1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Of course! I am the Program Manager of the INCUBATE startup accelerator at The University of Sydney. Here, the team and I have developed a track record of successfully identifying and mentoring teams and investing grant funding and resources on behalf of the university.
This role has provided insights into various industries, ranging from research-focused quantum computing, or 4D bioprinting, to consumer-focused financial technologies and FMCG.
I am also one of the inventors of the Solushin®, a medical device that treats medial tibial stress syndrome. That device is distributed throughout Australia and the United Kingdom and will launch into the US and New Zealand shortly with our distribution partners.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I start every day at 5 am, 7-days a week. I use this time to journal and plan out my day. I believe in the Eisenhower method for prioritising my tasks for the day and figuring out what to delegate.
I then exercise from 5:30 – 6:30 am each day, generally a small circuit then a run. I will then squeeze an hour of uninterrupted learning in. At the moment, I am going through The Business of Venture Capital and The Principles of a Debt Crisis.
I’ve learned from trial and error that I need this time of the day, no matter what. So, I stick with it, and if I need to rest, I will go through the motions of exercise by walking the dog.
From there, my days change drastically depending on what is being thrown my way. I treasure my lunch break, particularly in lockdown, to relax for 30-mins with my fiancé, Alana, and usually aim to wrap up around 6:30 pm. I’ve found during lockdowns greater importance of taking moments at home to be present.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
It sure does. However, I’ve found I’ve had to be a bit stricter with my time for meetings.
There are some days when I find myself locked into 7+ hours of Zoom calls, and the main consequence is that I need to work quite heavily over the weekends to ensure I am delivering on the team’s and my own goals.
I am unsure if there are so many meeting requests due to the lack of travel time; however, I learnt my lesson and have begun saying “no” to quite a few meetings after simply asking, “do I need to be there?” and finding out it isn’t necessary.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you, and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I thrive on challenge and discomfort. As a former elite swimmer, I learned that I was not physically uncomfortable and was not pushing myself enough. While I am no longer targeting that physical challenge as much, I find comfort in being uncomfortable.
Also, I remain grateful that I am in this role and with my own medical device company entirely out of choice. Whenever times get tough, I remind myself I am so fortunate to do this to myself!
I usually don’t get Saturday’s off, but I do everything in my power to earn my Sundays. When I do get to switch off, I get pretty unresponsive as well. I implore everyone to protect their time. If you need and have earned your weekend, don’t let anyone stop you. If it helps, ask yourself, “does it need to be done by 9 am Monday?” It is not rude to practice self-care.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
For a few months, I stopped journalling and my morning self-development. I convinced myself I didn’t have the time and I needed to prioritise other things.
While I managed to get the extra hour of sleep, I felt stagnant, and it cost me mentally. I ended up reintroducing my routine and introduced the Eisenhower method to refine my days.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I highly recommend everyone reads Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. When you find things challenging, it gives you a great baseline to know we can find meaning in far more challenging times. Additionally, an excellent biography that doesn’t get enough notice is Boyd by Robert Coram. Lastly, I highly recommend Principles by Ray Dalio.
Podcasts I love include This Week in Startups by Jason Calcanis and The Prof G Pod by Scott Galloway. It’s obvious those two don’t get along, so it’s good to get two different sets of opinions on what’s happening in the world, and they’re both entertaining.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I love my Oura Ring. It has helped me stay on top of my sleep and overall health over the past year. You’d be surprised how good you feel when you listen to its suggestions…
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
It’d be someone who has passed away and only left traces of their routines. For example, a deep dive with Benjamin Franklin would be interesting.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
My fiancé, Alana, is incredibly supportive. I’ve always been transparent about what I am setting out to achieve, and I have never had to hide who I am. That helps me. Just make sure if you have a partner doing the same for you, you give back with high-quality downtime – don’t scroll through reels (unless you’re doing it together!).
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