Gareth Robinson is the Co-Founder of Thriverapp, a community connecting people to the resources, habits and success-systems of exceptional people.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I spent most of my career in sales roles working for multinational companies here in Sydney, New Zealand and Dubai. That was until early 2017 when I had the opportunity (code for being made redundant) to work for myself.
Since then I have become a consultant and coach along with being a co-founder of Thriverapp.
I wear a few different work hats; As a co-founder of Thriverapp, I’m doing the typical start-up hustle, mostly focused on development, content creation and marketing.
We’re an early stage start-up that helps people live their best lives by embedding the tools, techniques and success systems of exceptional people like Tim Ferriss, Gretchen Rubin, Richard Branson, Brené Brown, Gary Vaynerchuk, and many others.
Our immediate goal is running a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, which launches soon, so that is the daily focus right now. I am also a Senior Coach and Consultant for secondnature International, a boutique consultancy helping individuals and organisations improve their presenting and communication skills.
The third hat I wear is for AIM (Australian Institute of Management), where I facilitate public short courses for business people looking to improve their communication, negotiation, time management and leadership skills.
The common thread in all these roles is improving people’s performance, whether that is through embedding new habits using Thriverapp or coaching executives in how to improve their communication skills.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My days vary depending whether I have any coaching or training gigs on. If I don’t, then I work from our home office (which I share with my wife Jo).
I wake up relatively early 3 to 4 days a week and start on Thriverapp. Most of this work takes up a reasonable amount of brainpower, so I allocate blocks of time in the morning.
Sometimes I fit in exercise prior to work, if not exercise then I aim to do some stretches and push-ups. And, if I am taking our youngest to school then after my first work session I’ll either walk or drive him to school.
The rest of the morning is spent getting through my list of activities which I have written down the night before. Often the activities fall within all three work roles, as well as the family and personal stuff.
After lunch is more of the same with getting through the list, however, by then something else may have come up that I need to respond to. And considering the ‘new normal’ I am sometimes coaching or training on a live video call (I aim to conduct any video calls between 10am and 3pm, in case I have to do something with the kids [a responsibility I share with Jo]).
Late afternoon / early evening I may have some family commitments, whether that is dropping or picking up one of our kids, or cooking dinner.
If I don’t have any family commitments, and I didn’t do any exercise in the morning, I’ll aim to do some (surf, run, gym) in the afternoon / early evening, although I’d be lying if I said I exercised every day!
Finally, once or twice a week in the evening I spend an hour or two working on Thriverapp.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
As above, I have a home and virtual office, so other than face-to-face coaching and meetings, all of my work is ‘remote’. If your definition of flexibility is in the traditional sense (i.e. 9-5 office-based work), then my role is extremely flexible.
Where, how, what and how often I work, is driven by my need for Thriverapp to be commercially successful so that I can continue to achieve my goals whilst supporting my family.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
There is not a hard line between ‘work’ and ‘life’ for me, balancing and combining both has been difficult for me in the past – I am getting much better at it. My family, friends and community take priority, however, it is not always easy to remember that!
Understanding what my priorities and goals are, and then aligning my day-to-day activities so that I am working on and in areas that will help me achieve my goals probably sums up work-life balance for me.
Currently I have clear business, personal and life goals, which are around how I live my life, support my family, and contribute to our community and society.
However, as with most things it’s easier said than done so I don’t get my work-life balance right all the time. To help me I spend twenty or so minutes in the weekend planning for the week ahead. I carve out blocks time to work on the important stuff. When I get a little lost or down, I use Thriverapp to remind me of what is important.
Finally, Jo and I are a team, so every Sunday we aim to reconcile our schedules and work through the weekly plan – to figure out who is doing what with the kids.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Great question and considering Thriverapp is all about helping people embed into their own lives the habits, tools, routines and success systems of exceptional people you’d hope that I have some answers here!
Here are a few personal habits and routines from my last year:
Practising gratitude: An optimistic and happy brain is more effective than a pessimistic one and practising gratitude is one of the most effective tools to make yourself happier. Practising gratitude is also one of the most popular daily habits on Thriverapp.
A lot of people use gratitude journals, I’ve got one but don’t write in it very often, I mainly refer to my ‘gratitude statements’ and affirmations in Thriverapp when I’m feeling a bit down to remind me how lucky I am!
Morning stretch followed by push-ups: Most days I’m stretching in the morning for 5 to 10 minutes at the same time as zoning out to some meditation music (I’m trying to build meditation/mindfulness into my day-to-day life knowing how effective it is).
I find that often during this stretch I either crystallise some ideas and/or come up with some new ones. In addition, I’ve started finishing my stretch with some push-ups which give me a little burst of energy in the morning.
Stop drinking so much mid-week: If I’m honest I was that guy who had a couple of beers, or a glass or two of red wine every night. It’s a habit that I’ve tried unsuccessfully to break in the past.
However, over the last year I’ve broken this bad habit. Bearing in mind I still love having a drink with my mates, however, I’ve cut down my mid-week consumption.
Listening to podcasts at x1.5 the speed: OK, so not exactly life changing, however, if you listen to podcasts to learn then listening to them at x1.5 the speed is a great way to increase your productivity.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Where to start! Mindset by Dr Carol Dweck, Grit by Angela Duckworth and The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday are three books that have changed the way I think.
Iain M. Banks, Haruki Murakami, John Irving and Milan Kundera are three of my favourite fiction authors. The Daily Stoic is my go-to podcast.
In addition, I recently wrote an article on Medium titled ‘Twenty of the World’s Best Personal Growth & Self-Help Books from Thriverapp’ if anyone is interested in more book recommendations you can find them at https://medium.com/thriverapp.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
There are not any products, gadgets or apps that I can’t live without. Of course, I love Thriverapp’s Beta version because it helps me find some positivity in between the noise and negativity on social.
I love surfing and try to get in the water a couple of times a week, so my surfboards and wetsuits are things I’d definitely miss and from a work perspective, I’d be gutted if I didn’t have my noise cancelling headphones.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Marcus Aurelius (although he’s been dead for nearly 2,000 years) who is one of the modern Stoics and the last of the ‘five good emperors’.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
If I look back on my learnings since developing Thriverapp, the number one is how important building my self-awareness and working on myself is.
If you truly want to be happy, healthy and effective then you need to dig a little deep – when you become more honest with yourself, and better understand your bias’, likes, dislikes, triggers, etc. you become better at dealing with people and ultimately smarter.
From a work-life balance point of view, you can better prioritise and align your activities with what you are good at, and importantly what you want to be doing.
There is a great quote by Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi which I use to remind myself about the importance of working on myself first:
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
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