CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Thomas Walkley, Co-Founder & CEO at Erin Living

Thomas Walkley is the Co-Founder & CEO at Erin Living, an innovative resident experience company that is paving the way towards the enhancement of liveability and sustainability in built environments.

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

I’ve had a 16 year career in the property and real estate industry spanning across a number of different roles. I refer to this period of my working life as my apprenticeship. 

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

Wake up time is between 5 and 5.30 each day. I prefer to wake up naturally without an alarm so my wake-up time varies

First things first, coffee  long black. Then I exercise, generally a group training session or a gym workout, or sometimes just an early morning walk 

I’m normally the first one into the office. I like to set the benchmark and get in early. I eat my breakfast while looking over the AFR and Urban Developer publications to kick off my working day. 

I try to get through important tasks and work in the morning, and preferably set my meetings in the afternoon. 

Then home and dinner with the family. I like to cook dinner each night. I find cooking a really relaxing activity as it allows me to switch off at the end of the day. I try not to open the laptop after dinner but it doesn’t always work out that way.

I’m in bed and asleep by 9/9.30 each night to the sound of my partner saying “goodnight grandpa”. Id actually prefer to go to bed even earlier but then we wouldn’t see much of each other

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

In this day and age, all we need in business is a laptop and a phone, so I guess my current role has allowed for remote working for quite some time. It doesn’t bode that well for me though. I like leaving the house bright and early in the morning and sticking to my routine.

I feel I need to ‘get in the zone’ and switch into a certain mode in the mornings and I struggle to get in the right headspace if I work at home. I am far more productive when I have exercised, dressed for the day and in the presence of the team in the office. 

For these reasons, COVID was personally very difficult for me 

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

I try to blend my work and my personal life so I can enjoy both simultaneously. I don’t feel the need to have a big separation between the two. 

I prefer to work at 200% capacity working 70+ hours and then take a number of holidays each year to break it up, switch off and recharge. I haven’t been able to do that during covid so i’ve felt a bit burnt out of late but that’s the best formula that works for me.

I like to refer to “work-life Balance” as just “Life Balance”. I think “work”  has a bit of a negative connotation to it, like what I do is a chore, which is not at all the case. I love what I do. I love getting up in the morning with purpose and drive. I feel I am lucky because not many people feel this way about their daily lives and employment.

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

I started running during lockdowns. I wanted to really improve my running abilities and to also take a big positive out of the COVID situation. I now try to run each week however I keep straining my calf muscles so that’s not helping (yes i know, it’s the old-man injury)

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

I’m really enjoying Catch of the Decade at the moment, but one of the best books I read was a book called Rework. Those guys were so ahead of the times it’s not funny. Worth a read!

Two of my favourite podcasts are the ‘Missing Crypto Queen’ and another one called ‘Two Sided’. Both are limited series and highly recommended. I also like to listen to ‘The School of Greatness’ podcast.

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

Apart from the obvious iPhone and laptop, AirPods, WhatsApp, Superhuman, Google Tasks, Xero, Kayo and my sunglasses. 

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

There’s an article which I really enjoyed, written by Aytekin Tank who is the founder of Jotforms. I felt many things in the article resonated with me and I made some adjustments to my lifestyle after reading it. The article is here and definitely worth a read.

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

I’m one of those people that if they won the lottery tomorrow would still be rocking up to work on Monday morning with the same routine in place. I actually love what I do. I love the challenge of building a business and having a purpose, I think I would be lost without it.

I think everyone should try and find their purpose in life. Find something they love doing and just chase it. Life is way too short to be doing something you don’t like.

Someone once said to me that when you are self employed you are always on holidays but you never stop working. This is so true. It’s hard to switch off an entrepreneurial brain regardless of where you are and what you’re doing.

I believe that incorporating a ‘life-balance’ that gives you the time to do what you want while still having a solid purpose in life should be the ultimate goal for everyone. Time is something we can never get back and should be treasured as our most precious commodity. 

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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.