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Notes from the offices of Mizzen+Main

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Work Can Wait - Ryan Kent, President of Mizzen+Main


As President of Mizzen+Main, Ryan Kent knows a thing or two about staying comfortable at work. But as the leader of an ever-growing company, stepping away from the office isn’t always easy. 

We asked Ryan what he does to turn work off, and his answer? Running.

MM: Why do you prioritize stepping away from work?

RK: When I find the time to work out, I feel so much better. I don’t ever remember thinking about work during exercise. Exercise energizes me. Wednesday at noon. That’s when I run. I leave the office, run, and come back to work.

MM: What keeps you from going for a run? 

RK: I have to be intentional about other activities to avoid getting pulled back into work. If it’s unscheduled, it’s not getting done. I have to find things to do away from work and then commit to getting them on the calendar.

MM: What’s the biggest challenge you face in prioritizing time to step away and recharge?

RK: I don’t want to look back and feel like I didn’t do everything possible to support the people I work with. I want people to feel like I’m available to them. If someone asks for something from me by a certain time, that deadline may be really important to them. So, I don’t want to be selfish and say, ‘Well, I have to go on a run.’ That’s the struggle. What if my response to their request determines whether they want to stay at Mizzen or not? That’s always difficult to make the correct judgment.

MM: How do you think technology impacts our ability to take a break?

RK: We live in a world with the constant expectation of availability. Phone, email, and social media put us in a cycle of always being on. It’s a social construct that we’ve engineered. The expectation that I’m always available makes planning ahead pointless. If I’m always on, I don’t have to be disciplined. I just follow whatever process I’m dropped into.

But at the end of the day, the benefits of personal time are never constrained within the time limits of the activity. So, I think it’s worth it.