Balancing the Grind with Amantha Imber, Founder of Inventium & Host of How I Work

Dr Amantha Imber is the founder of Inventium, Australia’s leading behavioural science consultancy and host of the How I Work podcast.

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

I trained as an Organisational Psychologist as I’ve always had a passion for helping people be happier and perform better at work – given we spend a third of our waking adult lives there.

I started Inventium, a behavioural science consultancy, nearly 15 years ago because I couldn’t find a workplace that I felt passionate about working for – so plan B was to create one myself.

I now have a team of 10 and we help companies all over the world such as Google, Apple, LEGO, and many others, to do better work – through training them in how to work more productively and solve problems more creatively.

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

The main projects and tasks that I juggle in my role are hosting the How I Work podcast, where I interview some of the world’s most successful people to uncover the tools, hacks and strategies they use to get so much out of their workdays.

I also do a lot of keynote speaking, although that’s almost all now virtual. And I write a lot, for publications like Harvard Business Review, The Australian Financial Review, and Yahoo.

So a typical day for me might involve recording an interview for How I Work, delivering a virtual keynote for a client on productivity, and writing or researching an article.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Inventium is a remote-first organisation. We made the decision to get rid of our Melbourne and Sydney office leases mid last year. I personally love working from home. Once or twice a fortnight, some members of my team will work from my home in Melbourne.

Even though I don’t see my team face-to-face most days like I used to pre-COVID, we are highly collaborative and I still feel super connected to them despite the fact that we all work from home (or cafes, libraries, dessert islands) 100% of the time.

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

It doesn’t mean much to be on a day-to-day level, but across an entire week, it means making time for things I love outside of work.

This includes making time to see family and friends, being 100% present with my daughter Frankie, and making time for reading and pursuing random hobbies (right now, this involves learning some magic tricks).

It also means prioritising health, so every week, without fail, I do 5 x 45 minute gym sessions first thing in the morning.

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

Given it’s really easy to be sedentary when working from home, especially without a daily commute, I have a goal to do at least 10K steps per day.

This has meant forming new habits, such as I will always walk during my phone meetings, and I will prioritise short walking breaks during my workday. I also recently invested in a treadmill desk, so I’m excited to build some habits around using that during my workday.

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

I read a lot and my two favourite books I have read this year so far are Humor Seriously about the power of levity in business and Think Again by Adam Grant, about the importance of constantly challenging our thinking and assumptions.

I recently had Adam back on How I Work which was a real treat – he is a fountain of wisdom and practical advice.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

So many! I love my Smart Rope (I do a bit of skipping almost every day) and it counts reps for me. I also love Superhuman, my email client. It makes email so much quicker and easier. And I love Pocket, which lets me save articles I want to read into the one app, so I don’t fall into internet black holes reading all the interesting things I come across at inopportune times.

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

I’ve been obsessed with Lin-Manuel Miranda for many years. I know he is someone who is incredibly passionate about what he does and I’d love to know how he switches off (if indeed he does) and what this looks like for him.

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

At Inventium, we do a Four Day Week which I recommend all business leaders should be looking into. Research has shown that working more than about 50 hours per week actually leads to us being less productive, so remember this the next time you find yourself working long hours. Long hours does not equal greater productivity.

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.