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Balancing the Grind with Eamonn Barrett, Partner at Remi AI

Eamonn Barrett is at Partner at Remi AI, an AI research firm delivering autonomous software for supply chain, price optimisation and other business operations.

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

My career started in Healthcare having studied medical science as an undergraduate. During my time in healthcare, I went back to business school and went on to further study in finance, before working in the procurement team for a global healthcare company.

This was my introduction to the supply chain. My current role at Remi is in Sales and Corporate Development.

At Remi we believe in intelligent automation of supply chains, and my role sees me working with retailers and manufacturers around the world to intelligently automate some key supply chain activities.

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

  • 0430 wakeup
  • 0500 exercise (gym)
  • 0730 reading
  • 0800 work usually starts
    • Each day is different, and is a mix of meetings, pitches, sales/networking, user testing, planning, and admin. I like to keep Fridays meeting free if I can so that I can finish off my key tasks for the week
  • 1800 is when I usually make dinner
  • 1900 -2030 is when I usually finish off anything that I didn’t complete during the day, and/or meetings with the UK/Europe
  • 2030 – 2130 reading/tv

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

Yes – our company is officially working from home. When unrestricted by COVID, our team in Sydney has an onsite day at least once per month for which we hire a large meeting room at a co-working space and work together for the day. This mostly fits into my life and routine as it gives me more time to exercise, and the flexibility to be a bit more creative with lunch each day!

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

This is something that I’m committed to improving in 2022, as I can be accused of having an unhealthy tilt towards work over life at times. A work-life balance, to me, means that you achieve what you need to at work to be who you want to be, while still enjoying the things that make you happy in life.

For me, the latter includes time with friends and family, exercise, playing golf, and reading. I don’t think that this ‘balance’ means that you need to schedule a precise number of hours to work and number to life each week (I would personally go insane if I tracked the number of hours spent socialising/reading/exercising against hours worked each week and would find this a source of stress when I inevitably failed at one of them each week).

A useful analogy might be a director working to make the piece de resistance of their ​filmmaking career. They need to balance the needs of the budget, timeline, acting staff, studio, satisfying their creative spirit, all while trying to make something that an audience is going to like! Doing this perfectly is impossible, and compromises need to be made.

A $10b budget and 10-year timeline might satisfy a few of the needs, but chances are the studio won’t want that and the acting staff won’t sign on for it. Work-life balance can be thought of in the same way – you’re making the film of your life, and there are many activities that need to be balanced to make it a great one.

In 2022 I am committed to allowing myself to take time each week to do the things I love, to make up for the early morning, late evening, and weekend work that comes with working in a global start-up.

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

I have stopped having caffeine after 1300, and mostly stopped drinking alcohol, both of which have helped my sleep in a big way (I still drink at major events but have essentially cut it out of my home life).

I’ve started time restricted eating, which is where I try to eat within an 8-hour window during a 24-hour period. This usually means that I have my first meal of the day at 1100 and last meal by 1830-1900, and my goal here is longevity in life rather than weight loss (see research and content by David Sinclair if interested).

Finally, I have turned the exercise up a notch in the past 12 months which has been a great way to de-stress. Exercise for me mostly includes weight training in the gym, cardio (running), and walking.

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

Podcasts:

Books: too many to name, some of my favourites that I read in the past 12 months include:

  • Letters to a Young Contrarian, Christopher Hitchens
  • The Cold Start Problem, Andrew Chen
  • What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture, Ben Horowitz
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz
  • Zero to One, Peter Thiel
  • The World For Sale: Money, Power, and the Traders Who Barter the Earth’s Resources, Javier Blas
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton Christensen
  • 7 Powers: The Foundations of Business Strategy, Hamilton Helmer
  • Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect, Bob Rotella

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

I love my Apple Watch. Having enjoyed watches of all types for years, I was sceptical of smart watches when they were first released, preferring the traditional wind-up and battery powered watches.

Since purchasing my first Apple Watch I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve worn a traditional watch and am completely hooked on the data tracking capabilities including sleep and fitness.

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

Christopher Hitchens. I would prefer to watch him interviewed rather than read, as he was one of the most impressive orators that I have come across (though his writing was just as impressive). If the interview needs to be with someone living, I would love to hear Sam Harris’ take on it.

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

Work-life balance is an elusive beast. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Figure out what you need in life to be who you want to be and work on each component of your piece de resistance.

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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.