Jon Gildea - December 2015
Posted on Friday 11th of December 2015.
I don’t often talk about how I manage to balance the different sides of my life and make sure I fit in all of the important aspects. I am a husband to my wonderful wife Kelly, Dad of two great kids, Jorja 8 and Ted 4, Partner at my Openwork firm - Money & Mortgages, Financial Adviser for the last 17 years and full time member of the British Cycling Team for the past year. Unlike most of my British Cycling Team mates I have continued to work and run a successful business with the help of some great business partners and staff not to mention my fantastic wife.
I’m constantly swapping persona from the Adviser to the Sportsman and doing my best to keep each area segregated so I can give 100% to whatever I am doing at that time. That’s not to say that sometimes when I am riding I find my other work creeping into my head and vice versa when I am sat at my desk. From time to time I do have a bit of an identity crisis, especially if someone asks me ‘what do you do?’ I tend to struggle for a starting point which I suppose is a great position to be with so much going on in my life and such big goals to strive for.
I have learned some valuable lessons since my journey began with my cycling career, the main one being time management.
As the intensity of training increased and the demands of cycling became more and more I started to really struggle to balance all of the areas of my life. I felt constantly under pressure to keep the plates spinning at work, train to the levels that I needed to whilst putting big chunks of time to one side to race internationally for weeks on end ... Not to mention spending quality time with my wife and kids.
I had no choice other than start to evaluate the time I was effectively wasting. I now use the method of dividing my life into 3 main areas, Cycling, Family & Work and allowing all of the other areas to sit in the background. I work as far in advance with my diary as possible, colour coding each of the 3 areas and marking each task off methodically as I do it. I make sure to say thank you each day for everything that is important in my life which I find puts me in a positive ‘can do’ mind-set. I much prefer to have a list of things I ‘want’ to do than ‘have’ to do! By challenging the things that I normally took for granted and thinking why am I doing this? What is the point of this meeting? If something doesn’t add value, I no longer do it.
For me focus is key to being successful and I know that I can achieve a lot in a short period of time if I put my focus in the right place. I now have my home as my base for work, going into the office in Manchester just once a week for any meetings. This cuts out the daily commute saving me time whilst minimising distractions while I am working in my home office. I make sure to hand over as much responsibility as I can to others so I can spend the maximum amount of time training and recovering. I routinely plan quality time in with my wife and kids and I try my best to make sure my head is with them rather than on training or work. The key thing to being successful in each area of my life is ‘living in the moment’ and giving each area 100% at that time. It’s taken me a while to get this point and it requires constant tweaking to keep all the plates spinning effectively.
I have to say that none of what I have achieved so far would have been possible without my wife, who has stepped up and gone above and beyond with the support she provides from organising everything at home to making sure my food and diet is as it should be. Without Kelly there’s no way I would be able to juggle what is effectively 2 full time jobs at the same time.