Is Work-Life Balance Myth or Reality for Startups? The Answer According to Cronofy
As an experienced, second-time entrepreneur and creator of Cronofy, the API for time, Adam Bird has a few things to say about work-life balance.
“I’m more of a doer rather than a thinker,” says Adam about building Cronofy, which began when he set himself the task of trying to understand the problems many people have with calendar services. What Adam created was a platform solution that enables developers to connect their apps with their customers’ calendars no matter which provider the customer uses.
So how does someone who set out to help better manage other people’s time manage his own? We asked, and he was happy to share!
Do you believe work/life balance can exist when building a startup?
“Absolutely yes,” says Adam, who has a wife and two boys. ”In many ways working from home gives me the flexibility to work when I want,” but, he admits, “just like many people that have long commutes to work or work away from their families during the week, sometimes sacrifices have to be made.”
“[Being a startup] sometimes allows me time in the morning and to make after school concerts…I can’t make them all, but I make a good proportion of them. It’s all about constantly making judgement calls.”
What do you do to relieve or manage stress?
“I used to cycle quite a lot and I want to get back into it because it’s a great way to lose yourself, especially [biking] in the country.” Although other commitments may have taken the place of cycling for the time being, Adam says that it helps to be “self-aware and constantly reflecting on how well you’re performing on tasks.” And “knowing when to take that break when you’re not being productive” is key.
What did you learn about work life balance while in the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator?
“I think the Accelerator pushed my work life balance to the limit, especially because I was commuting 5-6 hours a day to get there - that was a really testing time. It’s not something that was sustainable [for me] long term but the decision I made was that the opportunity was worth the sacrifices.”
Is there any advice you would give about work life balance to a new CEO building a startup?
“Don’t fret. Accept that you’re constantly making value judgements about how you should spend your time. Sometimes you’ll get it right, other times you won’t. Appreciate that you only really notice the times you get it wrong. This is when you feel guilty.’’
Adam adds: ‘’Don’t be afraid to take 10-30 minutes to reset if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. Go for a walk, have a snooze, listen to music, play an instrument, call your loved one - whatever takes you away from what you’re working on right now. You’ll arrive back to it with a fresh perspective and more focused attention. This is something that you have to practice.”
What’s in store for Cronofy in 2015?
“This year we’re really establishing ourselves as the de facto way developers integrate their apps and services into their customers’ lives. We have new customers on board and I think this will be a defining year for us in our aspirations to be that missing layer of the internet.”
We hope you enjoyed these insights from a one of our London Accelerator alumni. Want more? Tweet us with topics you’d like to see covered @MSFTVenturesUK.