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Revisit: How Do I Achieve Work-Life Balance?

Episode #578

Do you have a hard time balancing your priorities?

Are you making sure to spend quality time with your family?

Do you respect your wife’s opinion while making a plan?

And do you still have time left for yourself, despite your busy schedule at work?

Today we’re discussing some “best practices” on how to execute your priorities in life. Be versatile in implementing your plans and always give it your best shot – because you can do greater things in life.

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Doug Holt  0:00  

What I found, Tim, was I can get 80% plus of the results I wanted out of my workday with just those two hours. And that was a paradigm shift for me. We talked about work-life balance, which frees up a lot of time.

Tim Matthews  0:17  

Welcome to another episode of The Powerful Man show. I am Tim Matthews. And you are with the one and only Mr. Doug Holt.

How are you, Doug? 

Doug Holt  0:28  

Tim, I’m doing fantastic, man. How are you doing?

Tim Matthews  0:33  

Very well,  indeed. So I want to dive straight into this because this is something that I struggled with for a long time. I like to think that I have improved on this topic. I don’t think there’s any kind of completion, but I’m interested in hearing your take on it because you’re a man who lives with a great deal of flexibility and freedom. I don’t think if I’ve ever asked you this question and just keep on a bit of a cliffhanger as to what is also something that is one of the main problems for the men we work with have the Facebook group Activation Method. And one of the questions in there, when the men apply to become a member, is the biggest problem they are struggling with right now? And I would say this question I’m about to ask you, is the exact response or at least 90% of the men report as their problem? And that is: How do you achieve a work-life balance?

Doug Holt  1:36  

All right, so how many days do we have for this podcast?

No, it can be done simply, right? It’s a quest for a lot of people rather than necessarily an achievement. And the reason that people look at my lifestyle and see it as work-life balance is that I work on it, right? I make sure it’s a priority and to give credit where credit is done. Tim, you’re the one that at one point called me out and said: “Hey, look, send me a screenshot of your calendar.”

Right? And that was during a time when I started to go back into hustle mode, and I started a new business. And I was working on getting this up. And if I recall correctly, this is about a year ago, you had looked at me, and he said: “Hey, look, you’re grinding again, show me your calendar.” 

And I was like, “Oh, crap.” So that’s one thing. And what we teach to The Powerful Man is the use of the coil, which you also came up with. What I do is I look at two things. I look at roles in my life, like what roles I play business owner, husband, father, son, and the roles I’m playing in my life? And how important are those roles to me? Now, I’ll come back to that in a minute. Because you must know the roles that you play and how important those roles are. Then I look at categories in my life. Now we all have different categories, and we teach them slightly differently over time. But I look at it as a holistic area of my life because I know at one point running multiple businesses, playing competitive sports, and just being an all-around social person, things can get out of balance quickly; they can shift from just work to play and how do you find that that balance where your work is going well, but your health is going down? That’s a really common one for business people. 

But vice versa, for a lot of other people. It could be Hey, their bodies bang in, everything else is going good, but their work is failing or relationships. So the way that I do it, Tim, is I categorize it, and mind-body, soul, relationships, business, then I’ll see fun wealth and growth. So those are the eight categories that work for me. Now, when you and I coach people, we use different methodologies depending on the person, and we use The Powerful Man methodology. Then we evolve depending on if the people graduate that program, Right? And they can get more in-depth into the structure. So then what I’m going to do, Tim is I’m going to list those out, as well as my roles. 

And I’m going to make sure that they fit into my calendar. For example, when I sent you my calendar, I remember, at one point, I’m complaining that I’m gaining weight, right? Here I am, I’ve got 18 degrees and fitness, right? 18 degrees and certifications. And here I am gaining weight and getting sloths like me, right? So somebody else maybe not, but to me, I’m getting there. And so when you said, Hey, Doug, send me a screenshot of your calendar. That’s why I went, “Oh, crap.” Because what I noticed right away is I had deleted my workouts from my calendar, right? And so I could add more things in more business things, and that’s how you can get out of balance very quickly. 

It’s a slippery slope that happens very fast. So you can use you listing out these categories, and what do you want in these categories? What’s important for you to have, they don’t have to be tasks. They could just be even time. Right? So it could be, it could be in your body and your health, right? Are you setting aside time in your calendar? If Tim calls you up and says, “Hey, send me your calendar, send me a screenshot.” I love that adage, “Show me your calendar, and I’ll show you your priorities.” Right? We talked about the bank account as well. 

But show me your calendar, and I’ll show your priorities; if you’re finding yourself out of balance is because you have prioritized other things over the balanced lifestyle, right? You have something that’s out of balance, and it’s out of balance, most likely in your calendar. And you can look at that pretty quickly. Another example of something that I do is I actually, and this may sound robotic. Tim, but I calendar out relationship time, connection time with my wife and my son, I calendar it out. Now I can move and drop and move that around the time, right? Instead of 8 am. It becomes noon or becomes at 6 pm. That’s okay, but I do not delete that time. 

Out of my calendar, there’s always that connection time. There’s time I set for relationships; I call it to ping P-I-N-G. That’s just my terminology. But during that time, I’m reaching out to old and new friends. And so each day I have that. So I know relationships in the area of relationships, which I’ve struggled with in the past. Running multiple businesses, you think something has to give, that’s what everybody used to tell you. And if you actually look up, right? Everybody’s done this, and you put your head down, you grind it out, you’re supposed to work. And then a year or two later, you look up, you’re like: “Where are my friends? Where are these people? They don’t know me anymore.” And so I’ve made a conscious decision to make sure that I check in with them and make sure that they’re okay. 

Especially we look at things like Anthony Bourdain, committing suicide or Kate Spade, and those are just celebrities that have come up in the news recently, as we’re recording this. Still, you think about all these other people that we know that might be going through a hard time, and I could tell you how bad I would feel if I know that I was my selfishness just sitting by but not just reaching out to them to see how they’re doing would affect me. That’s a real quick and dirty kind of 10 minutes or whatever five minutes wherever that was. That’s how long I start doing it. You’ll show me your calendar, and I’ll show you your priorities. How do you achieve balance is by looking at all those sections wherever those sections are to you and those rules in your life and are those in your calendar.

Tim Matthews  7:31  

I love that. I’m a big believer in the calendar, obviously why I asked you, and it’s so simple, isn’t it? It’s so simple, and the place is also overlooked when many of the men that come into The Activation Method. One of the reasons they resist the calendar is that they want to resist the structure, but simultaneously, as you and I both know, that’s the key. But here’s something that I think is such an amazing facet to include in this conversation. So you know your priorities, you put them in a calendar, you have your relationship time. Achieving a work-life balance, in my opinion, often goes towards feeling fulfilled, then the real question is, how do I feel fulfilled and happy, isn’t it? That’s kind of like the real question,

Doug Holt  8:25  


Tim Matthews  8:26  

How do you then make sure that those items in your calendar don’t always become something? And sometimes something to be?

Doug Holt  8:41  

Great question again, we could go on for hours about these to do a deep dive. I’m going to try to condense it as quickly as I can. So you said something very poignant that I think people should realize and this is something again, that I struggled with, and if you’ve listened to this show for any length of time, you’re going to hear me say that a lot because I struggled with a lot, I was stoic, kind of more on the very much the alpha side, like, I’m just going to go through and push through anything. And I can still call upon that, but with calendars, right? With schedules, I saw that as an imposition on my freedom. 

Ugh, structure, I’m an entrepreneur, I’m an adventurer, I don’t want structure. But what I found is within that structure creates freedom, creates pleasure, right? It allows me to play with masculine and feminine energy simultaneously with the structure’s creative energy. So what I found is when I’m calendaring those things out that I want to do, that I desire to do, that’s when it doesn’t become just a thing to do.

Now, are their times when I look at my calendar, I’m like, “Ah, I don’t want to reach out to 10 people today.”,  “I just don’t want to do it. I’m tired.” My son, who’s one year old, was up all night like he was the other night, and yeah, those come up. Absolutely. But I can tell you what, it’s the outcome. It’s the outcome that I’m desiring, right? We follow that very simple methodology. BE DO HAVE, right? And we haven’t talked about it in this show. But Tim, I know you’re very familiar with that. First, you are the person, then you do the action, then you get the result. So many people want to get the result, then they’re like: 

“Oh, when I get the result, when I get paid more, then I’ll have x, y, and z a new car, then I can be the man.” 

Or whatever it is. That’s not the way it works. It’s BE, be the man first, DO the work and HAVE the car. Just using that as an example that also goes in with your calendar what you’re doing, right? Be that person that reaches out. I know that when I’m tired, I don’t want to do this show or record or whatever it may be. But I know that serves my greater purpose. My greater purpose that pulls me into it, and energetically over time, you’ll be able to figure out what are drainers and what are fillers? And what do I mean by that? What are those things that are draining you of energy? And what are those things that are filling you up? And if you find that connecting with your partner is draining you, well, that’s a red flag. That’s a major red flag. But note it, if it does repeatedly, really you want to watch it. 

So another example for someone listening to this in the area of relationships, my idea of reaching out to 10 people a day might just sound like: Whoa, I have no interest in that at all. And if they do it, they say, I’m going to do it because Doug and Tim recommended it or Doug recommended I won’t put on your plate Tim, but which I’m not by the way, then they do it and say you do it for a week. And you just notice after the end of every session of you’re reaching out to old friends, it just drains you, just sucks you dry. That’s a drainer; that’s not something you should be doing that is not filling your cup that is not filling you up energetically. You will just know, you’ll be able to figure that out right away. 

When we do these shows, I say every time I wish we would record earlier and here are conversations because there’s such a depth that most people don’t have. But I share with you things like I haven’t slept in a day because my son was up, but I got on the show, and I talked to you, my energy goes through the roof. I love it. I walk away from these recordings just filled to the rim, right? I have energy all the rest of the day. Well, that’s a sign to me that this is something I should be doing more of, not less.

But conversely, if I started doing bookkeeping, Tim, if I started doing my bookkeeping, I’d be sleeping here on the ground right now. I just wouldn’t be able to make it through. And, again, that’s a sign of something that I get to either change the way I do it or move forward on to something else.

Tim Matthews  12:54  

Wow, such a great point. Such a great point. And I think one of the key things to add there is flexibility. One of the things that we talk about a lot in The Activation Method is being focused on “The what and the why” and flowing with the how; I know that one of the mistakes that I used to make and a common mistake, a lot of them that we work with, is they get married to the how, and they get married to doing what they said they’re going to do, because if they don’t follow through with what they said, they’re going to follow through with, then they feel like a failure. 

But things change; what if you have mapped out an entire strategy that’s going to go on for a few months, things may change. So it’s about being able to pivot, and another thing that feeds into this, in my opinion, is the pace of life that you live with. Because if you live too fast and too hard, it is very difficult for you to be able to have space in your life to reflect and realize that: “oh, this doesn’t feel quite right, so I’m going to pivot and change direction.”  And just be able to have flexibility with yourself without beating yourself up and have been focused on “The what and the why’s” he still gets a sled chief the outcome that you desire has been a game-changer for me. It’s been such a game-changer for many of them we work with because it instantly relieves the pressure; one of the things that causes a lot of stress for them is their plates become so full of things that used to be a yes. 

Then they are now a “know,” but old definitions of what it means to be a man and be successful persevere and hustle and grind that our pride. They don’t want to just surrender and say that there is a Draenor; it’s no longer a filler. So I’m going to get rid of that. I’m going to either eliminate, automate, or delegate was one of the things we talked about. And I think it’s such a key element to be mindful of the pace of life you live with. If you’re living too fast, without a schedule rushing from one thing to another without having any actual time segments infer certain things with an order aware of what is the outcome that you wanted to get, then you get lost in the “how” and everything becomes something to do. While everything is something to do, you’re living in your head, and it’s very difficult and damn near impossible for you to feel anything apart from typically fear, to be honest.

Doug Holt  15:49  


Tim Matthews  15:50  

And like I said, how to achieve work-life balance? In my opinion, the real question is, how do I experience fulfillment and happiness which comes from achieving in all areas of my life? And part of it is down to the scheduling and the tactics and know reviewing the actual tasks you’re doing in your day. The other side of it, in my opinion, is looking at the energy in which you are operating, and the space that you’re coming from. Because if you just try to one without the other, it’ll just never work.

Doug Holt  16:25  

You’re 100% correct. And you stole the thing I was going to add on, right there’s dang it. I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older and that energy flow is everything. I use certain things like the word “fill you up,” you’re 100% correct. Is your energy, how your energy is going to tell you what that means to you. Now, many people want to say that they want a lot of great friendships, right? But when they hang out with their friends, when they come back from a guy’s trip or whatever it may be, they’re drained. That’s a sign. You need to remember we’re always changing. Tim, you and I, and people listening, we’re not the same people we were ten years ago, a week ago, if we’re growing, right? If you’re even listening to just this show and doing those things we’re putting forth, you are a new person. Right? 

You’re different. You and I were talking about this offline to some of the men is your significant others changed since you’ve married them, or since you started dating them, they’re different the things that you probably or may have thought they’re a bit had opinions about, whether it be politics, religion, relationships, what you do and how you act. They change and evolve as well, and so do we. And so sticking to that calendar and keep adding on it, you don’t have to do that to achieve a work-life balance. Start with the outcomes first. Again, I would say start with the outcomes in those categories. 

So you have a balance. And balanced to you might be different, right? Tim is training for a triathlon at the moment; he’s going to be competing at a very high level. And his balance, so to speak in the area of health he’s going to be putting in more time than, say an executive who is in great shape who just wants to maintain, and that’s okay. They don’t all have to be equal pieces of a pie. And I think that’s a common mistake that people think of like, “Oh, if I need balance, and so I got ten things to work all these things, relationships, wealth, these ten areas, and I got, each of them gets 10%.”

No, that’s not balancing. That’s not really what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about balance in the terms that you are adding enough to fill you up and those you care about, of course, but fill your cup up enough that you’re not just retreating to one area you feel secure in. And frequently, let’s just call it out of business, right? From most of us high achieving men, especially, and women listening to this. High achievers tend to turn to business often, especially men because it’s an area we get significance in; we also can get the connection in that area. It’s an area we compete in, and we do it out of fear. 

Frankly, there’s a lot of fear of scarcity, and we turn to business to try to fill that void. And so that’s another thing to consider. If I look at your calendar and see that you’re getting up at 6 am to be the first man to work, you’re not the office; you’re not leaving till 6 pm every day. There’s a problem. And I run six companies, and I don’t work nearly as much as I used to when I only own one because there are efficiencies in those systems. There’s a mindset that gets to play in there. And I think often people miss that.

Tim Matthews  19:50  


Doug Holt  19:55  

Hey guys, I want to interrupt this episode because I wanted to talk to you about how almost 300 men are already taking control of their lives, their 4X in their business revenues, and they’re having more connected intimate sex using The Activation Method, all without sacrificing their relationships, or their health. Now, this is only an 11-minute case study we put together just based on all the feedback we’ve gotten from your listeners. To get the case study, all you have to do is go over to https://www.thepowerfulman.com/bonus/, so that’s https://www.thepowerfulman.com/bonus/; you can get that case study right now. It’s short; it’s right to the point it’s going to give you actionable points that you can take right today. All right, let’s get back to the episode.

Tim Matthews  20:41  

So as you were talking, that was something that was coming to me. Being strong means being able to tolerate less pain. And what I mean by that is, I was speaking to one of the guys in the inner circle about a couple of hours ago before the show, and we were just talking, he was laughing about easy things coming to him. He laughed because he realized the importance of operating the zone and then having everybody within his organization operate in their zone. And when he chooses to operate in his zone, and only dues do what fills him up. The company’s best thing is that it gives the best results, but it also helps him achieve more of a work-life balance, and it feels so easy. And one of the things when you start to operate in that way, a couple of things happen. 

One is it’s a massive, massive act of self-love because you’re putting your needs first and doing it ethically. For the good of the organization, for the good of yourself, for your relationships. So from an egotistical perspective, and it flies in the face of what we’ve been taught to believe a lot, which is to take pride in the struggle, and the more pain that you can tolerate, the more worthy the victory is, rather than happens is you arrive at the destination beaten, battered and bruised. And we both know we speak about this a lot, there’s one destination to journey is the other path to that is to arrive at a smile on your face. And when you’re able to lower your pain threshold and become less tolerant of the amount of pain you have in your life. 

That means that you’ve been in this process of getting rid of those drainers, more and more, and the more you get rid of them. And the more you conversely have the fillers, the more addictive it becomes. And as a result of that, the less pain you then can tolerate. One of the exact things he was saying is wow; I cannot believe how I’ve been telling myself these stories of how it was tough to struggle independently and is a good side to bear the burden of success. I must work hard for this guy who used to work 70 hours a week, 70 hours a week right in various restaurant chains and got a hotel, and got one of his other businesses. There is a successful guy with poignant figures in his community. Even him having the awareness and the realization that: “wow, I don’t have to work this hard, it’s okay for it to be easy.” And that’s the kind of mindset that he’s retraining himself with. In terms of achieving work-life balance is reaping the rewards in all areas of his life.

Doug Holt  23:59  

That’s beautiful, and so Tim with that you’re talking about not tolerating pain as much. Do you think that when we talk about the work-life balance ratio and obviously, people need to figure out what that means for them? That’s a whole other conversation. But do you think that people dive in? We’re talking about men here. Let’s just talk about men that men dive into tolerating more pain due to not having a work-life balance, or do you think that they don’t have work-life balance; therefore, they accept more pain? It’s a chicken or the egg question.

Tim Matthews  24:40  

So I think I love the men I have worked with, you spoke about this a while ago, and they have become the man of the hour today by default. It’s been a very unconscious decision for them to be experiencing a life that they have currently got what I mean by that is, yes, they’re consciously been driven to achieve. But what they don’t realize is they’ve been driven to achieve at all costs to prove their worth as a man. And part of that means then tolerating pain and doing whatever it takes and persevering, and pushing, and grinding, and hustling, and false in, and smashing out obstacles, and taking pride in the struggle, all those things. And I don’t believe they’ve ever had a great deal of balance in their life ever since starting in work, and as a result of all the fear that’s been driving their behavior has meant that they have put their needs last they’re not used to putting their needs first. 

You’re not used to being happy. They’ve just been taught to suppress emotion and suppress feelings. Many of the fields have been suppressed to start with typically heavier ones like sadness, anger, shame, guilt, all those things. But if you block in those, you’re going to block happiness and excitement and all the light ones too. So chicken and the egg. Many of them don’t even consider work-life balance until it becomes a real pain in life. At which point they’re just done or stuck out on that hamster wheel of hustle, afraid to get off it because it does that mean I’m going to lose everything? Does that mean that shit not to want my business? A lot of question marks there further out there but ultimately, which is a little bit of a segue. Still, ultimately a lot of what are the things in my opinion that you get to become aware of and work on to achieve a work-life balance is your self-love because if you don’t have that self-love if you don’t prioritize your needs first, then are you ever going to get that work-life balance?

Doug Holt  27:08  

So true, and the journey that all of us get to go on more often is self-love and coming in there and making sure that we’re taking care of ourselves. So one of the things that you mentioned is that when it comes to my, I’m thinking of, if I’m a man, listening to this, I’m not going to associate a business owner or an executive or somebody at a high level of management. And I’m listening to this, and I think okay, this is great. I got my categories and listed this out. I agree with everything Tim says, but I got a lot of work to do. I’m just going to have a lot of work to do, like every day and, and I know the man you’re speaking of, and in similar conversation earlier, of course, we’ll mention his name, but I’ve got a lot to do. 

There’s a lot that has to be done. Then there’s bookkeeping, and I got a look at the managers I got this, this this this. So, one thing I was thinking of as a takeaway that some of these men can do right now, right after this recording, perhaps for this recording is, and you and I have spoken about this, and I got this from somebody else’s, what would happen if you got injured, right? This happens all the time. It happened to me, Tim, where I was, I was somewhere I was at a pool, someone that would be fine to push me in the pool, but actually flipped me over and I smacked my head, cracked my skull open, and I was out. I couldn’t work 40 hours a week or whatever; I can only really do a couple of hours a week. 

I was getting in while I was recovering. It was a life or death situation for me. But that came out of this question of what if I said something would happen to you. And then we can pose this to you and I back and forth. But what if you could only work two hours a day? That was it; you’re limited. Things happen in life, guys, and it’s unfortunate, but we all know people it’s happened too. And I’m sure we can all think of somebody and see an unfortunate part, we bury that in the bottom of our consciousness because we don’t want to think about it. But what if you could only work two hours a day? What would you do? What are the items that you would do to significantly move the needle in your business? Or what you’re doing? And to maintain your job to maintain the performance that’s going on two hours a day? What would you do? Now, once you’ve written that out and be serious about it, once you’ve written that out of these are the things to do. And this was a hard exercise for me to do. 

When I first did it, gosh, what, 15 years ago, maybe at this point, maybe not quite as long and writing this out of what are those things that I would do? And then looking at it? And then, of course, the next question, which I know you’re laughing at, and Tim and I can see each other via video right now. So it’s kind of funny, is why aren’t you doing those? Why aren’t those in the first two hours of your day? Because if you’re like me, and you list these out, you only have two hours. And I kind of already gave you the punch line, which is harder to do. 

But you’ve listed these things out, and you only have two hours, if you take this exercise seriously, like really seriously, you’re not going to get that third hour, you got two what I found, Tim was, I could get kind of the Pareto principle as I can get 80% plus of the results I wanted, out of my workday, with just those two hours. And some of that was delegating. Some of that was training staff. But most of the things that I was doing that were significant to the business outcomes that I wanted only took a few hours for me to do. And that was a paradigm shift for me. We talked about work-life balance, that frees up a lot of time; you can still work and still grow your business if you choose to. But if your excuse is you don’t have the time. That’s just bullshit. And I’m going to call that out right now.

Tim Matthews  31:03  

And then it becomes a question of, “Fuck, what do I do with all this time I’ve got free?”

Doug Holt  31:12  

And now there’s that.

Tim Matthews  31:14  

And now becomes, Oh, wow. Retraining yourself to live a different pace of life or start a business. Whatever it is, but yeah, it’s amazing. It’s such an amazing question. I have not heard that for such a long time. I’m really glad that I could answer it. When you’re asking in my mind, I knew the answer, then I did think well, why would I work it off?

Doug Holt  31:47  

Well, you and I have to call it your zone of genius, right?

Tim Matthews  31:50  


Doug Holt  31:50  

That’s what you and I are talking back and forth. It’s, hey, I’m setting aside time to be in my zone of genius, but it’s a similar idea, you’ve transcended that level. And now it’s just a different label for you to do.

Tim Matthews  32:04  


Doug Holt  32:04  

And then after that two hours, it becomes play in your business. Not that two hours isn’t playing because it can be right. But the rest of the day should you choose to keep working, can be played, it can be creative play as if this a great thing about me having a one-year-old son is that’s his life, eat, sleep, play. And now, I can take that same attitude to my business life and take it to my relationships. I take a lot of vacations and a lot of trips with my family and things like that. But if I can do that, but now I can also play in my business. So if I choose to work 6 8 12 hours a day, and I get that two hours are done. The rest is play for me. And that’s amazing. 

Tim Matthews  32:53  

Wow. I never knew that the question would go all these different directions. There have been so many nuggets. What I love about this particular episode is we’ve spoken very much about the internal and external other way tools, tips, techniques that are practical and you can use, and then also some of the internal aspects that you may be driving your behavior that you may not have realized or considered, and are ski, too. So I’m really glad to ask the question. I mean, I’ve personally taken all away from this conversation. So thank you very much.

Doug Holt  33:30  

Yeah, thank you. I mean, I always take a lot from our conversations. And your presence alone always leaves me a better man, and I appreciate you. But what is something else, and I would like to ask the people listening to this to reach out to us, let us know what you get from these conversations. Let us know what you can add as well. I’ll speak for Tim that we’re always learning. We’re on that path we have been for a very long time. So I want to know I encourage you to reach out and don’t be shy. Reach out. And let us know what you got from this talk, this conversation. And if there’s something you’d like to add, let us know. 

Tim Matthews  34:07  

Yeah, for sure. And just a gentle reminder, you might want to head over to The Activation Method Facebook group. That’s where Doug and I are very active. We’ve got a private community of business owners and businessmen, and we share our trade-ins there every week. So if you want to become more involved with Doug and I in The Powerful Man, please head over there and check it out. And yeah, it’s an absolute honor to deliver these shows to you guys weekly.

Doug Holt  34:35  

Absolutely. Well, Tim, thank you so much again; I just can’t emphasize enough how much I appreciate these conversations. 

Tim Matthews  34:44  


Doug Holt  34:46  

Alright, everyone, have a fantastic week, and we’ll see you again soon.