Balancing the Grind with Albert Ong, Managing Director at Tinkery

Albert Ong is the Managing Director at Tinkery, an online store and supplier for mechatronic and product prototyping kits to makerspaces, tinkerers, and students.

Learn about the daily routines from the most successful people in the world by signing up to our newsletter

To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I started my career working as an Educator and Research Assistant at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) when I started my undergraduate studies there and teaching across four faculties.  

I later worked as a Technology Consultant at Accenture in eHealth systems, and later worked back at UTS as a manager for a robotics facility, and an Associate Lecturer for Transdisciplinary Innovation. 

I worked as an engineering consultant for mechanical and mechatronic systems, specialising in emerging technologies such as wireless sensor networks, cybernetics, and mechanical/mechatronic artworks.

Currently I am the founder of Tinkery, an EdTech startup and Product Studio.  I also casually lecture and teach at UTS across a range of areas, including innovation processes and management (including Design Thinking), entrepreneurship, smart product design, prototyping, engineering design and topology optimization, and technology futures. 

I also run public workshops and lectures on eTextiles, digital fabrication, futures, and sustainability through technology.

What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

My day starts around 5:30-6AM.  Work for me starts around 7AM.

I would check for emails either first thing in the morning, just before lunch, and before I wrap up for the day. Work during the day depends on the activities I have planned, and these could be meetings with prospective customers or investors, preparing for public workshops and lectures, or building technology.

What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

To myself, work-life balance means to have a good state of physical and mental wellbeing whilst getting everything in my day. I achieve this through a number of methods, including timeboxing, keeping a schedule, and planning ahead what I want to do for a week. I also have a mental health check-in on the weekend to keep track of my personal goals and values, and I stay connected with my mentor fortnightly.

Step up your corporate retreat game with Midstay! Our packages offer working-ready venues, perfect for goal-setting, brainstorming and team-building. Book now and let Midstay handle the rest, while you focus on valuable bonding time with your team.

In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Yes.  One of those routines is a coffee first thing in the morning.  I used to do this to wake myself up in the morning, but found it does leave me feeling jittery.

Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I am an avid biohacker and maker, so it is important that I stay both up to date with emerging scientific developments and technologies that could pave the way for betterment of future generations. 

In terms of podcasts, I often listen to StarTalk (Science and Pop Culture, hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson), the Passive Income Project (financial freedom, planning and perspective), and audio books.

In terms of books, one that stuck with me was Innovate the Pixar Way. I am also reading Solve Problems that Matter by Ben Pecotich (a good friend of mine).

If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

I would love to read a work-life balance by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Not only would this be filled with scientific research, but it is interesting to see how he juggles between a podcast/show, being the Director for the National Planetarium in New York, and his research and literary works.

Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

From my years of being an entrepreneur and polymath, the most important thing I’ve learned is to be intentional with everything and anything that I do. 

It is often pouted in my profession that work-life balance is a myth for entrepreneurs. Although it is true that you need to achieve more in the timeframe for your business to succeed, not taking the time to take care of your body and mental health leads to burnout. The only way I have found to be able to do that is to be intentional: identify personal values, set goals, and plan ahead.

Before you go…

If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.