What CEOs Do When They're Not At Work

09/09/2015 10:50 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Kaz Chiba via Getty Images
Bahamas, two businessmen meditating on beach, rear view

In this day and age, everyone’s busy. We carry work around in our pockets and it’s hard enough making the time to catch up with your own bed, let alone take up a hobby or escape for a weekend away.

But, according to a new survey from Eventbrite, these out-of-work experiences are becoming increasingly important to Australians in order to achieve a healthy work/life balance.

The independent survey revealed 67 percent of Australians interviewed consider experiencing new things as an essential element to living a fulfilled life. Furthermore, the majority of those interviewed prefer to experience new things, with only eight percent stating they'd rather own things instead.

So how far does this attitude extend up the corporate ladder? The Huffington Post Australia spoke to some professionals at the top of their game to find out their thoughts on work, well-being, and what they do to unwind.

Martin Hosking, CEO and founder of Redbubble

“When we got back from the US in 2001, we bought a farm outside of Melbourne. That’s where I switch off."

"When I get up to the farm, although I’m still working, the physical work is so significantly different to what I do during the week. I find it extremely relaxing, but it also requires focus and attention.”

“If you’re using a chainsaw or driving a tractor, you have to be focused, but that puts you in the present moment. Any concerns or worries you have, you can’t afford to have them around you. It’s inherently relaxing. I think it’s the same reason why people why go rock climbing or engage in other dangerous sport -- it forces you to be present.”

“I think it’s important to switch off. In the start-up world, [work] is all you do, and while giving 110 percent sounds like a good idea in theory, you lose perspective. That last 30 percent, you might not be as productive as you think.”

“It is harder during the week to switch off. For me, during the week, exercise and meditation are very important.”

Charlie Wood, Country Manager of Dropbox Australia

“My downtime is something I have become very protective about over the years and increasingly so. I have a young family and we live up in Avalon -- that was a conscious decision, to not live in the city -- because while it means I have to get up at five in the morning, when I get home, I get home early. During the week, always before dinner.”

“I have three kids and a little puppy, so I like to muck around with those guys. We also get into a lot of water stuff -- sailing, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding.”

“I’m also into a lot of skiing and ski mountaineering. Silly skiing -- I’ve had both my knees rebuilt. I’ve climbed up mountains in Antarctica only to ski down them. I have a very small group of friends who enjoy doing those types of things with me. My wife knows what’s happening when I start talking to these idiots.”

“The theme I’m getting at here with activities such as skiing, is when you’re in the moment you’re in the moment. You don’t have any time for that internal dialogue, and quieting down that internal dialogue actually gives you that break. You’re not thinking about your emails or work or the next deal -- it’s a complete break for myself. I don’t want it to be pretentious -- it’s a hell of a lot of bloody good fun -- but I feel myself feeling quite relaxed afterwards."

“I think in any modern corporate job with any responsibility, it’s very easy, with having this great technology which is mobile, to be online constantly. And that will very quickly eat away into your [relaxation] time if you don’t protect it.”

Lauren Williams, CEO of CarsGuide

“In my down time, I try to fit in some exercise time, spend time with my husband, baby and friends and have a few glasses of wine! In terms of exercise I do a combination of running, spin class, Pilates and ocean swimming -- weather permitting. In summer I also volunteer at North Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club as a lifesaver.”

“The benefits of fitness are obvious. Keeping fit is a great stress-buster for me, plus helps me sleep better and calms my busy brain. In terms of how I got started with surf lifesaving, when I moved back from England I was looking to get involved with my local community so I joined the North Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club and I also started ocean swimming. I love surf lifesaving because I believe it's important to give back to the community, plus I get to enjoy the beach at the same time.”

“Keeping fit and giving back to the community personally makes me feel good about myself and really boosts my motivation. It helps me unwind, clear my mind and it gives me time for me, which I don't get often. It allows me to focus on me rather than the business or my baby and helps keep me sane.”

“Unplugging from work can be difficult, however it can have long-term benefits that inspire and refresh you and in turn, make you a better leader. It's extremely important. Giving yourself some space from work and taking a step back from technology can be a rewarding experience that allows you to appreciate the world around you and to bring a new perspective to your business approach.”

“When you run a business you're intrinsically intertwined with that business and the success of it, so it can be difficult to switch off. Your business is essentially part of who you are and it's very hard to separate yourself from that.”

“I do try to unplug and be mindful of what I'm doing. I try to make sure I'm taking time and focusing on important things in life like my family and my friends, but it can be hard to create a boundary between work and home, depending on what is going on at work.”

Chris Strode, Founder of Invoice2Go

“My favourite hobby is definitely snowboarding. I also like boats, jet skiing, playing with the kids, jogging, going to the gym. Hiking, I love to hike. And going to the beach.”

“I think you’ve got to have the right balance. You’re not going to get the most out of your work if that’s all you’re doing.

“I don’t think anyone in their work -- if there is a creative component to it -- is going to get their creative ideas when they are sitting in the office. In my experience you have them out of the office and you execute them when you get into the office.”

“Consistency is better than having spikes. It’s much better than punching out six weeks solid at work and the crashing. It’s important to refresh.”

“I think it’s something you’ve got to constantly work on -- giving yourself that time. As people’s businesses get more involved, they really have to be conscious of the fact, if you’re not functioning at 100 percent then it’s costing the business.”

“You might be better off saying I need six weeks off to reset my brain because that’s going to pay off over the next 12 months. Those decisions take a lot of courage sometimes, but the payoff is worth it.”

More On This Topic