How I find balance — December 2014

How Steve Parker balances his career and family life.

Steve Parker, 50, founder and managing partner, Parker Prins Lebano, Ottawa

My karate training has always played a large role in keeping me balanced. I’ve been doing it since 1973 and got my 5th degree black belt in 2010. I teach every day at noon at the Ottawa Chito-Kai Karate School, which I co-own and is attached to our offices. The daily routine reduces physical and mental stress, keeps me calm, boosts energy and helps me be more productive with my time. I always ensure that my wife and I, and two boys when they’re home from university, enjoy quality time regardless of how busy I am.

I work 40 to 45 hours a week except in tax season. Then, it’s about 70. I delegate tasks to my staff of about 20 who also get to benefit from a daily fitness or karate class, flexible hours, four weeks’ vacation, maternity/ paternity leave top-ups and limited overtime.

At home, I outsource yard maintenance and the big household projects. When the boys were growing up, we had a cleaning person, but now, I wash dishes, do laundry, cut the grass, do some meal preparation, routine house cleaning, and it’s my job to feed the cat every morning before I leave at 8:15.

I spend a significant amount of time with my family. We like NHL and CFL games, movies — including chick flicks — shopping, restaurants, cottage time and vacations. Even during tax season, I take my wife out at least twice a week.

My persistent karate training, reliable staff at both our Ottawa and Toronto offices and our financial success have all contributed to a satisfying work-life balance since I started this firm in 1996. My very supportive wife deserves a lot of credit too.

— As told to Lorie Murdoch