Work Humaniser

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This story is taken from a recorded interview and is transcribed with very little editing to preserve the details.

My name is Andy Swann

Most days I leave the house quite early because I go to London and I live quite far out of London. On a typical day I get up at 5 o'clock and I get up before the rest of the family gets up, so I have some time to myself. I’m straight out of bed and I enjoy that bit of time to myself to get dressed and eat breakfast and start thinking about the day. Then I go and say goodbye to my wife, I don't wake the kids.

This morning I had a slightly later start, so I didn't need to get up until about half six. I had the alarm set, but because my body clocks on five o'clock I felt like I was having the most amazing lie in. I was lying in bed just watching the world get light. It gives you a really positive start to the day. Then I got up and saw the kids and made their breakfast before I left. It was a completely different dynamic, but a really nice dynamic as well.

It's one of the reasons I've always embarked on these adventures with work, to try and find that balance. There might be a day where I want to be at home with the kids, or there might be a day where actually work needs to be my focus so I need to work long hours that day, and for me, I like to shift between these things.

I find I'm travelling on a typical week most days at the moment so if I'm in BDG they are based on the South Bank in London. I do tend to spend the majority of four days a week in BDG. But equally I use my time in London to go and do other things so that when I am at home at the weekend I can completely switch off and spend it with the family. I've geared myself up now and invested in technology that keeps me able to work on the train, so it's productive time, and it's time where I don't get distracted. I think I've now got a really nice discipline to my working life that I didn't have when I was working for myself. I find myself able to structure better, to be more productive and to be able to switch off between work and nonwork as well.

When it comes to commuting I'm absolutely resigned to what's going to happen. I see these people losing so much energy over being cross. There was one the other morning when the train was late and then they canceled the next train and the second train was coming but it meant I was going to miss a meeting that I'd got up especially early that day to go to. But actually what can I do. I couldn't make the train arrive. I was watching the people going up to the window and there's always the same lady working in the train station office, it's a really small train station and it just about opens by the time I'm in the morning. The mouthful she gets from people about stuff that's out of her control. She's there to sell the tickets and keep the station running. I just felt really sorry for this poor lady behind the ticket office. And actually it wouldn't have hurt someone just to say good morning and give her a smile.

My current day job is working for a company called BDG Architecture and Design. We haven't quite settled on a job title yet, but I create people focused change programs, workplace change programs that help connect people with their work and their workplace in a slightly alternative ways.

My days are very fluid. I get to Waterloo at about half past eight and walk up the South Bank to the office. I take stock of the day, catch up on some emails and do some reading. Then it depends on what I'm working on at any given time, who I'm meeting or what I may need to do. Some evenings I'll be in the office later or on others I try and nip home early so I can spend some time with the kids before they get ready for bed.

People work hard and yeah there are people who work long hours depending on their project workload. There's an ebb and flow, there will be times when you're busy and there will be times when your not. So you might be able to go home early a few times and I think that's great. I think most people assume that work late and then go back in early in the morning when actually if they kind of said well look I've been working hard on this. I need some rest. I think they'd be fine with that but people assume they have to come into work. My own personal relationship with work is, you'd probably say that I worked long hours but through doing the work project I've got to a position where what I do for work now is done by choice.

My earliest memory of thinking about work, I remember from a very young age, wanting to sell things, so, building stalls outside my nans house, just putting an exhibition of pebbles on and charging people 50p to come and look at it.

I think my first real knowledge of work, I really wanted to work, I always wanted to work, so I got a paper round as soon as I could, when I was 13, so I've always had a really strong work ethic. When I entered the world of, what you term as pay per hour work, the first opportunity, I worked in a Little Chef when I was 16. That was the summer after my GCSE's, and I got a moped to get me up the A303 to get there. I really enjoyed it. The pay was terrible, I was earning £2.50 an hour, but over the course of the summer I saved up for a stereo. It was great, there were no responsibilities then, it was just money. It was fun, and it was busy at times, but you could do the work.

Extending into jobs during my holidays at University, I quality controlled in a scotch egg factory, and it was there that I actually started to become aware of people that do these jobs full time, and they depend on those jobs for their living, and that when you are younger, you get some money, but you are still living at home, and you don't have the responsibilities, it's just spending money. When you connect work with responsibility, that’s when my questions around work started to arise.

So during my gap year, before I went to university and every holiday while I was at university, I worked as quality control in I think at the time, the country's largest manufacturer of scotch eggs. They made them for most of the supermarkets. It was a really interesting environment, you had the detachment of the people in the factory and the people in the offices that were symbolically and physically across the road. All of a sudden you start to see politics and process as well, and manufacturing. It's this dingy factory environment and there were people who never saw daylight, who would come in in the morning and work as much overtime as they could.

It was really interesting to see the people as much as the work itself, the way they interacted with each other. A lot of people lived very locally to the factory, and so they bought their outside lives into work and it was quite tribal as well. You'd have the radio going in the background, then all of a sudden, from nowhere, one particular song would come on, the whole place would erupt into one line of the chorus, from one song, and no one had told them to do that, but it's what they collectively picked up on. Then they'd go back to silence again. There were parents and their children coming through, and there were people who worked their whole career there, they started on the production line when they were 16 and by the time they were in the 50's they were production supervisors or something. It was part of the community, so everyone was really connected to it.

What I learnt at the scotch egg factory has always stayed with me. It was the first time I started considering the way organisations work, and probably not consciously at that time. One of the things that really struck me was over Christmas it would be really busy, demand for scotch eggs would go through the roof. There were 2 shifts in the factory, 6-2 and 2-10, and they had to extend those hours, you'd come in earlier or go home later, but they run for those times what they called full capacity. During the normal working day the lines would run, but they'd stop them at break times, so they'd stop the lines that were feeding the fryers, the stuff would come out the fryers the other end and everyone would stagger their breaks, but obviously the fryers stayed up to temperature for that time and there was a cost to keep those lines stagnant, but they weren't being used, because this was break time and everyone went.

Over Christmas they were so busy and had so much to do, they needed to run the lines constantly, all day at full capacity, so they brought the admin and the management staff out of the offices into the factory to cover breaks, so 15 minutes to an hour, they would be taking Scotch eggs off the line or pushing the eggs into the hoppers. They'd be getting insight into the factory floor, and it struck me even then, why didn't they work out a way that everyone contributed a bit, or they staggered everything so they could keep the lines running all the time anyway, then you wouldn't have the cost of having the fryers running, but equally the insight that the managers would get from coming and standing on a line for an hour a day would be so much more valuable than the spreadsheets and the whiteboards they just sat upstairs looking at all the time.

School and education

School experience was an interesting one, a very privileged school experience. I went to a small village primary school. There were about 120 kids in the school, middle of the countryside, and I loved it. I just loved everything about school. It was great. I loved all the extra activities, the sport, everything. I just had a great time, it was a  really close knit school as well. It was great.

And then I went to secondary school and through quite a big comprehensive school initially and I just lost the will to work. My interest waned, my interest in every subject waned. If I was given a project to do that I could get my teeth into I would enjoy it and I'd really immerse myself in it and I’d think creatively about it. But on day to day work I just didn't bother. So I kind of toiled there for two years. I wasn't horrifically disruptive but I started getting into a bit more trouble than I'd ever been in and I wasn't really progressing academically.

So my parents decided to try and get me a scholarship to get me into into a private school, which they did. I completely rebelled against it, I was convinced that private school was for posh people. So I went with a complete anti school thing and I think that stayed with me all the way through to sixth form. And I did everything I could do to bend the rules all the time. Looking back now I realize how privileged I was, I got to fly a plane, an aerobatics plane, I got music lessons, I played sport all the time, went sailing occasionally and had all these experiences that I just wouldn't have got anywhere else.

But at the time I was dead set against it the whole way through. Playing the system became quite a sport for myself and some of my friends and actually just being able to ask the question ‘why’. So one of the things I remember is when I was in the sixth form and just about to do my a-levels and things were kind of winding down, all the friends I had from state schools were just off on exam leave, they didn't have to go to school anymore. But I was expected to go, we had to go and sit in the classes during these structured revision times. But I found, actually I worked better on my own in my own time but I wasn't given that freedom to do it in my own way. There was a bank holiday and because it was a boarding school they always went in on bank holidays. I didn't go, and the next morning I went in and he deputy head cornered me asked me why, because it was it a bank holiday. I just said Yes and he just kind of stuttered and just went oh. There was no further repercussion. And I think it was that playing the system and bending the rules but without just being rebellious for the sake of naughtiness, a kind of constructive rebellion, and that's stayed with me forever.

So at A-levels I had a choice at 16. I hadn't done any arts based GCSE’s but I'd done what they call a non exam subject and I was told I could do an A level if I wanted. I was talked round that I should do academic subjects. I’m one of those people that doesn’t excel at anything in particular, I was just quite good at everything. So in one way it's nice that I had the choice of subjects but in the other it was quite restrictive because I was pressured quite hard to take the academic route. Not from home but from school.

They said I should be doing proper subjects, and so I turned down art and I did A-levels in geography, history and English literature. Geography I found really easy. I wouldn't say I enjoyed it, I could do it very easily and it was quite good. But history and english literature just didn't engage me at all. You know the kind of books I was studying in English, you know, Pride and Prejudice didn't turn me on. Dylan Thomas did at that time. I had a real interest in books and literature but not what I was being taught. I struggled with that. And history just didn't grab me at that stage.

So I did reasonably well in my A levels, and I was determined that I wasn't going to go to university, I decided I was going to go and do something else. My mum talked me round,  suggested we visit the open days, get some places at university so at least I had the choice. I went to a few open days and got places at good universities, I got offered a place LSE, London School of Economics to do population studies which is human geography with a bit of sociology attached. I had the place, I didn't I didn't really care because I wasn't going to go. And then I didn't quite get the a-levels I needed to take the place but I sent them a fax and just said look I've got the A in geography which is a relevant subject. Can you kind of ignore all the other results. They replied and said if you're having a gap year anyway reapply next year but we'll guarantee a place and you can come. I accepted the place with a view that I take a gap year and never go to uni. Then in my gap year I just messed about and didn't do anything constructive to progress an alternative. So I just kind of drifted into university.

During the summer we did our A-levels there was a news story of a guy who'd thrown himself off a cliff because he didn't get into LSE. I had kind of been in a privileged position to get a place from LSE without the grades and just by sending them a fax. There has always been this thing, this kind of recurring thing that keeps coming up for me, that people just kind of assume, you get told these are the grades you need, and if you don't get them you assume you're not in. But you know this guy ended his life and he could have just spoken to them and said, ‘What do I need to do to get in I really want to be there’, and there would have been a conversation. You don't need to assume that everything is the be all and end all as well. He just assumed that was that and that was him, and that has always stayed with me.

I don't know that I changed my mind about going to university. During my gap year I think I just drifted into university but I didn't have a particular ambition. If I’d have done an art A level when I was inclined to do it, I think I might have been driven to do graphic design. I've always had a hankering that I might have liked to have been an architect. But again that wasn't an option anymore.

Because of that, I wasn't driven in my gap year to pursue anything. I kind of thought I wanted to write, and I did some work experience at the Telegraph and the NME. My experiences of these workplaces were that they're not as exciting as they look in print. So I think I then drifted into university, I thought I'd go and give it a try. Within five weeks of being at University I remember sitting at home and just saying to my dad I don't want to go back. And he said well it's fine but what are you going to do instead. And I didn't have an option.

I said to a couple of my friends we should start a publishing company. And they were like, what even is that. How would you do it. And they kind of talked me down. So I just stayed at University and I think yeah I'm grateful for the fact I stayed. I think I don't think academically I got anything at all from university. But I got skills, personal skills. I think an understanding of presentation and speaking and social skills, I think I got a lot of that from university so I'm glad I went. I know some people who wish they'd never gone. I'm glad I went, but not necessarily because of the degree I got from it.

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By the time I finished university I had decided that I was going to start something on my own. So this is in the early 2000s, the Internet was only really just getting anywhere. But, I kind of decided I was going to start a music magazine because by that time I'd become so annoyed with things like the NME and what I saw as a real lowering of standards and quality, that I decided I was going to start an independent music magazine and take them all on.

I didn't really know about the kind of budget you would need to launch a national magazine. So I just went in with naivety and head first, then yeah I created a magazine called The Void, the independent music magazine for music lovers by music lovers. We had three issues distributing nationally, HMV sold it, borders sold it, various newsagents. I didn't make any money from it, I borrowed a lot of money from various sources for it for. I remember there was one stage where I organized a concert and I got a couple of bands who were featured to come and play a gig in Bournemouth. I hadn't promoted it properly and I lost about 400 quid that night. I'm was sitting there that night saying I can't do this anymore, I have to get a job.

So I decided, I was resigned to the fact that I messed this up, even though it was kind of going well. You look now, people are getting funding for social media platforms before they ever have any form of revenue. We had a little bit of revenue, just not enough for the outgoings, and I decided it's not viable, that it’s over. There wasn't this kind of avenue to funding that there is these days, so I just decided I have to get a job.

I was staying with my mum and dad in Bournemouth at the time. I just started buying the local paper, and a management job, a reasonably junior management job came up at Poole Hospital. I applied for it and literally just walked into it. It was a very staid environment, and I walked in in a suit that consisted of a pair of flares and the carnaby Street jacket. I was kind of a character and it kind of kind of blew their minds a little bit.

I took this job just to get myself back on track and when I was in the job we got another issue of the magazine out there. We always intended to do more with it but the money ran out and didn't really have an idea of how to bring the money back in. So from there I kind of flowed into what I would call a standard job. I very quickly found that within the NHS I could very quickly make my way up. I only worked at Poole Hospital for about eight or nine months before going on a family holiday in the summer and I just thought, I can't go back, it's destroying me, but I’d also decided I wanted to move to London.

When I started looking for jobs around London, it became very obvious that it would be really easy for me to get a job with the NHS and at least that would facilitate my move. So I became medical records manager for the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital. I was part of this redevelopment plan in stabilizing this horrific service and I did that for for about a year. This is where I started getting interested in the way organisations work because it was so miserable and it was so put upon and it was so hierarchical. Everyone was in kind of reverence to the doctors and it was so much bureaucracy and there were layers and layers of management and committee meetings that just, you couldn't understand why they needed to be there. Everyone was disengaged in their work. It was a very strange environment because at the same time they were doing world leading medical stuff.

I found out about the equivalent job for a lot more money and a bigger remit at Great Ormond Street Hospital. I applied for that and I got that, and funnily enough I found when I was there I quite enjoyed it. I found that they were a bit more progressive. But, we put together a plan for modernizing the service and digitizing medical records within that hospital. When we went to the board meeting get it cleared, I'd write the documents, the research, we’d find suppliers, we'd get a project team in place and get the money put to one side in the budget.

But every time you go right let's just do this, they'll always be someone that says just wait, we need to see where other hospitals have done this already. It would just put the dampers on everything because we were saying this is a new idea, we're going to be the ones that prove it and it's good for them to try. But in medical terms if a hospital messes up or loses some money on something admin based it would just you know if, it was at the time where nationally they were trying to make the electronic patient record system, and they wasted billions on it. So yes the dampers went on that and then I got headhunted to go to the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals to do exactly the same job but again for more money and a more senior band and literally I did the same there, I went through the motions for a year. I used probably the same documents that I used in Great Ormond Street, the essence of the same project, and had exactly the same experience where in the end the brakes went on.

At that stage my wife had just had our first child. We were living Muswell Hill and it was all really nice but a second floor flat in London with no parking space outside and no lift is great until you've got a pushchair. I had an opportunity to go and join my mum's recruitment company back down in the countryside. I didn't really know if I wanted to get involved in recruitment but I'd always had an idea that actually business of some description would be of interest to me, I've always been a bit entrepreneurial. So I thought, let's go and get involved. Let's go and get more space for our money down there.

We moved and I got there and realised I didn't like the recruitment industry. I didn't like what most companies did with people when they found them. I arrived literally the day the recession hit as well which didn't help things. It was an experience and if anything, it got me more and more interested in the way organizations work in the physical workplace and you know what you call employee engagement and company culture and those kind of things. And all of that culminated in me getting to a point where I thought I can't be in the recruiting company anymore, so I gave that back to my mum.

I then decided that I was going to put on an event just to see if there were other people talking about the same stuff as me or had the same interests. I had an idea and a credit card basically. And I just started having conversations to see what happened and I ended up with this event in 2014 called 'All about people'. It was a two day event with lots of different speakers and the only way I can describe it is like stepping into the wardrobe and finding Narnia behind it. It was a big awakening, oh wow, there are people out there doing this stuff already, it's actually happening. From there, that was kind of the catalyst for everything that then turned into my adventure in work for the last couple of years.

After the first AAP I came out with this feeling that something had happened. I went for a walk along the seafront with one of the attendees just after most people were gone, and he just looked at me and said ‘something happened there’, and I kind of felt the same. I went home and I was adamant I wasn't going back to the recruitment agency and started working out what to do next. I had an idea for what was going to be some kind of consultancy called My Amazing Team and I was putting a blueprint together for it and I just realised I didn't want to be a management consultant and I didn't really feel qualified to be one anyway.

I spent the summer working out what to do next and what my work would look like and how to launch this company. I started watching loads of TED talks about ideas like paying things forward and the art of asking and those kind of things. I was thinking a lot about my experiences in my career to date which had been kind of a stream of relatively unhappy positions that were largely unfulfilling for one reason or another. It made me think actually I had always been quite well paid, but that wasn't enough.

All of these things were going round my head when I went to a friend's barbecue. I was talking to a guy that I know slightly and was asking what he did for work. He told me that he'd been in his job for 10 years and he'd just been made production manager. I said congratulations and he went off on a rant about how it wasn't good. He said he hated the company, he hated the boss, he hated everything about it. I asked him why he did it and he said went to work for the same reason everyone one else does, because he quite likes some of the people he works with and would feel sorry for them if he left, but also to pay for the time he’s not at work.

It just struck me that actually, how many of us actually just go to work without kind of questioning, because it pays for the time we're not at work. I really got interested in how work affects us on a personal basis, how we assign value to the work we do and how that gets remunerated.

Before I knew it I'd announced to the world I was going to go and do a project for 12 months, where I would take myself out of all of the usual confines of work and see if I could find a way to put together a living in an alternative way. Basically I put myself out to the universe to see what would happen and that became the Work Project.

There were a lot of people who were really excited by what I was doing. But I very quickly found that I had no work, I had nothing to do. I bumped into someone I knew at Waterloo Train Station and he told me that he got the project, that everyone got the project, but no one actually understood how to employ me because they didn’t understand what I did. One of my premises was that I shouldn't have to put myself in a box. The whole point is it shouldn't be about what I do, it should be about what we could do together or how we collaborate. But actually, he did make a very valid point, our brains work on structures and if people can't assign you to a structure, ‘you're an accountant you do this’, they can't use you in any way because you just don't fit the system.

I started to try and define what I do a bit more. It's quite a personal journey actually. What did I do, what did I want to do if I was going to do any kind of work. I started some facilitation work and some consultancy work and doing some stuff around employee engagement. It was interesting stuff and nice to work with some really good company's. Parallel to that I started doing some experimentation with different types of work, so I was an art courier for a little bit, I worked in a dairy for a bit, I was an extra on Downton Abbey, just the more experimental side to try different types of work.

It kind of it got to a point eight months in where I thought, I don't need to go back now. I'm kind of self-sufficient and it's good, but then I found that I started thinking more about what this new adventure was lacking. I lacked a team and the work I was doing, I'd go into a company and do a tiny bit, or set them going on a project and then not have any ownership or be able to complete it with them, I felt quite detached.

I also started to take into account my home life, where I’d been running around for 12 months knowing what I was doing but my wife was sitting at home looking at the bank account going 'there's no money there' and I'd be saying "I know I know where the next bit is coming from it's fine". Being out there on your own anyway whether you're freelance or however you work is a kind of a rollercoaster. You know you have the euphoric highs but then you know the really low lows, when you know things don't go your way. I realised that there was a real lack of stability and that started playing on me.

I thought what I would really like to do was design my own career. I had all these other ideas I was doing, I started to chase ideas, and because I needed to make ends meet I would jump from one idea to another without seeing one through because I thought that might make money more quickly. I was always kind of jumping between things and not seeing things through because I was looking for the next paycheck. Actually they were all really good ideas and all things that I wanted to do. But at that time I wasn't doing them because I wanted to, I was doing them because I needed to make money. It became apparent that if I can have a part time job that covered my bills, then it would open all the other stuff that I wanted to do because I wanted to do them. That would also mean I would do them properly.

As all of this emerged I was introduced to an architect's company called BDG. I spoke to them about the kind of consultancy work I was doing at that time, was very much about creating human workplaces or connecting people with their work. I was doing a lot of change management and helping people connect with the organization. What BDG do is design and create workplaces based on the people, so they don't design to make it look pretty then try and plug people into it, they design on the people.

It was a really nice parallel and the missing link to what I was doing. We had a lot of conversations and we realised that it was well aligned and what they were missing was this people piece. When companies invest in these really expensive workplaces, the change affects people in different ways and there's quite a psychology to it. Even if you can see a change in workplace or work style is really positive, it still mixes you up a bit. You could go to a more agile way of working and it can seem great. But that first day when you're thinking, but I used to sit next to that person I don't know how my relationship with the team is anymore.

So that's the start of 2016 where I have ended up, I’ve got this semi portfolio career that's just starting to take shape. I started working with BDG and it's still very early days there, but I'm also running All About People again this year, but with a proper plan. I’ve taken some coaching, i've got a really nice coach who I meet once a month just to help me get stuff in perspective. It’s really helped me crunch down a plan, and one of the first things I realized that all these different ideas I had were all actually part of the same thing. I was half heartedly attempting to build a different audience for each one of these things, and when I looked at it, the audience is the same. I was trying to build the same audience in about five different places, and failing all of it. It's made me realise that All About People is the platform for all of it.

The point of my work beyond money is about making work more human for others. I connect people with work and I make organisations more human. I just think that the stuff I'm interested in and the insight I've got from these various and strange experiences means I see companies in a very different way to a lot of people. And because of that I haven't had a career where I've accepted the system. I’ve always been happy to question it, I think it's put me this position where I'll continue questioning it. In doing that I can help people get something from work.

If we are going to always be accessible, always on, how are we going to balance that and make work as good as it can be, so that our own personal impact in the workplace is as good as it can be. That will make the organizations we work for better, but equally that needs to work for us so that work's impact on us isn't a negative one.

Stress is an interesting word, I've had periods of intense stress, but usually around my slightly, I wouldn't say frivolous approach to money because that sounds like I have a lot of money that I throw around, but my kind of disregard for structure and saving and doing all the sensible things you are supposed to do.

For me it's always more about having an adventure and everything else will sort itself out in my wake. I try to avoid stress when I can, sometimes it hits but when it hits I try to notice and deal with it. During the Work Project I went through quite an intense few months of anxiety and a really big period of self doubt. Then as work started to come in, that self doubt and worry about getting more work in, I let it consume me, and it turned into anxiety. I was getting things like a twitchy face, things that I couldn't control.

I wore a Fitbit and it got to the point where having the Fitbit on was driving my anxiety, because I was constantly checking how many steps I'd done in a day and what my heart rate was. There just came a point where I think I'd stressed myself into illness, from blind panic and I just closed everything down. I was like "I don't care about fitbit anymore, I know I live a reasonably active life, that's fine". I re-connected myself with the world, and actually now I've been through that I'm nicely reconciled and I try to avoid stress.

When I’m stressed I quite like to go for a walk or something, a bit of exercise or a run always does the world of good and a good night’s sleep always helps. It's very easy to do, and again going back to this idea that we are always switched on and always online, sometimes you can be waiting for a response from someone, you can drive yourself round the bend. But actually, turn your phone off and go to bed, or watch a film and go for a run, just forget about it, because there is nothing you can do. If you've done all you can do about a situation, there is nothing more you can do. All you can do after that is switch off, and then see how it looks after a good night’s sleep.

I have four children and we live in the countryside, my youngest is about to go to school in September. They're reaching the point where they need to be at clubs and then they have the things they need to do at the weekends. You just have to assume it's chaos and go with it. We mess about a lot and we don't take it too seriously. My approach to parenting is about the same as my approach to work, not to take it too seriously. I have a more structured working day now. I'm out of the house a lot more, so as much as I try and get more time at home, my wife is the one who takes the kids to school in the morning and brings them home, takes them to Cubs, beavers, swimming. She's constantly on the go every day just as much as I am.

In terms of me going out and doing stuff that brings in a more regular income or salary, that's the logical choice. She does the running around which is tailored to two ends of the day around school. Once the kids are dropped she then has time in the middle of the day where she can catch up with other stuff and then find some time to do her painting. We trade off on the weekends if one of us needs to catch up on something, but we try and do stuff as a family unit.

I don't know what a day off actually is. I don't know because my work and life are one thing. I don't do relaxing very well, a day off is probably running around with the kids or something, going for a nice long walk. Everything's kind of interwoven because my work is kind of like my hobbies and I fit in exercise and things around all of that. I don't get to the end of a working week and say I really need to sit down at the weekend because actually it's all just kind of my life. I've just luckily managed to find a balance where I do what I do because I want to do it.

What are the qualities of a life fully lived? Just make sure you have no regrets. If you want to do something, do it and don't wait. Don't just have a big list of things that you want to do at some point. There's going to be some restrictions, some of the things you might want to do you might need to save up for or find a way to do it.

I look at people who save heavily for retirement and don't do anything. What if you get ill when you're 50 you can’t quite make it and you've got a couple hundred grand to cover a retirement that never happens. Just live for the moment, find a way to do it.