I just come home at midnight every night and I just assumed that was fine and I assumed everybody else did. It was totally wrong. But All of a sudden, you know, I had to be there for dinner and so I had to be home by 6:00. So I didn't have the choice to, to run any longer than six o'clock. So again, let's, let's go back to my little schedule of events, My little time sheet, right, doesn't matter because all the stuff that I'm getting done. Like all the value stuff happens by 10 o'clock, right? Everything I was going to do after 10:00 generally could have been compressed, I could have got it done half the time. The only reason it took longer is because I hung out longer and that blew my mind. Yeah, that's exactly right. Yeah

Ryan Rutan: right? You'll you'll end up filling the time. I mean there's like there's there's no end to the amount of time that the startup can consume, there is a limit on to what it actually needs to consume right? And and there there is right and so at least in terms of making steady progress, like there will never be an end to it, you can always write another article, you can always re analyze your, your google ad spend, there will never be an end to it. But I would argue that most of us aren't good enough at mapping the exact inputs that create the exact desired outputs that we need for success. If we were we would spend a lot, a lot less time working but we're not that good and figure out exactly what needs to happen to drive just those optimal results. Now there's always gonna be some inefficiency and how you spend your time. So I'm not saying like, oh we'll just dial it down to only the hours of your most efficient but be at least aware and cognizant of the fact that there are hours in the day that you're spending now that are not achieving results commensurate with the time that you're putting in there is a reason basketball games aren't eight hours long. Like you can only expand your best energy for a period of time.

Wil Schroter: We'll stick with that because part of what you're talking about, what you're talking about here is justifying spending less time. That's what I was doing, right? I was saying, look, man, like I'm spending 14 to 16 hours a day working and I have been for decades. I'd like to not do that, but I need to justify to myself why that's okay because I can't work that life balance part in unless I'm comfortable that I'm justified in doing it right.

Ryan Rutan: That's it's a huge piece of it permission to even to even feel this way is a big stumbling block for a lot of us,

Wil Schroter: right? It's it's not that we have all this free time. We don't know what to do with it. That's the least of our problems. It's we don't feel we don't feel confident that spending less time can be done without consequence. Hence the justification, right? We we don't know where and how to make that cut off right. Again, mine was forced upon me. I I hate to call going home to my child, you know, forced upon me. But the truth is, you know, I'm not proud of this fact, but until my daughter was born until I had to come home because I, you know, I don't want to be a shitty parent, I didn't have any regulator. That's right. My wife at the time, you know, before we had kids, I was like, dude, come home whenever you want, don't care, right? You know, in retrospect, maybe I should have bothered me, but I'm

Ryan Rutan: having a fine time without you sir.

Wil Schroter: Um, no, but seriously? Like, so I think that justification is a big part of it in. It's worth saying Ryan, you and me and Elliot and some of other folks here at startups, do we not have this conversation weekly about like how to justify some time off?

Ryan Rutan: We do we, we, we have it all the time and we repeat it and I think that is important. I think that you have to keep bringing this conversation to the forefront. Otherwise it fades. I think that when it's apparent to your partners, to your team, at your staff, to whoever the opinions you're worried about, You know, or whoever those folks are that you might look at and say like, Gosh, if I, if I'm not here 18 hours a day who's going to be looking at me and saying I'm not keeping up my end of the bargain. I think it's important to hear from them and have an agreement with all those folks that like, look, it is justifiable to make space in life for life, right? That, you know, work is super important. The stuff we're doing is super important, but that we need that space too. So it's, it's a recurring conversation for us.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, I agree. And I think that if we're the only person we have to answer to, you know, kind of solo founder etcetera, it's still hard to make that justification, right? Because we believe that if we take our hands off the wheel for long enough things are going to break and, and honestly, that's not always wrong. Right? Again, I want to point out that, you know, it's the

Ryan Rutan: long enough, right?

Wil Schroter: But

Ryan Rutan: exactly

Wil Schroter: where we screw ourselves, where we don't even give ourselves the chance to get this work life balance is we believe that every hour absolutely is accounted for in a positive way. Now here's where I'm going to try to counterbalance that that is, that could even be true if you were to totally ignore the fact that you work better when you're better arrested, Right? Which is kind of hard to miss that one. Right? And so a lot of what we talked about, you know, internally now at startups is, uh, we always use, you know, video game analogies or in this case role playing game analogies, but like, you know, how do you get more hit points back right, right? Every day? You know, we're killing ourselves, we shouldn't be, but we are and and we're grinding ourselves down, right? What can we do to kind of get some of that time back and Ryan a couple of weeks ago, you were saying that you took like a week long vacation and you came back and you're like, dude, I forgot like how much capability I had, right? Yeah, yeah.

Ryan Rutan: It's, it's amazing how, because you get, it doesn't take long to get used to your new normal. Right? And you talked about, you know, the, we were worried about taking our hand off the wheel because bad things can happen. We should also be really worried about driving while too tired, right? And it's a real thing and you know, and it ended up not even being a full week. That was what was so mind blowing about it. Um, and I was, I was doing some stuff that was really for me, stressful and time consuming and just energy depleting leading up to that. I had a conference that monday that I spoke at and then Tuesday we took off for, for the lake and we ended up only spending 3.5 days there. But when I came back then on friday, I felt amazing right? I

Wil Schroter: had a full

Ryan Rutan: battery, had a full battery, I was ready to tackle stuff that was in front of me that I guarantee in that friday I crushed out more work than I would have gotten done had I been there all week at the energy level that I would have been operating at on Tuesday morning because I was absolutely drained.

Wil Schroter: So let's let's let's consolidate a couple of points because I think this is important for folks that are listening and they're saying, hey man, some stuff kind of feels like it applies to me. I just want to recap some specific points Point # one, is that every hour of your day of our day is not the same, right? You, you invariably have a peak performance part of your day, which, which implies that you have a ship performance part of your day, right? At the very least we want to help justify taking some time off during the ship performance of your day, right? Even if even if you hate time off, even if you're, if you're Jack ma's body clone, right? Like you know, even if you hate time off, you have to be able to admit, I have to be able to admit that there is a ship part of my day, right? So if I'm going to scrape away anything to start to get some of this work life balance, at least I can target what that might look like, right. Right second. If that's true, I also have to recognize that I need enough hit points. I need enough energy and stamina in order to really perform at my best during the peak times of the day. So if I take away from those hip points while I'm in my ship times of the day, I'm actually doing myself even bigger to service. I'm doing crap work during that time of the day and I'm not getting my best work done during the rest of the day. And you know what? There's another piece of this, which is The difference between being at 110% capacity vs being 90% capacity is night and day, right? In other words, if you're burning all the gas out of the system at 110%, you are so overly exhausted. You're not sleeping well, you're not performing well. You're not thinking well that the, the small amount of time it may take could be a couple of hours in a day In order to get down to 90 has a dramatic effect on the rest of your performance and I don't think people really qualify that

Ryan Rutan: There. You know, it's, it's absolutely true and I have found over the years there are certain types of tasks that I am only capable of when I'm near the 100% mark right, where I have this almost like manic level of energy and excitement and then I can perform certain types of tasks like new content creation and I'm building something I need to be in that mindset. Um, and energy level where I'm like, I'm just, everything is firing right Right. Whereas if I'm going to analyze, if I'm going to analyze an adwords campaign and I'm just looking at data and making sense of it now. I can't be, it can't be at 25% because then my process is not running fast enough to keep up with the analysis but I don't have to be at my peak energy level to do that type of work. And so um you know kind of like when you did the analysis around around your workday, I've done the same thing and I figured out that you know there are certain times of day where certain types of activities make a lot more sense. I was laughing when when you were going through that and you were saying you know my sort of golden period like 7-10 AM. And I was thinking about how much my golden period has changed over the years.

Wil Schroter: Like

Ryan Rutan: 66 like 6 to 10. Used to be like I love like the early morning nobody else is around, nobody else is awake. I can just kind of like do my thing. And then we had a newborn and I've had three of those in my life so far. I can tell you that that 6 to 10 a.m. Period post newborn is not the golden period at all right? So it's it's interesting but you have to reevaluate this all the time. Kind of like I was saying at the top of the discussion that this notion of work life balance is not something that you simply build as a construct and then live within its going to change because your life is going to change and the business is going to change and so reevaluating is really, really important.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. And so again, part of what we're talking about here at a foundational level is just trying to, to rationalize to yourself that the time that all time isn't created equal and that you're going to have to free up some amount of time. But if you're a manic entrepreneur, like we are at least giving yourself a justification while freeing up that time and creating the life part of the work life balance will actually make you better at your job. I say this because particularly among founders, we're not as zen as we'd like to be right, we're not like, well I'll just live a happier life if I spend more time on the life part of it, isn't that what life is about? Like Yeah, we all actually know that we can intellectualize that, but actually putting that into practice is damn near impossible. So what I've found is the only way I can get to the work life balance part Is to 100% rationalize why that's the best way for me to perform and then get get anxious when I'm starting to burn into later hours, which I know we're going to cost me more productive hours tomorrow, right? Is that the best way to go. Probably not right, It's probably just another version of my anxiety or what have you that I'm dealing with but holy sh it

Ryan Rutan: got the job.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, it's a rationalization

Ryan Rutan: but I tell you,

Wil Schroter: I found a lot of other tips that have worked incredibly well for me um one of them and you know, Ryan, I know you and I have talked about this a lot in the past is what I call it, just the, just get one thing done right and, and I, I could man, I could have a whole show about this, but but short of that, let me give you the kind of the T. L. D. R. Version of this, right? What I found was that on any given day, the more tasks I give myself, the less I complete, right? And so what I've done is I've gotten to into the habit of every day I assign just one thing to do right now, I have sub tasks, I have calls, I need to make things like that, but that's typically not it, what I'm saying is on the drive home tonight, if I only had to say I got one thing done, what is the one thing that I would be a hell yeah, like I got that done, turns out, you know, I started doing this years ago, turns out as soon as I did that I isolated my entire day to one thing, it always got done now. Now contrast that right too long task, list of stuff that often doesn't get done Right. So if if today's one thing was record a podcast with with Ryan, yeah, I have like 90 other things to do today, but when I drive home, this is the one thing that has to get done. Here's why that helps with the work life balance because when I'm driving home or more specifically, when I'm packing my ship to get my car to go home, I'm I'm justified, I'm validated. The one thing got done, I can release myself.

Ryan Rutan: That's right, yep, you've got you've got everything you need to say that, you know, yes, there's more to be done. But I got the one critical thing that I decided yesterday or the day before whenever it was determined, that's what you need to get done, he's done so you can go home feeling at least good. Did that happen? Right? And I think that that's that's so important and you know, even even being able to celebrate that a little bit right? And we've talked about this a lot in in other contexts, but you have to have those little moments because that one task In and of itself probably wasn't that significant, right? Was the one critical thing you need to get done to enable the next 99 things that will follow that that are part of the bigger initiative that needs to actually happen for something really big to celebrate happen, right? But you have to be able to recognize those milestones. I think that's something a lot of people struggle with this goes back to that notion that we're all really good at knowing exactly where we need to spend our time. Um, and so I think a lot of people, rather than spending additional time to figure out what they should be working on, just spend additional time working right with. And it's just, there's a lot of paddling a lot of dust and once the dust settles, nothing's really changed. And I think that that's another great way to justify and, and to validate, taking more time for yourself or at least limiting the amount of time that you're gonna spend in some way on the work side of things or being satisfied with what you've got done because if you can look back and say like, gosh, you know, I've been working my ass off. What did you actually get done? And be really honest, maybe have somebody else walk you through that exercise and say, what did you actually accomplish during this period where you know, you really burn yourself out. I love to dig in with this uh, with, with founders, anybody, anytime somebody man, I've been working like crazy, I'm like, oh wow, really, what, what have you gotten done? Like what's the really cool thing that's happened so many times, there is not a good ending to that story. They're like, yeah man, um, my beard got longer,

Wil Schroter: like, well look, I think it's, it's easy to chest pound about quantity of ours, right? But it's, it's very easy to escape the question of quality of ours, right? We've got, you know, plenty of people on our staff that worked super hard. I've worked with tons of people that have worked super hard. I haven't worked with that many people whose quality of ours is consistently amazing, right? Where they can say I can get done something in an hour that would normally take other people 10 hours, right? When entrepreneur says, like you said, hey, I'm working 16 hours a day, I'm like, cool, tell me exactly what you need to get done in 16 hours that I couldn't get done in an hour. Not because I'm, you know, the flash, not because I'm so much better or faster than you, but because I'm militant about my efficiency, right? And so if it takes you four hours to write an article, could it take 45 minutes as the article? You know, is is that the targeted article two broad is, is you're planning, you know around outlining to shitty, you know, whatever it might be. My point is, if you're saying I have to take 16 hours a day, there's no other way I'm at maximum efficiency. First off, I call bullshit. Second off, I would say you may have eight hours a day you're spending where your efficiency is so low, you would be better off doing literally anything else, but working and I

Ryan Rutan: was getting ready to say like you might be in the wrong job for this, right? Like if you're that inefficient at doing something, maybe think about doing something else, right, Whether that's just the, you know, the task, and we talked about this a lot too. There's this, there's this interesting thing that happens within us founders where, you know, we, we like to know that we can take care of ourselves, take care of our companies, right? And so if there's something that we don't know how to do or we're not good at, sometimes we throw extra time at that and I think that as, as we go further in our careers, we realize that's usually not the best way to do that, right? If it's something that you really struggle with rather than try to add skills, their right to go back to your role playing game analogy rather than try to add experience points in that category, focus on what you're really good at, right? If you're a warrior that swings a two handed acts, stop trying to cast spells. It's just, it's gonna drain your energy, You're never gonna be the major, you never need to write, you gotta double handed ax

Wil Schroter: swing it. Um well, okay, so, so look, we agree that that founders get to a place where they can't justify the hours, but let's let's pretend for a second that given some of the techniques we just talked about, we can rationalize a few more hours in the day, that certainly buys us a little more time to do the life things of the work life balance. But Ryan you've schooled me on something that's worked well for you for a long time where you haven't said look, I'm just only gonna take free time at this hour and then work time at these hours. Uh you know, you've been working on this concept of work life blend where you're saying, I'm going to take a little bit of my personal time within my workday, which helps kind of alleviate the stresses that come with nonstop work, can you talk about kind of what first off, how did how did that start to come about? And how has it changed? You know, your life and your approach?

Ryan Rutan: Well, yes, so it goes back to a couple things I said at the top, right? Which is that I think a lot of people say work life balance, but what they mean is compartmentalized, right? But I took it a step further and I said that like even the act of balancing, just think about what balance actually means right? It means it means adding energy to create some level of equilibrium. The whole point in all of this is to not spend that energy right now, I see people who are working hard to develop work life blend or balance rather write that to me, just flies in the face of the whole concept If you're, if you're adding energy to the system to try to balance it, you're taking even more energy now. And so I see people like to spend extra time or they feel like they've, they've created this, this framework right? Where like, okay, now I'm gonna, I'm gonna stop working at this hour, I'm gonna compartmentalize and then they end up feeling really shitty about it, right? Then they go off and they're like, okay, now's the, now's the hour I spend with my, my child and the entire time there with the kids are not present. They're, they're thinking about something else because they didn't get to finish the thing that they, that they wanted to do, but there was something else they felt like they didn't complete, right? And so all they're doing is is there there in one place, physically there somewhere else mentally. Um and that's terrible, right? It's, it's a terrible feeling. And so for me, what I've tried to tried to do and it doesn't always work, I mean, nothing always works, but for me, what became important was to say in any given moment, if I can see that there's an a gross inequity between how I'm spending my time and how I could be, I try to change it right then right? And so it goes back to like if if, if it's a, you know, I plan on, you know, doing, um I plan on writing something or reading something, you know, during my lunch and instead my wife calls and says, hey, would you like to have lunch with me today? And I'm thinking like, okay, is there another time at which I could do that reading or do that writing? Sure. Because there's only one time a day and have lunch with my wife. Right. And only a couple opportunities a week arise for that or even in a month arrives for that. And so I, I do the calculus on that really quickly. And I just try to make it easy on myself and say like, you know, yeah, I can do that. All right. I give myself the permission to do that knowing that because I am a manic entrepreneur who loves to spend his time working that I will come back around and find a way to do the other side of it. I will get the work done. The work will happen, right? The work has a way of invading our thoughts and our lives in a way that life doesn't. I think it's so much easier to defer life than to defer work. We just tend not to, it's in our nature not to defer work, you know, for for founders. For entrepreneurs, biological. Yeah, it's biological, right? There's a reason we're founders, it's because we gravitate towards doing the work that other people won't do, doing the things that people are willing to do. Right? And so for me, I've started to use that as a little bit of of a radar and saying like, look why don't I just even try to say like I'll always try to find a way to make the room for the family because I know the work will make a way for itself, right? So anytime I have this ability to do that, I try to write. And so rather than trying to isolate the two things, I try to make them play together as as best they can. And you know, we're in an enviable position now where we have the ability to do that again. Was this super easy seven years ago when we started? No, not at all. And there were things at the time that forced me to, to take these actions right? We, you and I both had our, our first within a couple of months of each other and we both were then put in that position where it was like, you know, be a shitty dad will be a little less of a manic founder, right? And I think we both made the right choice. Um, we both experienced entrepreneurs and we've both come a long way in this. But for me it wasn't worth the energy of trying to balance things trying to compartmentalize. I'm just saying, let them both try to consume as much of my time as I can and when I'm tired, I go to sleep.

Wil Schroter: You know, I think one of the things we've done well at startups dot com over the years is we've started to kind of unpack and break this mold of everything has to be done within these hours And you know, more of these out, the 9-6 or whatever your window is, if it's not done within these hours then it's not important, life can exist outside of those hours etc. And we've tested all of that, you know, the the whole company, we've got 100 and 71 employees at this point, The whole company is almost exclusively remote. We've got about 30 people in our main office that only come into the Office two days a week. And I gotta tell you as a guy who lived and died by long hours for a very long time and kind of wore that as a badge of honor. Um I'm glad I did it from the standpoint of, I'm sure some of that was time well spent, but I gotta tell you, I was mostly misled, misled by myself. No, I'm not pointing the finger at anybody else because now I've run an A. B test in life of what it could have been like. Had I given myself more flexibility, had I let my, my my life part of my work life balance blend better. And I gotta tell you, I'm more productive now than I've ever been before, right? So I'm really scratching my head like what the funk was I doing, you know, for decades, right? You know, banging my house. Yeah, learning yeah, I had that uh marty McFly moment where I came back to my uh younger self and said, hey, younger self, you should listen to this podcast because you're about to rip through 20 years of your life that you can't get back, right,

Ryan Rutan: and how do I get it on my wall?

Wil Schroter: What's the internet? Um but yeah, man, and, and so I think that this concept that everyone else is, you know, finding work life balance, that I'm not, what's happening is other folks are finding ways to justify time that isn't work. Hopefully in some cases to improve their performance at work, but more likely and more hopefully in other cases to actually just be a bit more happy about this whole process, you know what I mean? Because this, this startup game kind of has a, a tendency to run you through the wringer and heaven forbid you can be the one person that actually builds a company while not totally killing yourself, you know, that would be nice.

Ryan Rutan: That's a wrap for this episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan on behalf of my partner Wil Schroder and all the startups dot com family thanking you for joining us and we hope you'll continue to join us. Be sure to subscribe rate and comment on ITunes or wherever you love to listen to startup therapy, you can find all of our episodes at startups dot com slash podcast. If you're looking for more amazing resources to launch or grow your startup, be sure to head to startups dot com and check out startups unlimited. It's everything we have to offer from our online university to our amazing community of experts and founders and even all the tools we've built like biz plan, fungible and launch rock. It's everything A founder needs visit startups dot com slash begin that startups dot com slash b e G I N. You'll thank me later.

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