Wing Chan is the CEO and Co-Founder of Sourceful, a company that helps mission-driven brands to succeed by designing and making better, more sustainable products.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m a second generation software engineer, my father is a 40-year software engineer and I grew up around computers, cables and technology. I studied computer science at university, then had a mix of experiences as a MD of a business, as well as CMO and CTO of sizable revenue organisations (£500M-£1B of revenues).
Currently, I’m CEO of Sourceful and we’re two years into it. I love the business and the role as it combines commercial, marketing and technology together in our pursuit of making tangible sustainability achievable for brands.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
The day starts the night before, I’ll think about the previous day and what I want to get done the next day. I’ll wake up at 6am, remind myself of the top 3 things and then figure out how to make sure I get those things done. The things themselves vary quite a lot, often it’s people related, but it can be family related, task related or just life admin.
A usual workday consists of a mix of solo time to work on a project, 121 time with people from the business, clients or investors, and then a few larger group sessions to either explore ideas or to review and make decisions.
It is important to balance different types of work throughout the day and I like to have rest periods between sections so I’ll do a couple hours after dinner but have 30 min gaps in the day when I’m not as active. I’m a HIIT type of person, so I need to really engage in my work and then rest between them.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
We are really flexible as we have a team all over the world and time differences can be up to 12 hours depending on where everyone is. Apart from needing 6 hours of continuous sleep a day, I’m very happy being flexible and accommodating with the team. Some people prefer early morning meetings and others like late night discussions.
I used to play Table Tennis competitively when I was younger, but now I try and fit exercise in through the day and week. On Thursdays, the team plays Badminton and Squash together which is great fun and a good workout.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Whether it’s work-tasks or life-tasks, there are some things that are more energising and some things that are less energising. You still have to do both categories! I think the most important thing is finding meaning in both the work you do and the life you have, because it keeps you grounded and means you can enjoy work and life sustainably for the long term.
I don’t enjoy trying to live life in the early mornings, evenings and weekends. I think that creates an unhealthy tension between work and life. Instead I see everything I do as being part of building a meaningful life.
Over time, I’ve also learnt that eating well, spending time with family and friends, and a good night’s sleep are important for work and life and I no longer see them as being stuff “in the way” of work and vice versa.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
One of my friends told me to stop taking the elevator and just always use the stairs as a simple way to get more exercise in, and I’ve found that to be a really fun way to get exercise in. I also started to be more conscious about eating well – earlier in my career, food was just a thing you had to do each day so I didn’t enjoy it and now I see it differently.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I really like to read widely and deeply, so I prefer long-form books over most other things. Memoirs and biographies are fascinating to me because I like to put myself in their shoes and think about what I would do differently and how I would feel in those situations.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Definitely a smartphone. I don’t rely on any specific apps, but it’s always good to have a way to stay in touch with family and friends (the app of the day changes over time but usually it’s whatsapp).
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
People who live above 100 and are in great health, I’d love to hear about how they keep motoring on.
9) What are the strategies and rituals that bring clarity to your day? What keeps you focused, and most importantly fills your day with joy?
I very rarely drink alcohol and don’t take sugar – try and keep blood sugar and brain quite level headed. As a HIIT type person, I enjoy intensely participating in what I’m doing and then having breaks where I recover and regroup. Variety makes me happy so I get overwhelmed with too many of one type of task. The thing that brings me the most joy is seeing our team do well and our people flourish – it’s hard but it’s worth it.
10) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Balance for me is not walking on a tightrope trying not to fall off to either side, it’s about embracing the full range of human emotions and activities and finding balance in the highs and lows of fully engaging in work and life. I try to focus not on the fact that time is limited, but on the fact that there is so much to explore and every chance is an opportunity to be creative and create the life you want.
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