Simon Murphy is the Founder & CEO of RefLIVE, a referee management system to increase retention, reduce abuse and elevate performance for referees.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m currently the Founder and CEO of sports tech startup, RefLIVE. I studied business and accounting at University, and was an accountant for around 5 years before getting into startups. I always wanted to start my own business from a young age.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Things have changed dramatically in the last few weeks. Traditionally I would get to work at around 8, work until 12 and head to the gym for 40 minutes, then lunch, and then work at the office until around 6 before heading home.
My commute would be 30-40 minutes of public transport which is great reading time. Working from home has required an adjustment, mostly keeping myself accountable and staying focused while trying to exercise and take enough breaks.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I first started RefLIVE from the spare bedroom in my house in a regional city. Shortly after starting, I moved to the US while my co-founder stayed in Australia.
Even though it wasn’t our intention, we’ve been remote from day one but have enjoyed the benefits of working in the same office.
Being at a co-working space enabled us to learn from other great founders and integrate a social life into work which can be challenging for small teams.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I think that if you’re passionate about your career, then work and life become entangled. I consider it a privilege to be able to work on my own company. When we first started, I probably spent too much time on unnecessary tasks, overthinking every little detail.
At a certain point you realise that it’s in your company’s best interest for you to take a break and think about things outside of the company. Otherwise it becomes difficult to innovate and solve the infinite number of problems that inevitably arise within your startup.
I try to have a small trip with my wife scheduled at least every 6 months, I find that the anticipation of a trip can be as therapeutic as going.
5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?
Setting goals, tracking progress and meditation. Setting goals provides direction. Our team sets ambitious goals that might seem impossible to achieve, but we break them down into small tasks which helps us stay motivated day to day.
Tracking progress helps build stronger habits, whether it be setting goals to complete a number of workouts, reading a number of books or even meditation, I find tracking things helps keep me accountable. Meditation is the best way to reduce stress and clear your mind.
It took me over a year of trying before it started to have an effect on me. Once I was able to simply focus on breathing and minimise expectations of anything happening, it became effective.
6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
A lot. A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy might be the most important book I’ve read and helped shape my personal philosophy.
Zero to One by Peter Thiel was excellent to learn about the economics of early stage companies. Elon Musk’s biography by Ashley Vance was a fascinating look at one of the worlds greatest innovators.
Lastly, Shoe Dog by Nike founder Phil Knight was an incredible story showing the reality of building an iconic business.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Make people laugh. Life is too short not to laugh everyday and enjoy it. Finding beauty, pleasure and laughter when things are tough makes life worthwhile.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Right now I’m very interested to hear about how doctors and medical professionals are continuing to do an incredible job despite the huge challenges they face. We’re all going through a tough time at the moment but they’re working tirelessly to keep us healthy.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Keep testing, trying and experimenting until you find what works best for you. Don’t be too hard on yourself, we all have unproductive days or phases when things feel tough. Everyone has a different perspective of what work life balance means, and that’s okay.
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