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Netflix co-founder says this weekly ritual keeps him successful: I've done it ‘for over 30 years'

Credit: Paul Riedmiller

Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph's greatest source of pride isn't helping to launch the streaming giant.

Instead, the 66-year-old is proudest of not letting his career success come at the expense of a fulfilling personal and family life, he wrote in a recent post on social media platform X. Randolph credited that balance largely to one ritual: Tuesday night dates with his wife.

"For over 30 years, I had a hard cut-off on Tuesdays," he wrote. "Rain or shine, I left at exactly 5 p.m. and spent the evening with my best friend."

In the post, which Randolph also published on LinkedIn last year, he wrote that the boundary helped him put work in perspective. Clocking out at the same time at least once a week meant he could be present for his family and pursue his other passions outside the office.

"The thing I'm most proud of in my life is not the companies I started," wrote Randolph, who currently sits on a variety of company boards, including Solo Brands. "It's the fact that I was able to start them while staying married to the same woman; having my kids grow up knowing me ... being able to spend time pursuing the other passions in my life."

Randolph's family-prioritizing goal may have helped him succeed professionally, too: Setting boundaries between your work and personal life can prevent burnout, experts say.

But maintaining a work-life balance is easier said than done. Even Randolph hasn't been immune to breaking his own rule, he wrote in a post on Substack in February.

The reality of work-life balance

During the busiest periods of his career, when he was launching companies or working on other large projects, Randolph didn't always have enough time to physically go home, he wrote on Substack.

He broke his own rule while starting Netflix with Reed Hastings in 1997: In the weeks before the business officially launched, he swung home to "scarf down dinner with the family" before going back to work, he wrote.

"The truth is that very few people can achieve balance every day," he wrote. "I certainly can't."

When Randolph couldn't stick to his Tuesday night routines, he tried to make up family time and rest in other ways, he wrote. After Netflix launched, he took time off. Now, he tries "compressing" his week by consistently packing meetings into the same two weekdays, reserving one day for "deep work" and spending more time with his family on other days, he wrote.

Any strict schedule can get thrown off by a last-minute work emergency, but when things are going smoothly, "I earn myself a four-day weekend ... and generally make sure I'm fully decompressed," wrote Randolph.

Billionaire entrepreneur and startup investor Mark Cuban echoed Randolph's statement at a SXSW panel in March. There are periods during your career when you might have to sacrifice date night, especially if you're trying to get a business of the ground, Cuban said.

"If you're an entrepreneur and you're starting your company, you have no work-life balance. Get over it," said Cuban. "[That's] because there's somebody else out there that you're competing with that's trying to kick your ass."

Randolph's takeaway: Strive for balance, but don't beat yourself up if you occasionally fall short. It's impossible to be "exercising, mediating, hustling, focusing, socializing and crushing every presentation, all while eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of sleep" every day, he wrote.

"In the real world, nobody can do that. Not every day at least," Randolph added. "What's important is to figure out your way of finding balance, on whatever schedule you can make work."

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