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How to enjoy Thanksgiving as an entrepreneur  

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Family time on Black Friday

Family time at the park, last Thanksgiving: on Black Friday.

As an entrepreneur you are rarely not working. Even when you are not in front of a computer your mind is always thinking about work, your gears are always churning (thinking of new ideas), and you are likely obsessively checking your phone to monitor social media, your Black Friday sale, and to check email. All of those things can really put a damper on family time around the holidays.

You are likely hard on yourself about taking time off, but Thanksgiving (and the holidays that follow) should be the one time of year that you allow yourself a pass and take some time off to rejuvenate and spend time with loved ones. Being intentional about taking time off will help you recharge so you come back to work refreshed, and your family will appreciate it as well.

Here are some tips to help you enjoy Thanksgiving:

Acknowledge you need to take a break. Chances are you have been working long and hard all year long. You deserve a break, and what better time to take a break than when the rest of the business world slows down a bit? It’s the time of year that most offices close down for at least a day, some take off another day or two to spend with family. You have been working tirelessly, so realize that taking a break is a good thing. A little bit of time off just might be what you needed to go back to work refreshed and with renewed energy. We could all use a little bit of renewed energy, right?

Schedule your Tweets, Facebook posts, and set an email auto responder. The scheduling feature available in Twitter and Facebook will make your life much easier during the Thanksgiving holiday. Having a Black Friday sale? Schedule your Tweets and Facebook posts ahead of time, as well as your email blast. This way your not spending time in front of your computer when you could be sleeping in and spending time with your family. It will also help you avoid distractions such as responding to emails and working on projects. Set auto responders on your email accounts too so your vendors and customers know to expect a delayed response. Chances are they are at home relaxing anyway, so there isn’t much to worry about.

Quarantine your devices. If you don’t have the discipline to leave your phone in your pocket you might want to have a family member put your smart phone in quarantine for the day, or at least for a majority of it. Leave your laptop at home as well if you are traveling. Having your computer readily available will only increase the temptation to work. If you are traveling for an extended period of time and absolutely have to bring the laptop, be sure to set restrictions on how much time you will spend on it each day.

Plan activities. Don’t simply sit around all day. Sure, that sounds relaxing, but you will be numb with boredom and more likely to break our your phone to surf social media or respond to emails. Plan walks with your family, go for a hike if you are near some trails, play a game together. I’m a huge advocate of getting outside, no matter what the activity. Fresh air is good for the soul. Especially for the entrepreneur that spends countless hours behind a computer indoors.

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Thanksgiving is one of the best times of the year to take a step back and relax, as an entrepreneur. A little planning ahead will set your mind at ease and make it easier for you to sit back and relax. I’ve actually come to a point where I look forward to turning off the computer and being out of the office for extended periods of times. It helps me to truly relax, and as a result I return refreshed and ready to move forward full steam.

Four Years of Wedded Bliss

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Today I celebrate four awesome years of marriage to my amazing wife Kristy. In these four years she has been a huge supporter of my entrepreneurial endeavor, we have had two children, and had many great adventures together. She is my precious treasure, my best friend, my encouragement and support in all things. I love hear loads, and look forward to many more years together with her.

One example of how great she is can be seen in the post she wrote on this blog, How to love your entrepreneur.

Keep first things first

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When pursuing any great endeavor, whether it’s starting a business, or volunteering at a local non-profit, you must remember to keep first thing first.

The first things I’m referring to are not responsibilities related to your work. First things are your family, your friends, your health, and overall sense of well being.

An absent father, mother, husband, wife, is neglecting their primary and most important duties joys in life. I can tell you from experience working 50-60 hours a week on a regular basis is NOT necessary to start a business. Sure, there is a time and a place, but as the norm; well, that should never be the norm for anybody.

Your personal health, family, and even hobbies are ultimately more important than any business you might start or job you might take with a company. If you keep first things first, everything else will just fall into place (see Parkinson’s Law).

Fatherpreneurship, six tips for being a great business owner and father

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First of all I’m super excited to announce the birth of my son Joshua. He was born on Friday, May 16 at 3:44 p.m. He weighted 10lbs 9oz. My wife is a super woman, and has done something infinitely harder than any Ultra Marathon I will ever run.

Hello, World!

Hello, World!

The birth of Joshua got me thinking a lot about how much of a privilege it is to have a family and be an entrepreneur. Running your own business essentially allows you to set your own schedule so that you can have more time with family.

Here are six tips for being an awesome father and entrepreneur. For some entrepreneurs, this might not be easy, but I can tell you from personal experience these things work, and are totally worth it. It will strengthen your relationship with your kids, and your spouse.

1. Don’t make 50-60 hour workweeks the norm. Limit your workweeks to 40 hours or less on a normal week. If you do find yourself needing extra hours to get things done, wake up early in the morning to complete those tasks, rather than cutting into family time in the evening.

2. Establish a work cut off time. For me this is typically 5pm, but I sometimes take calls until 6pm because of time zone differences. Once I’m home, that time is family time. I even have my phone scheduled to enter do not disturb mode every day at 6pm, and it stays that way until 7am the next day.

3. The home life is your sanctuary. Guard the time you have with your family in the evening. Resist checking email, and don’t check social media. I admit these are actually hard ones fore me to be consistent with, but when I do I find the time with my daughter and newborn son much more rich, and my wife appreciates it A LOT as well.

4. Take your kids along for the ride. We all have hobbies, so include them in your hobbies with you. I love running and rock climbing, so I try to take my daughter on a run with me at least once a week, and I bring her to the crag to go climbing whenever I can. The running actually ends up giving my wife a break from taking care of the little one, and the trips to the crag give the entire family time to bond. Sure, your training plans are going to look different with a little one in tow, but sharing the joys you have with your children are far more important than setting a new PR in your next race.

5. Stop being selfish. Just as you have to focus on the needs of your team to have a successful business, you have to focus on the needs of your family to have a rocking family life. If you focus less on yourself and more on your little ones and wife, life will be much more rich.

6. Get your work life organized. If you struggle working 50-60 hours a week, chances are you are not working efficiently, and are wasting lots of time. The most valuable thing you can do for yourself and your family is to get organized so that you can peacefully leave work at the end of each day and be devoted to family time. I highly recommend the KanBan system for organization, as well as reading Getting Things Done by David Allen.

Being overworked sucks! Being in control of your work and spending time with your family is awesome. How do you manage running a business and carving out quality time with your family?

Male Nesting – There are no Full Moons In Our Home

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Pregnant wife, about to pop

Kristy, 39 weeks pregnant, and ready to have the baby!

If you have been pregnant yourself, are married and have kids, or are close to somebody that has kids, you have likely heard of nesting. It’s the time the mom-to-be suddenly realizes her baby is coming soon and gains enormous boosts of energy in order to prepare the home for the arrival of the new life.

For many moms this period of time is spent cleaning, preparing the baby’s room, organizing baby cloths, and getting EVERYTHING possible ready for the child to be as comfortable as possible when she comes home.

When I had my first child I never really experienced any nesting tendencies, but with this pregnancy things are quite different. I have had several nesting tendencies of my own this go round. In the past couple weeks I have been in male nesting mode, getting ready for the arrival of my first son!

Here is how I have been, “nesting.”

My wife loves to refer to me as her wolf. Anytime I leave stuff lying around the house, or leave dishes unwashed, she says I’m “wolfing out.” Well, there have been no full moons in our home these past couple weeks. Dad has been on top of things like a fat kid on a cupcake!

Anytime I come home from work with a pile of stuff, I immediately put it in its place. I also put my shoes in their proper home (the closet) rather than right next to the entry door. I have even been keeping the kitchen clean, something I’m normally really bad about.

On top of helping around the house, I have also cleaned both of our cars, and installed the car seat. I think this is where it all started. Kristy requested I clean both of our cars, but it didn’t stop with a hose down and a vacuum. I got out the automotive cloths and Armor All and went to town! I have even been KEEPING my car clean, which is the vehicle we are using to bring home our son. I’m normally notorious for leaving things in the car, saying I will get it next time, but of course next time always becomes, NEXT TIME.

Inbox Zero

Inbox Zero. It is possible!

An increased level of productivity at work has also been a result of my nesting frenzy. In anticipation of taking a week off to be with my wife and son I have been a busy beaver. I have even achieved the infamous “Inbox Zero.” Which is something I used to just scoff at. I recently read David Allen’s, Getting Things Done, which is another contributing factor to increased productivity and nesting like tendencies, but ultimately the near arrival of my son has sent me into overdrive to ensure a stress free time away from work. I won’t be able to rest unless I know what has and hasn’t been taken care of.

I currently feel unstoppable. I have really been enjoying this nesting frenzy. So if you have something you want done, you might want to ask me to do it for you before the oven timer goes off: because after that you won’t be able to reach me for an entire week.

Are you a male that has experienced nesting? Do you know another guy who has? Please share your experience in the comments.