Thursday, October 6, 2016

Tech Savvy: Hacking Your Work-Life Balance

MIT Sloan Management Review, October 6, 2016

by Theodore Kinni

Tech Savvy Work Life BalanceWhen I read CEO memoirs, I always keep an eye out for insights into how people in demanding positions maintain a healthy work-life balance. But when the topic is addressed at all, it’s usually in a dismal admission that life — mainly family life — got the short end of the stick. Happily, Michal Lev-Ram’s Fortune profile of Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith suggests there might be a better way.

Smith has his hands full. The Provo, Utah-based online survey company he helped co-found in 2002 has 1,200 employees and a valuation of more than $1 billion. He and wife Ashley, who has a business of her own, have five kids ranging from 4 months to 8 years old. But he says he keeps it all together by “hacking the integration” of life and work. That means tracking both work and family time.

“Smith continually uses data to inform and guide the way he allocates his time,” explains Lev-Ram. “With the aid of an executive assistant who’s a former statistician, Smith tracks everything from the number of hours he devotes to interviews to how much one-on-one time he spends with each of his children. Ask him how many nights he spent away from home last year, and all he has to do is consult a spreadsheet.” Quarterly, the CEO reviews a colored-coded spreadsheet that summarizes how he spent his time, and then sets new goals and rules for work and life.

Who knows? If Smith keeps it up for another 20 years or so, maybe his CEO memoir won’t be quite as dismal as all the others. Read the rest here.

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