Jeff Bezos has a very full plate. One side of that plate is filled with Amazon, Blue Origin and Bezos Expeditions. The other side is filled with his wife, MacKenzie Tuttle, and their three sons and one daughter.
Often asked how he manages his work and life balance, Bezos told Thrive Global, a tech company founded by Arianna Huffington that offers science-based solutions to lower stress and enhance well being and performance, he prefers “work life harmony” rather than work life balance as a good framework from which to operate.
Bezos said, “Work life balance implies ‘some sort of debilitating tradeoff’ whereas work life harmony implies a circle.” Seen as something that is a circular or continuous process, Bezos sees work life harmony as something that “…is worth everybody paying attention to it.”
Mathias Gopfner, CEO of the media group Axel Springer SE in Germany, interviewed Bezos in April 2018 about his work life harmony. Bezos replied, “If I’m happy at work, I’m better at home – a better husband and a better father. And if I’m happy at home, I come into work more energized – a better employee and a better colleague.”
In other words, there is no one or the other for Bezos…there is only one AND the other…Bezos sees everything as additive, everything as cumulative, everything and everyone as enhancing everything and everyone.
Some years ago, Bezos taped the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson about success on his refrigerator door at home so he can read them daily…
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
And, by the way, Bezos believes in getting enough sleep (for him it’s 8 hours/night) so he’s able to make good decisions and good interactions with people. “Making a small number of key decisions is more important than making a large number of smaller decisions…quality is more important than quantity.”