Tim Ashelford is the Head of Editorial at We Are Explorers, an Australian media company focused on adventure travel, nature and environmentalism.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’ve been with We Are Explorers for over 4 years, helping to grow the company from a small startup into the number one adventure website in Australia.
I started as a features writer, then a part time editor, before taking on the role full time. My current role as Head of Editorial sees me oversee a few staff and dozens of regular contributors.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
The best work days always start with exercise, usually trail running, a surf or a swim down at a local beach. At 9:05am we jump on for a ‘Daily Stand Up’, where we all talk through our 3 priority tasks for the day.
With the team spread across 4 locations this is also a great chance to catch up! I’ll then usually try and get back to pressing emails for a bit, before jumping into client work, uploading articles and meetings or brainstorms.
I prefer to do more complex tasks, like writing or strategy, in the afternoon, once the pressure of deadlines is dealt with.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
It does! I actually worked remotely for over 2 years before we got a small office in a startup space. I enjoyed the change but then with COVID-19, actually really enjoyed the shift back to working from home.
No commute, flexibility to run errands and home cooking are all big bonuses. However it’s important the team communicates well when working remotely!
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
For me work-life balance is about keeping your personal life functioning well throughout the week, not just on weekends. I’m fairly protective of my time and often make plans after work to give me a good reason to stop working.
Microadventures are a great way to reset mid-week, whether it’s a small hike, ocean swim, or a few beers at a sunset lookout, getting out in nature is a powerful way to refocus and remember what’s important.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I’ve made a few changes. Going outside instead of powering through when I get the familiar fuzzy feeling that comes with working on a computer for too long.
I’ve also recently done a few zero alcohol months, which keeps me really clear-headed. My next target is diet and meal prep, I live near a heap of great restaurants so that’s a tricky one!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I love my AirPods for doing calls on the go, and my noise cancellling Sony Headphones for powering out work at the desk. For apps I really like Waking Up by Sam Harris for meditation and Strava for activity tracking. Also shoutout to Google for all the excellent free software.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Probably Rich Roll or Sam Harris. Anyone who regularly talks about mindfulness and being present is of interest – to me this is the antidote to all the things that can become imbalanced in our lives.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
There’s a difference between working hard and hard work. Aim to find a role that challenges you, but also inspires you. I’ve moved into more demanding roles recently but because I’m psyched on them I don’t feel drained at the end of the day.
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