Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with David Bookman, Co-Founder of Buttons Services

David Bookman is the co-founder of Buttons Services, which connects people with a disability to young support workers in a thoughtful and meaningful way.

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

I am the co-founder of Buttons with my best mate Ryan Kagan. Launched in January 2020, Buttons connects people with a disability to young support workers in a thoughtful and meaningful way. 

Prior to Buttons, from 2016 – 2020 I worked at Flying Fox which is a NFP that runs camps and social opportunities for kids and young adults with a disability. While working there, I was completing my Commerce degree at Monash.

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

Being a morning person, I usually wake up at 6:30am and will be out the door for work by 7:30 (clearly accounting for some snooze time). On my way to work I listen to a podcast – The Rest is History. When I get into the office, I spend 30 minutes reading a book while sipping on an Oat Latte from ‘The Wall’. It’s a routine developed over time as I’m trying to start my days with learning and optimism.

Each working day varies, but I usually start with getting in touch with a dozen community stakeholders and clear that part of the to-do list. Once that’s done, I usually spend the rest of my days between meetings with industry people regarding collaborations and partnerships, speaking to investors/mentors and working with the team on the service delivery part of the organisation. 

My days also consistently consist of many coffee breaks and 10-minute walks if the weather is nice. I don’t have a long attention span so I try to take mini breaks where possible.

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

I have never been a subscriber to having a professional life and a personal life. To me, your professional life is your personal life. When you separate them you create an underlying tension and pit them against each other with conflicting priorities. I want to be a happy and loving individual, so I try to fill my life up with things that nourish that.

A big component of your week is where you work. I am in a really fortunate and privileged position where I can, to a certain extent, dictate what I do for work. And that decision is a personal one, so my work reflects who I am, what I believe in and what makes me happy.

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

I have built in a reading routine. I always wanted to become an avid reader however many of the books I purchased over time have been left half at most. I really over-thought it and was self-critical of my lack of reading. Ironically, when I focused on it less, the habit was naturally formed. I read every morning before work, and I love it. It doesn’t feel forced. 

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

My favourite book is Meditations by Marcus Aurelias. Written by a Roman Emperor in the 2nd century CE, the book is profoundly inspiring to read about how the most powerful man in the world exercises such self-reflection and honesty. The content is still incredibly relevant today and one can easily mistake the book to be from a current author.

I listen to podcasts every morning on my way to work and I highly recommend The Joe Rogan Experience. It provides great access to long form conversations from experts in different fields. Or Rest is History as mentioned above if you love history.

The Buttons Community Newsletter is great to read more about what we’ve been up to and how we are driving impact within the disability sector. 

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

Adam Grant – he is a science author and organisational psychologist. He probably has some insightful data and analysis around the relationship between work and personal life.

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

Do things that make you happy and make work a part of your personal life.

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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.