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MSP Balancing Act: Tips to Achieve Work/Life Balance

Datto VP Rob Rae

Work/life balance is a hot topic for everyone that seems to be increasingly on the minds of managed service providers (MSPs) around the globe. In our 2019 State of the MSP Report, we gathered insights from over 1,600 MSPs and found that 38% reported “Work/Life Balance” kept them up at night. We knew we had to dive deeper to understand how to find balance in an industry that often demands constant attention.

We interviewed four partners from the United States, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand to better understand how they find balance. Here are three key tactics they shared that you can consider and implement in your daily routines.

1. Prioritize family time over money, for you and your employees:

Greg Sharp

Paul Franks

“I guess as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that money is not what I should be chasing, all the time…I know. I know. I think what that does, is that allows me to settle down a little bit in my head and be able to physically turn it off when I want to turn it off and be with the family. So for me, what I do for myself, I try to do for the team at ThinkGard. If you want to work from home a little bit, work from home some. Get your job done; that’s fine. If you need to take off a little extra, take off. As long as you don’t abuse the system, that’s fine. We’re not going to really have vacation days or sick days. Just don’t abuse the system.” – Paul Franks, Co-Founder & CEO, ThinkGard and PlanITDR

“Look, shortage of time is definitely a problem and prioritizing the things that matter to you the most. Somehow, been a couple of times, I’ve sat down and written a list, a little diagram of what’s actually important and the things that I want to do…But have a plan to try and achieve some balance by getting some time back for yourself, just being with the people that you love, all the things that you love, all the pastimes that you want to go and do.” – Greg Sharp, Managing Director, Base 2 and Founder of ZenContract

2. Trust your team and let go:

Mitesh Patel

“The key thing is, actually letting go. Letting go was my biggest challenge; I think it’s one of the hardest parts…My non-exec, Peter, said to me once, at the time when we were on that cusp of growth, and we got the big boy management team in, he said to me, ‘You’re allowed one battle a day’…So I came in at 9:00 in the morning, and I spotted something at 9:30 and I thought, ‘Somebody hasn’t done something the way I would have done it.’ So I wanted to go for it. I thought, ‘Hold on a second. Surely something more meaty and more important is going to come up.’ So I waited until 11:30. Same thought process. I thought, ‘No, no. Hold on a second. The work still got done. The grammar wasn’t exactly how I would’ve wrote it, but something else is going to come.’ Slowly, slowly, it got to 6:00pm, and I didn’t have a battle with anyone.” – Mitesh Patel, Managing Director at Fifosys, Founder of Engage Property Technology

“Get some assistance in place with your leadership team, and when there’s one of ‘you’, and then the second person deciding on what tasks need to be done and who’s better at what. Divide and conquer. I’ve got a fantastic leadership team that is across four people. They take care of running the business and delivering the solution, and so I’m there to find new ways for us to service our clients.”Greg Sharp, Managing Director, Base 2 and Founder of ZenContract

3. Step away from the phone:

Vince Tinnirello

“So balance is very important. When my kids are talking, I try to put the phone down. In the old days, it was maybe dad got a work phone call on a landline. Well, I do go to the office, but I also work from home. Well, from my desk to the dinner table, I could get three emails. I’m replying and an eight-year old is talking to me. No more. Put the phone down. That can wait for five minutes… I’m focusing on old-school living in my life right now, going back to how it was when I was a kid; unscheduled time, family time, and not getting distracted by the digital leash of a cell phone.” – Vince Tinnirello, Anchor Network Solutions, Inc.

Finding balance in the ever demanding IT space is not easy, but it’s also not impossible. If you’d like to hear more about how these managed service provider professionals are incorporating more balance into their routines, check out our recent podcast, Finding Balance in a 24/7 Industry.

To find out what other topics are keeping MSPs up at night, check out our 2019 State of the MSP report.


Author Rob Rae is vice president of business development at Datto Inc. Read more Datto blogs here.

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