athenahealth's Jonathan Bush: 'I have no work-life balance'

Jonathan Bush is never "off-duty," not in his work life or his personal life.

"Case in point: when I took a sabbatical a year ago, I ran a marathon, went to the Olympics and did combat training with the first armored division. And that was in the first two weeks," he wrote on a LinkedIn post.

When it comes to resetting his mind, waning focus and relaxation don't do it for the co-founder and CEO of athenahealth.

Instead, Mr. Bush best resets his brain with hyper-intense focus and concentration on one thing, like flying a plane or sailing. In his day-to-day, Mr. Bush oversees and directs any number of projects at once, "spinning lots and lots of bowls and lots of people under the bowls," he wrote. So when he steps outside of that, he is drawn to such singular activities that still require focus, just all of it at once.

"When flying an airplane, the consequence of lack of focus is death to at least you, if not others. Up in the clouds, I have no trouble letting go of personal woes and business challenges," he wrote. "Sailing is the same…One degree of wind angle can mean the difference between winning and losing, getting home by sunset or not."

At work, multitasking is key. In the air or on the sea, things go step-by-step.

"It doesn't take philosophical depth or emotional resonance to sail or fly a plane," he wrote, adding the laser focus required to fly or sail doesn't permit "emotional and intellectual noise" to permeate his mind. There's plenty of that in the office.

So maybe instead of saying he doesn't have a work-life balance, the time Mr. Bush spends on life outside of work perfectly balances the multifaceted and complex goings on required to be the CEO of a booming tech company.

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