Balancing the Grind with Evert Velthuizen, Head of Support at Doist

Evert Velthuizen is the Head of Support at fully-remote organisation Doist, the company behind productivity and workplace tools Todoist and Twist.

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

For most of my career, I was working in the telecom industry but I switched to tech around three years ago.

I found out about Doist and joined the team as one of two Dutch Support Specialists. They were only looking to hire one candidate but they liked us both so ended up hiring two. Lucky me!

Within the first few months, I took over the responsibility of the Dutch translation work together with Maxime Kruijer, an incredibly talented supporter and one of my first friends at Doist.

After working at Doist for about a year, I started collaborating on Doist’s Help Centers with Neil Vidyarthi (a brilliant writer and product marketer at Doist). We instantly connected over the passion we have for user education and the love for our products.

During this time, Neil also introduced me to the philosophy of Stoicism, which has had a major impact on how I live my life.

In December 2019, I was offered the position of Head of Support at Doist. Every day, I’m grateful for this opportunity. To me, there’s no greater honor than leading a team of brilliant people.

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

Before I start work, I take my dogs out for a walk, have breakfast with my family, and I read my daily page of the Daily Stoic.

I start my workday processing my emails, Twist messages, and GitHub notifications.

Throughout the day I complete tasks on my to-do list for today, starting with the highest priority and working my way down. These tasks vary quite a bit, but to give you an idea, here are a few of the tasks I worked on last week:

  • Todoist contact forms QA
  • Set up localized auto-reply emails
  • Review and edit internal documentation
  • Support team meeting

I spend my evenings with my family and on days that I’ve got the time and energy, I’ll hop into my running shoes and go for a jog.

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

Absolutely! Doist is a fully remote company that allows all employees to schedule our workdays however it suits us best. This empowers me to prioritize a healthy work-life balance, something my family is also grateful for.

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

Work-life balance is essential and it’s one of the core values at Doist. None of us works more than 40 hours a week and we get 40 days PTO.

Having a clear end of the workday gives me the mental space to pursue other hobbies, with minimum feelings of guilt.

Sure, there are times when my work requires more attention than eight hours per day; but these moments are more seldom than they were in my previous managerial position in the telecom industry, at a much more traditional organization.

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

I’ve invested time into living a healthier life. I signed up for a remote personal trainer and he’s been a huge help. He’s helped me eat better, sleep better, and made exercising more fun and challenging.

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

  • The Daily Stoic by Ryan is a book I’d recommend everyone to read. I start every workday reading an entry and reflect on it throughout the day. It’s been a great guide helping me live a more balanced life.
  • Off The Strength, a wellness podcast I just can’t get enough of. The hosts — Troy Brooks, Corey Harbison, Kyle Jones and Tony Vidal — serve you food for thought in every episode.

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

There are a few apps and gadgets that I use every day:

  • Todoist to declutter my mind, and to keep my private and work life organized.
  • Nike Run Club to make running so much more fun and rewarding.
  • Spotify to help me focus during work.
  • Audible to learn new things or just to listen to great stories.
  • AirPods have been a game-changer. I use them during dog walks, runs, for meetings, while cooking, cleaning, any opportunity I get really.

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

There’s no shame in asking for help. There are times when you will not be able to achieve the balance you seek or reach the goal you’ve set. Ask for help, and you’ll greatly increase your chances of success.

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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.