Answer by Adam Nash, President & CEO of Wealthfront, on Quora

I'm a little nervous about posting this answer. As a first-time CEO, I'm a little afraid that there is a tacit agreement among Silicon Valley CEOs that I'm breaking by speaking honestly here.

The answer is: I mostly spend time with family & friends.

That's not to say that I don't bring work home with me. I personally tend to prefer the "integrated" version of work-life balance, where I will periodically engage with work on evenings & weekends as needed, just as I will periodically engage with personal issues through the week as needed.

That being said, if you did a time analysis on my weekends, you'd see:

  • Kids. Quite a bit of time spent running my kids around. Birthday parties, soccer, baseball, football, etc. Also, it turns out that 25+ years playing Mario and the ability to install Minecraft mods makes me uniquely suited to be a father in the 21st century.
  • Chores & home life. Fixing up things around the house. I tend to love vegetable gardens and fruit trees. It's not unusual to see me planting a new tree, building something around the house, etc. You'll find me at Home Depot. A lot.
  • Friends. If I'm very lucky, friends with their families will stop by on weekends. I'm lucky enough now to have friends who I've known for more than 20 years, and even luckier to have them live in Silicon Valley.
  • Dates. My wife & I are big believers in date nights, and it's not unusual for them to fall on the weekends from time to time. Nothing fancy, but amazing how wonderful a few hours over dinner & drinks can be.
  • Family. I happen to live within a few miles of parents, grandparents, siblings, nephews & nieces. It's a rare weekend that I won't see them.

In terms of work, the most common items that intervene:

  • Recruiting. I'll make time to meet promising engineers & designers who are thinking about joining Wealthfront. Nothing wrong with a weekend coffee.
  • Team Communication. I'll spend time over the weekend communicating with my team, being responsive to their needs. I'm acutely aware that there is a danger at times of becoming the bottleneck.

Being a CEO, in my opinion, means accepting the responsibility that the company depends on you. As a result, there really aren't fixed time boundaries between your professional & personal life.

That being said, we are all human, and I think you'll see that most of the time I spend on weekends is focused on spending time with people. It's the way I recharge, and it's also the way I keep perspective.

Given the number of founders and CEOs of both public and private companies that I see over the weekends doing the same thing, I'm fairly sure I'm not alone. This type of integrated lifestyle is one of the reasons I'm such of fan of Silicon Valley in general.

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Published on: Mar 28, 2015