Balancing the Grind with Rishad Tobaccowala, Author, Speaker & Advisor

Rishad Tobaccowala is an author, speaker and advisor. As a board member and advisor to start-ups and venture capital firms, Rishad has over four decades of marketing experience.

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

I am currently an author, speaker and advisor. My first book Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data was published globally by Harper Collins on Jan 28 2020 and is a best seller.

I speak (now virtually) at events that span Twitter, Google, Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield and many more. I advise C level executives and serve on boards.

Prior to my new re-invention I spent nearly four decades at the Publicis Groupe an 80,000 person marketing and business transformation firm where my last roles were Chief Strategist and Chief Growth Officer. I continue to be an advisor to Publicis.

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

I get up at 4.30 and have coffee and check emails until 5. From 5 to 6.30 I read books in analog form. From 6.45 to 7.45 I work out. At 8.30 I am at my home office and work until lunch time primarily on:

a) giving webinars/taping podcasts

b) speaking with advisory companies

c) connecting with people

I then have lunch with my wife. From 1 to 3 I return to work but focus primarily on developing new thinking. I also go for a walk with my wife.

From 4 to 6 I try to watch a movie on Criterion (classics), have dinner and speak to kids ( grown 30 year olds) and watch television. At 9.30, I’ll go to sleep.

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

I work for myself so even before COVID-19 I worked from home and had total flexibility

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

Work-life balance is when you find that your work at is what you love doing, so it’s more work-family balance. To ensure that I do this I build in time everyday to spend time with my wife and speak with my kids and also leave enough time to learn and grow with books, movies and television and to ensure that I am keeping in good health.

Working from home and need inspiration? Grab a copy of our Workflow book, featuring beautiful photos and inspiring stories from workspaces around the world.

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

Because of COVID-19 I have stopped eating out every day which I used to do and stopped drinking a couple of draft beers. As a result I eat much more healthy and pretty much do not drink and have lost 15 pounds.

I stopped using the health club because it was closed but I run up and down the parking garage of my building. Because of zero travel I have time to now watch a great movie on Criterion almost every day.

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

My favorite sources of information are the NY Times, Financial Times, WSJ and the Economist magazine.

I love reading the New York Review of Books and am a subscriber to Granta and Paris Review. I believe Paris Review is a great quarterly source of interviews, literature, poetry and art and the NYRB of perspectives and essays.

I like Pivot and Recode as podcasts and also Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Louis podcasts.

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

My iPhone, iPad and iMac are key. Also Twitter, Feedly and Amazon apps.

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

Bill Gates.

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

Time is the only thing you have. The way you spend your time is the way you spend your life.

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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.