Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Jack Andrews, Founder of Panic Donate

Jack Andrews is the Innovation Manager at not-for-profit organisation UnitingCare QLD and also the founder of his side project Panic Donate.

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

My career began in innovation & growth consulting for some of Australia’s biggest businesses. I’m currently the innovation manager at UnitingCare QLD, the country’s largest not-for-profit health & community services provider. In my spare time, I love to build things, with Panic Donate being the latest example of this!

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

It can depend how many side projects I’ve got going and where these projects are at. Sometimes, my work day is just a usual 9-5 office job – though often there will be a few side projects that need attention outside of standard work hours.

I tend to use my weekends (AM) for these projects where I can so that they don’t eat into my evenings!

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

Like many people, my office job is currently happening remotely as a result of Covid-19. I think that this will have been a wakeup call to the corporate world that it is expensive and unnecessary to have all staff work from an office for 5 days a week. I expect we will see a more mixed approach going forward – and I look forward to this.

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

It means no work after 5pm, exercising every day, having plenty of time for family and friends, and making sure I’m spending enough time on the projects that are most important to me (could be reading, writing, or learning something new).

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

The most important habit I’ve put in place is having a hard end to my workday (I start early and finish by 430pm). This allows me plenty of time in the evenings to wind down, exercise, catch up with friends, and spend time leisurely.

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

On work-life balance and productivity I think Amantha Imber’s How I Work podcast is great. She talks to journalists, business-people, entrepreneurs and creatives to understand how they go about structuring their work day.

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

Screen Time! The downtime lock-out feature is amazing – especially if you’re working in an entirely Apple ecosystem. It takes some adjustment but it’s made me sleep much better at night.

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

I think reading about how regular people approach this is probably a great start. The public figures who we associate with success in business are not necessarily those who have achieved the best balance. You don’t get applauded publicly or win awards for work-life balance; it’s something that you have to keep a handle on yourself.

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

Most of us know intuitively (can feel) when we are getting this right and when we are getting it wrong. Honesty with ourselves and having strategies in the back pocket for making corrections is a great start.

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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.