In 2012, Jim Buch became the chief executive of Lynx Grills Inc., a Downey manufacturer of premium grills and outdoor kitchen appliances – including a smart grill that talks to you. Prior to Lynx, he was the chief of SunBriteTV, the largest manufacturer of outdoor high-definition TVs. All companies considered, Buch has been a chief executive for almost 34 years. He is also a keynote speaker and business practice leader for the Josephson Institute of Ethics, Los Angeles, where he speaks to Fortune 500 and smaller companies on issues related to building a sustainable and ethical business culture. A second-generation Southern California native, he lives in Palos Verdes with his wife and two children. He teaches scuba diving and advanced diving skills in his spare time. We spoke with Buch about how to disconnect in an always-on world.
Question: Describe your morning routine.
Answer: I get up fairly early, around 5 a.m., and spend time catching up on news and emails. Then I work out. I try to work out at least six days a week for 45 minutes to an hour and I alternate between resistance and cardio every other day. I catch breakfast on the run, so usually I will drink a juice that has fiber and proteins. Then, I am in office between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. every single day.
What’s your day like once you get to the office?
One of the greatest things about being a CEO, and I have been one for different companies for 34 years, is that every day is different. I am deeply involved with every element of the company. There simply is no real pattern to each day, one after the other. My favorite thing of all is to walk out onto the factory floor, to meet our dealers, to travel with the sales people. The best part of work is being with people.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
I think it’s always been hard, and it’s harder today than ever before. We’re connected 24/7 to everything and everybody, and the result is that people get testy if you don’t immediately text back. What I do, which I can’t say will work for everybody, is that when I get home, I disconnect from work. Whatever is going to happen, I will deal with in the morning. I would rather spend an extra thirty minutes at the office than bring it home. When I’m at home, my kids own my schedule. When I’m at work, the company owns my schedule.
How do you make time for your family?
I have a junior in high school and an eighth-grader. When my oldest was born, everyone came up to me and said, “Oh, they grow up so fast: Make the most of it.” So I would say, “How do you make the most of it?” Nobody had the answer. I thought about it and I decided that I want to make memories. That’s how I approach time with them. I want to do special things and create traditions we do as a family. I also have a test that I have developed to calibrate whether or not something is worth spending time on. I imagine I am old and retired in a rocking chair thinking of the top 10 achievements of my career. If the task I’m thinking of isn’t going to be a part of that list, it’s not a priority and family should be.
What do you do when and if you have time to yourself?
I relish my workout time. It’s partially physical and partially mental. Sometimes that means music or a book while working out. That’s the time I have for myself on a daily basis. I also love scuba diving, which is the ultimate way to disconnect because cell phones don’t work underwater.
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