The weekend rituals that keep 4 Boston tech founders sane — and productive

by Justine Hofherr
September 13, 2017

What’s a normal weekend like for some of the most productive tech founders in Boston? The answer might shock you. While you might imagine hours spent on strategy sessions or emails, it’s actually a lot more...restful. Here’s what four local founders had to say.

ellevation
Photo via Ellevation Education

Ellevation Education CEO and co-founder Jordan Meranus loves running his Boston edtech startup, which provides ESL administrative and data management tools for teachers. But it can also be a lot of work. Here’s how Meranus unwinds.

What's your weekend routine like?

Saturday is my day to relax and recharge. My wife and I have three children and a great community of friends and enjoy (and need) to exercise regularly. While I am not sure it rises to the level of routine, on most Saturdays I try to have breakfast with my children, attend as many of their events and games as possible, get to the gym or out for a ride and spend time with friends. I tend to do very little work on Saturdays.

Sunday is more of the same with the exception that I make time for work both to take advantage of some quiet time to do some planning or writing, and to get prepared so that I hit the ground running Monday morning. On most Sundays, I also try to send an email to everyone in the company to keep people informed of progress, updates and important strategic matters.

Why is it helpful for you to keep that routine?

It is both great fun and a real privilege to lead Ellevation. In my role I put a real premium on spending time with folks from across the organization at all levels and in different states. Similar to so many others, this means that my days, and my nights after the family goes to sleep, are extremely full. Taking time for my family and friends on the weekend helps me to maintain a sense of balance and to get recharged to begin each week excited and inspired. I also want to make sure that everyone at Ellevation feels connected to our mission and progress. The Sunday night email I send is a great opportunity for me to think about what would be most helpful to share and to make sure I am communicating with the entire team.  

 

docent health
Photo via Docent Health

Docent Health co-founder and CEO Paul Roscoe has a lot on his plate managing a company dedicated to helping healthcare organizations become more consumer-centric. That’s why on weekends it’s important for him to blow off steam through golf, soccer and other activities.

What's your weekend routine like?

The first thing I do when the weekend rolls around is take off my “CEO” hat. I use the weekends to reboot and refresh. I enjoy getting out on the water, onto the golf course and spending time with friends and family. I’ve recently joined a weekend soccer league playing with the New England Evolution every Sunday morning, and now every Monday morning I ask the question, “Why did I do that?” because getting in and out of the car becomes an Everest-level challenge. Some weekends are more structured with events and occasional networking. We have quite a bit of office camaraderie and there is an occasional special weekend Docent event, such as the upcoming Dana Farber Boston Marathon Walk for one of our own, #teamjake. I live near the water and while I enjoy the energy of the Back Bay area where our office is located, it’s nice to get out of the city and enjoy some peace and quiet in order to recharge a bit over the weekend.

Why is it helpful for you to keep that routine?

Just like having a routine during the week makes you productive, having a weekend routine or “protocol” to step away and take personal time is crucial to a productive work week. If you are constantly working 24/7/365 days per year, it’s hard to be 100 percent productive all that time, and I would much rather maintain a weekend routine of stepping away and keeping my energy up for the work week ahead.

 

greathorn
Photo via GreatHorn

GreatHorn CEO and co-founder Kevin O’Brien devotes most of his week to overseeing a cybersecurity startup that helps companies secure their email, chat and collaboration tools from cyberattacks. That’s why weekends are for clearing his head and spending time with loved ones.

What's your weekend routine like?

My weekend routine is a bit iconoclastic: In the summer, I either go to Vermont and go offline at the timber-frame cabin that my wife and I are building (off grid and by hand!) or I step on the mat at the dojo, where I teach and train in Aikido and a handful of other martial arts.

Why is it helpful for you to keep that routine?

Productivity isn't just grinding it out in front of a laptop. The problems we grapple the most with require a bit of perspective to see clearly; stepping back provides that. The answer to many a personnel or strategy question has come when my head was in a completely different space, and that's a luxury weekends afford in a way that the typical working day doesn't.

 

klaviyo
Photo via Klaviyo

Klaviyo co-founder and CEO Andrew Bialecki goes above and beyond helping e-commerce companies create better marketing campaigns. Sometimes, this means startup work slips into the weekends — but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

What's your weekend routine like?

Wake up, build Klaviyo for a few hours, run for a few hours, build Klaviyo for a few more hours, hang out with my wife, Liz, for a few hours, go to bed. Same routine as during the week but a slightly different order.

Why is it helpful for you to keep that routine?

When you love the people you're working with and what you're building, you want to work on it all the time.

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. 

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