Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Jono Herman, Co-Founder at Earlywork

Jono Herman is the co-founder at Earlywork, a platform for young people creating the careers of tomorrow in tech, startups and social impact.

Learn how the most successful people in the world structure and manage their days. Sign to the Balance the Grind newsletter!

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

I’m a startup operator by trade, worked across a variety of early stage startups, in big tech, venture capital over the last few years and always been side hustling on projects around improving the startup ecosystem and their engagement with young folk, which naturally led me to my current project, Earlywork.

I’ve always held the view that technology is a meaningful way to have a high leverage impact on the world, so I’ve really enjoyed and taken a great source of fulfilment from spending time in the industry.

Currently the co-founder of Earlywork, creating the home for young people challenging the careers of today and creating the careers of tomorrow, in tech startups and social impact.

We believe that every young person should find meaning in the work that they do and make a positive dent on the planet. I find it a deeply inspiring mission and vision to invest my time towards.

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

It normally begins relatively early wakeup, compared to my peers, normally followed up with a power 10 minute Twitter scroll to catch up on the overnight news. I enjoy getting into the office relatively early at around 8am and find it a great time to get the short-term focused work (emails, admin) out the way.

The team kicked off the day with morning stand-up at 10am, to align on high-level priorities and clear any blockers out the way. In the late afternoon, I’ll normally go to the gym or play a social basketball game with friends. I find it a good way to exert energy after being seated for most of the day. After dinner, I will normally plug away at work for a couple of hours before hitting the sack at a pretty reasonable hour.

No 5am wakeups, cold showers, or Wim Hof breathing techniques – just a pretty regular, stock standard daily schedule.

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

One of the best things about being a founder is the ability to design your workday around suiting your preferred lifestyle. Between the three of us founders, we all have different work preferences and have designed our company work principles to be accommodating.

In my previous experiences, far too much emphasis is placed on quantity of work hours > quality of work hours, this is one of the greatest fallacies of the modern workplace.

For example, the only ‘core work hours’ we commit to as a company are 10am-4pm. Now that’s not to say, we only work for 6 hours a day (which in itself is fine), some of us tend to start earlier, some of us tend to work a bit later but it’s an acknowledgement that we all have different styles and are committed to being inclusive of that.

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

Work-life balance for me is an important concept and something I feel lucky to have been brought up with, rather than something I’ve consciously tried to integrate into my life. Family, friends and community are very important to me and for much of my life it has been second nature to me to have a good work life balance.

In saying that, setting uncompromising ‘no-work’ boundaries are helpful mitigating strategies too. For example, Friday night is exclusively for family and generally am uncontactable for anything work related during that time. That way, even when things tend to get a bit crazy, having pre-set boundaries ensures you are always making time for the people you care about.

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

Not necessarily work-life balance related but something I’ve got better at over the last 12 months is starting to care less and less about potential negative things that other people think or say. Negative cognitive biases are real but so deeply illogical and unproductive.

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

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant is a fantastic read. Naval has a certain knack to present really complex ideas into simple frameworks or graphics that make it really easy to digest and understand. Regardless of age, profession or background, this is a wonderful read with a lot of takeaways to implement in your daily life.

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

A bit old school but my good old trusty notebook. I’ve failed to find a product or tool that can help me keep track of day to day tasks better than the ole notebook can. The feeling of crossing off your final task at the end of the day is just chef’s kiss

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

The Zuck. The man cops a decent amount of flak from the media, the government, the tech community and basically anyone with a Facebook account everyday. I’d love to understand how he’s able to tune out from that noise and spend quality time with his family.

Before you go…

If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here.

Join our community and never miss a conversation about work, life & balance – subscribe to our newsletter.

Start-up Founders, Venture Capital, Private Equity, Accelerators – hear them all talk about their stories where they went wrong, what went right and what they learned!
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.