How I find balance — November 2015

How surfing helps Todd King balance his career and family life.

Todd King, 45, partner at Collins Barrow Nova Scotia, surfer, pickup hockey player, Cow Bay, NS

I’m in a very busy business. My days are fairly scheduled, often with four or five meetings in one day. I schedule client work for mornings, when I’m more mentally alert, and try to schedule meetings in the afternoon. In a client meeting you have to be on, but when you’re doing work [for those clients], you have to be even more focused.

After being with a Big Four firm for 20 years, I changed my situation to get a better work/life balance. I probably work 60-hour weeks from February to June and closer to 30-hour weeks in the summer. Our firm embraces balance.

I have a wife and two boys, 8 and 10. The boys are always outside, building forts and playing in the woods; we make a concerted effort not to overschedule their lives so they can do that kind of thing. They love to surf, too. Some days they beg me to take them out.

Surfing and just being around the ocean is important, but because the weather is inconsistent, I also play hockey to fuel my competitive fire and to stay in shape, particularly in the winter when I’m not surfing.

I leave gaps in my schedule so if I need to get wet, I can. We probably only get 10 to 20 days with high-quality waves a year. I surf maybe 100 times a year. Ten of those are epic; 20 are really good. The rest of the time I’m staying in shape and making the best of average waves. If the waves are pumping, it’s a real release, but even on average days, it’s good to get out and commune with nature. It’s exercise, so it clears your mind.