Henry Kaestner, co-founder and executive chairman of Bandwidth.com, is a good model for how to think about balance.
Bandwidth.com was the fourth-fastest growing privately held company in the country from 2003 through 2007. Kaestner, who served as CEO from 2001 through 2008, spoke on balance at a WorkMatters event.
“Even in our high-growth time, we made it a priority to be at home for family dinnertime and kids’ bedtime,” he said. “And once a week my wife and I had a date night – no distractions.”
So how did he manage this even with a high-growth company?
“We wanted to compete and win, so after the kids were in bed we’d dial back in and work until it was finished,” he said. “But we made sure to be there during those crucial evening hours.”
We will all experience times when we have to flex up or down in certain areas of life. But using Kaestner’s example, we have to work to find a rhythm that will enable us to be present and faithful at home, where we are needed most.
Make time to rest and reflect. We are made to work, but work is not all there is. Making time to rest from our work honors God as God (and not work as god!) and restores perspective to our work and life.
Here are some helpful tips for pursuing a manageable work-life balance:
- Set appropriate limits. Regardless of the demands of your job, you have to decide what your limits will be. Maybe it’s a choice to be home for dinner and bedtime. Maybe it’s turning off your cell phone on Sunday afternoon. Whatever it is, think critically about what is required of you in your work and how you can set appropriate limits so that you are not a slave to your work.
- Understand what is required of you in each of your roles. The demands within each role will change. A new job requires more time. Some jobs have seasonality year-to-year. Family demands change as children go through different life stages. You have to understand clearly what is required and plan to be faithful there. This will mean saying no to some “good” things.
- Align frequently with your spouse and loved ones. Have a Sunday night meeting to communicate and get aligned on the week ahead. Once a month, look ahead at the next 4-5 weekends to make sure you’re investing time in the appropriate places. A little planning goes a long way in ensuring that you’re present where you need to be.
Pursuing work-life balance is most certainly a journey, not a destination that constantly evolves. We hope these tips help you as you continue to pursue God’s will in your career.