Work Life Balance

Here’s What 16 CEOs, Startup Founders & Entrepreneurs Say About Work-Life Balance

June 3, 2019

Maintaining a work-life balance is quite difficult. It’s even more difficult when you’re a startup founder of a rising billion dollar company or a CEO of a multi-national conglomerate.

From Facebook to Tumblr, Amazon to Coca Cola, here’s what 16 CEOs, startup founders and entrepreneurs say about work-life balance.

David Karp

Founder & CEO at Tumblr

Sleep is precious to me. I’m very disappointed if I don’t go to bed before midnight. We have a rule: no laptops in the bedroom. Being on computers all the time makes me feel gross.

Ev Williams

Founder & CEO at Medium

Take care of yourself: When you don’t sleep, eat crap, don’t exercise, and are living off adrenaline for too long, your performance suffers. Your decisions suffer. Your company suffers. Love those close to you: Failure of your company is not failure in life. Failure in your relationship is.

Sheryl Sandberg

Chief Operating Officer at Facebook

I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I’m home for dinner with my kids at 6:00, and interestingly, I’ve been doing that since I had kids. I did that when I was at Google, I did that here, and I would say it’s not until the last year, two years, that I’m brave enough to talk about it publicly.

Jack Dorsey

Co-founder & CEO of Twitter / Founder & CEO of Square

All my days are themed. Monday is management. At Square we have a directional meeting, at Twitter we have our opcomm [operating committee] meeting. Tuesday is product, engineering, and design. Wednesday is marketing, growth, and communications. Thursday is partnership and developers. Friday is company and culture. It works in 24-hour blocks.

Arianna Huffington

Founder & CEO at Thrive Global

After my collapse, I made a lot of changes in my life. It’s not about working longer or working harder. It’s about working smarter, and that’s what I’m doing now.

Jeff Weiner

CEO at LinkedIn

Simply put, it’s looking forward to going to work in the morning, and looking forward to coming home at night. The only way I can do this is by practicing compassion in both facets of my life, and not taking anything or anyone for granted.

Jeff Bezos

Founder, Chairman, CEO & President at Amazon

I get asked about work-life balance all the time. And my view is, that’s a debilitating phrase because it implies there’s a strict trade-off. And the reality is, if I am happy at home, I come into the office with tremendous energy. And if I am happy at work, I come home with tremendous energy. It actually is a circle; it’s not a balance.

Kevin Systrom

Founder of Instagram

I do, however, think ‘work/life balance’ in a startup is a myth. Inherent in the term is an assumption that work and life are diametrically opposed. I actually think some of my best moments in life have been while I was with people from Instagram – whether it’s super late nights getting a release out or being able to travel to places I’d never visited and meeting some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

Alexis Ohanian

Co-Founder & Executive Chairman of Reddit

This idea that unless you are suffering, grinding, working every hour of every day, you’re not working hard enough. This is one of the most toxic, dangerous things in tech right now.

Mary Barra

Chairwoman & CEO of General Motors Company

I’ll say ‘the meeting starts at 4:30 and this is going to end at 5:30 because I’m making my child’s sporting event.’ Everyone then says ‘okay, let’s be efficient, let’s get this done.

Derek Sivers

Founder of CD Baby

Do something for love, and something for money. Don’t try to make one thing satisfy your entire life. In practice, then, each half of your life becomes a remedy for the other. You get paid and get stability for part of your day, but then need creative time for expression.

Ginni Rometty

Chairman, President & CEO of IBM

I make time to exercise. I think it’s got a lot to do with your ability to manage properly and stay focused. There’s no doubt about that.

Mark Zuckerberg

Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO of Facebook

I make time to exercise. It’s not being indulgent. I think it’s got a lot to do with your ability to manage properly and stay focused. There’s no doubt about that.

Marissa Mayer

Co-Founder of Lumi Labs

Avoiding burnout isn’t about getting three square meals or eight hours of sleep. It’s not even necessarily about getting time at home. I have a theory that burnout is about resentment. And you beat it by knowing what it is you’re giving up that makes you resentful.

James Quincey

President & CEO, The Coca-Cola Company

Family plays a critical role in the professional growth of an individual. As important it is to enjoy work, it is equally important to enjoy quality time with family and thereby the need for work-life balance. After all, it is very rare to find successful executives with an unhappy family life.

Marc Benioff

Chairman & CEO of Salesforce

I believe a balanced life is essential, and I try to make sure that all of our employees know that and live that way. It’s crucial to me as a manager that I help ensure that our employees are as successful as our customers and partners.

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