Coaches / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Jan McLeod, Wellbeing & High-Performance Coach

Jan McLeod is a Wellbeing & High-Performance Coach, working with executives, teams and employees focused on wellbeing and/or high performance in the workplace.

Learn about the daily routines of some of the most successful people in the world. Sign up to our newsletter today & receive a free gift that will help you achieve your goals!

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

For the past decade I have been working as a coach at The Capacity Equation and Mad for Health, with executives, teams and employees focused on Wellbeing and/or Workplace High Performance.

Prior, I spent 20 years in corporate, holding senior roles locally, regionally and globally, working in areas that included strategy, finance, technology, product management and change management.

I left corporate to become a coach, to help people create a quality of wellbeing and workplace high performance that I know from experience is not easy to achieve and sustain. I retrained in brain based coaching, nutrition, the physical, mental and psychological drivers of wellbeing and workplace high performance.

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

My week has a structure for enabling me to run my own businesses The Capacity Equation and Mad for Health through which I deliver my coaching services. A coaching day will involve 4-5 one-on-one coaching sessions including prep and coaching follow up.

A webinar/workshop day will involve prep, then delivery and will differ based on whether online or in person. An admin day, sales or marketing day, has a lot of variety and is driven by what I need to get done.

Integral to all days, is creating a pace that can be sustained, that gives me breaks, variety in my focus and allows for reflection as needed. Running your own business is often demanding, so I seek to create a series of sprints around deliveries, giving myself break and down time in between.

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

Since COVID, I am working remotely the majority of time. Prior to COVID I split my time between an office and my home office, and I did a combination of online and face to face coaching and webinars/workshops.

Now I am 100% in my home office, all of my coaching is currently still online, and almost all of my workshops/webinars are online. I love the home office set up. I also have a family and a home I run, and working from home allows me to integrate things that I need to do into my work day.

I am a big believer in having boundaries between work and my home and personal life. I underpin what I do with key routines, habits and transitions that allow me to move into and out of work mode. My day depends on habits such as diary review, work prioritisation, clear scheduling and a strong element of flexibility.

At the beginning and end of my day I clear my desk, pack up, turn off my desktop or laptop, close the home office blinds and turn off the office lights. 

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

Work-life balance is personal and unique to each person, it is about working out what fits with your life and your day/week rhythm. There is no right or wrong to me, just what words. I prefer to use the words work-life boundaries or rhythm.

I do different activities on different days. For example coaching, webinars and workshops are generally Tues, Wed, Thurs and admin, sales and marketing is Monday and generally Friday is a non-work day.

I reserve Friday for my personal, home and life stuff. In corporate, there were times I worked crazy hours, and I learnt, there are essentials for sustaining focus, concentration, motivation, productivity, energy and aligned to what you are ultimately trying to achieve. 

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

The biggest change in the past 12-24 months was due to COVID, the move away to remote (home-office) working and doing much more of my work online. I cannot see myself returning to an office to work, however I will respond to the shift to doing a combination of face to face and online working as it is required.

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

I am a bit of a bowerbird. It means I tend to switch whose books, podcasts or newsletters I am reading or listening to. My focus is on the content being discussed.

The key content topics of interest include the neuroscience of how our brains work, factors and insight into what drives our thinking, feeling and behaviour wellbeing and performance choices, what creates and shapes mindset and the latest thinking on drivers of behaviour change.

This is coupled by my professional development studies, which has a strong focus on wellbeing, health, brain neuroscience and coaching.

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

There are so many apps. I tend to focus more on the principles that underpin the apps. So for me, knowing how to remain focused, organised, energised, stimulated and engaged and anchored to the big picture is important. Some of these things can be embedded into apps, however I tend to have routines and habits I follow, rather than depend on apps per se. 

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

Wow, great question. I think it would be someone with huge pressures, who is highly visible to the world at large and has a significant number of big competing priorities. Unusually for me, politicians are popping to mind. Maybe Jacinda Ardern as she holds multiple roles in life, or perhaps although no longer in office, Angela Merkel or Barack Obama. The pressures that come with the roles of these people are immense, it would be fascinating to talk through their habits and routines, plus the principles they depend on in their day and week.

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

Create your own work-life rhythm or boundaries. Most definitely listen and read up on what others are doing, however ultimately take ideas, principles, habits and concepts and apply them to your life.

Experiment to see what works best for you. And remember we all have unique needs. And that our life changes over time so embrace these changes with changes to your work-life rhythms. Ultimately you will know if what you are doing is working by whether you can be focused, organised, energised, stimulated, engaged and anchored to your big picture most of the time. 

Before you go…

Check out more daily routines from Barack Obama, Arianna Huffington, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet and plenty others.

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.