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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.

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?

Why I will never work more than 40 hours a week

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In today’s society being a workaholic is esteemed. People that burn the midnight oil to get a project done wear their accomplishment as a badge of honor, but is it really an accomplishment? How is working MORE something we should aspire to? If you are putting in more hours at the office you are putting in less time with family, friends, and exercising. Something we all need to stay healthy.

Now let me clarify this. I’m not saying I NEVER work more than 40 hours a week, because there are certainly times where that is necessary, but it’s not the norm. Family, friends, and life are far more important than any amount of work you can do at the office, or building a business, even if that project can cure cancer. Time spent working comes at a cost, many times that is neglected relationships and/or personal health. Below are eight reasons why I chose not to overwork myself, in pictures.

 

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Camping

My daughter Abby at 8 months.

 Weekend rock climbing trips with my wife and daughter.

 

Town Lake - Austtin

Town Lake from the Lamar St. pedestrian bridge.

Running Town Lake with my daughter. Every other weekend we go on an 11 mile run around the lake.

Galveston Sea Wall Biking

Family biking weekend along the Galveston Sea Wall

 Weekend bike rides at the beach with my wife and daughter.

 

Fun photo at a friend's wedding.

Fun photo at a friend’s wedding.

 Date nights with my wife.

 

Baby Swing

Abby, enjoying the swing. Once she’s in, it’s hard to get her out.

Play time with my daughter.

 

Cactus Rose Ultramarathon

45.5 miles into a 50 mile race, and happy as a clam! Had I been working too much I wouldn’t have been able to train for this race, TWICE!

 Trail races, by myself, and sometimes with family.

 

Kristy and at Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Kristy and at Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Breathtaking views of the mountains.

 

Day of the Dead Festival that we randomly stumbled into during a family walk.

Day of the Dead Festival that we randomly stumbled into during a family walk.

Impromptu , family fun times.

Even if you don’t have a family; overworking only causes you stress and to miss out on more important things in life – people! Even if you do something for a living that you absolutely love (like myself), burning the midnight oil just to grow faster or get ahead always comes at a cost.

If you struggle to get lots done in an eight hour day I would suggest trying the KanBan system for prioritizing and organizing work. Since implementing this system my productivity has gone up significantly, thus leaving me more time to spend with family and do other things I love.

A post of thanks…

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A post of thanks…

Me, Kristy, and Abby.

Just thought I would take a quick moment to write out some things I am thankful for….

  1. My new Church, All Saints
  2. My LOVELY wife and newborn daughter. I feel so blessed to have a family of my own. Just over two years ago I married my wife, and this past September we had our first child. Abby, though challenging at times is full of joy and happiness.
  3. I love my job. Having started Bearded Brothers almost two years ago, I can honestly say I love what I do. I haven’t had a case of the Monday’s since I left full time employment at a traditional job. I love sharing healthy organic snacks with the masses! I get to combine my passion for healthy eating and fitness with my business.
  4. Mentors I admire, but have never met: Dan Miller, the man who first inspired me to go out there and find my “dream job”, though I thought that would be traditional employment at first, I later found out that I was called to start my own business. Dave Ramsey, for inspiring me to excellence in my business. I’m also thankful for Kent Julian, my career coach, who also inspired me to excellence and helped me realize my true potential.
  5. I’m also thankful for physical health, that allows me to do things like rock climbing, cycling, and completing a 50 mile Ultramarathon.

There are MANY other things I have to be thankful for, these are just a few.

What are you thankful for?