Startup Dad

04 Apr 2011

I have a 4.5 month-old daughter and she has taught me a few thing over the last few months. A lots changed after her arrival but the best part is that I feel I am being much more productive as well as spending time with the family.

Her schedule is still a bit erratic so waking up once or twice a night is normal for now. Though, I finally roll out of bed around 6:30am and spend time with her till about 8am (sometimes it is earlier). Between this time I check my mail and social updates (Twitter/ Facebook) on my iPhone. It is a quick way to filter out stuff and keep the emails that I want to get to later. Before she arrived I would spend endless hours on social networks, check my mail quite a few times a day and feel compel to reply immediately. Dad, nothing is that urgent as you make it out to be.

Once she is back in bed around 8am I log on and get some work done before I get ready and head to the office around 10:30am. My office time is reserved for the important stuff — talking to the developers, discussing issues, checking-in to see how our accounts are doing, planning our next move, discussing analytics and getting updates from the team. Earlier, I would work on multiple things and have a hard time prioritizing since in a startup there is a butt-load that needs to be done and somehow everything seems important. Dad, why don’t you prioritize more strictly and only get 1–2 things accomplished in the day. Why don’t you ask yourself — “what accomplishment will make me happy at the end of the day?”

I am back home in the evening anytime between 6–7pm and hang out with her till she is off to bed anytime between 9–11pm. Sometimes if she is napping I either catch up with the others in the family or fire up the iPad to get some reading done. Other times we either meet friends or just catch up on a movie at home. We rarely stay out late at night anymore. Dad, being disciplined about your time is great. This way your energy levels will be up and you can spend more time with me.

I am spending less time ‘in’ my business and probably spending more time ‘on’ it. Though I sometimes do feel guilty of ‘working’ less. Maybe I am working smarter since I don’t want to sacrifice family time for being on the Web.

Besides the above here are a few additional behavioural changes that might help you if you are nurturing two babies…

Reading Articles: use Instapaper to save all articles that you come across or friends send you. Then, when you have time go through them. You don’t have to read everything. Just the ones that matter. You won’t fail if you miss out on a few.

Facebook/ Twitter: good between tasks or while you are traveling. Unless you are a social media marketer, I don’t see why you would want to spend a cummulative time of more than 30 minutes daily.

Watching startup videos: nurturing a business means learning from others. Mind you, there is a ton of stuff out there that promise to make you smarter. I came across Mixergy and thought “wow, I could learn from others”. In the end, I just didn’t have time to sit through the videos — which were btw, amazing. What I do now is to go through the RSS feed for Mixergy and save videos to Radbox for later viewing. I’ll check them out maybe on a flight or something. But for now, not viewing them is not going to make me dummer.

Emails: I am still guilty of checking my emails multiple times a day and more so often on my phone. My travel time to the office is 20 minutes so I try to get most of the emails knocked out before I reach the office. I don’t care about zero inbox anymore as long as work get done, I have replied to important mails and stuff has been delegated. Maybe, on a weekend I will sit with a beer and empty out the inbox.

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