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Staying Fit at Fifty: Why I’m Lacing up the Running Shoes Again

In a nice touch of serendipity, Delmec and I are both celebrating the milestone of turning fifty. That half a century has treated us both well, but just as the company has to evolve and adapt for the future, so too does its CEO.

That means taking a look at my work / life balance to see if I can make adjustments to better focus on what really matters — and stay in shape for the next exciting decades to come.

A world of distractions

The New York Times recently interviewed writer Johann Hari, whose latest book, ‘Stolen Focus’ investigates “how our brains have been broken by technology.” He says we typically focus on a given task for just three minutes and we touch or check our phones more than 2,000 times every day, devoting at least three hours to staring at our screens. 

While the jury’s out about who’s at fault — Big Tech or personal willpower? — the impact of this “attention crisis” is undeniable. At an executive level, it can negatively affect a leader’s ability to effectively strategise, plan and execute goals. For this reason as much as any others, I’m working hard this year to carve out time to think, rather than act. This might mean ringfencing deep focus slots in my schedule, minimising my digital use at home, or going for a run with my phone in airplane mode. 

Lockdown lessons

While I normally travel a great deal as part of my work with Delmec, I was fortunate to spend the lockdown periods in my Carlow home, nestled in the Irish countryside. With no planes to catch or commutes to complete, I had more time to explore my surroundings with my family. When my schedule allowed, I often slipped out for a quick run by the River Barrow. 

While it was a different time, the experience taught me that it’s okay to take the time to breathe in some fresh air, get the legs pumping and come back to the desk energised for the rest of the day. Now that our schedules have ramped up again, it’s easy to think a lunchtime run is no longer possible, but it is — I just have to keep my trainers within eyesight in the office.

Keeping fit for the future 

When I was a younger man, I didn’t have to think about keeping fit — daily site visits and weekend sports took care of that. Now that I’m older, I’m aware that I have to put a bit of work into staying hale and hearty for years to come. Delmec is at an exciting stage in its trajectory, expanding into new markets, capabilities and opportunities. We’ve recently acquired FocusPlus, established a separate service (Del-Urban Streetworks Solutions), and tripled our operations over the last three years. The sense of promise in the company is tangible, and I’m determined to match my team’s energy, step by step, as we push forward into the exciting journey ahead.

I’m also conscious of enjoying every minute I can with my family, from kicking a ball around to taking hikes into the Carlow hills. You have to stay fit to keep up with a tireless teenager, and that’s motivation enough for me! 

With all of this to consider, I’m making 2023 the year that I focus on getting the most out of my body and mind. And that starts with lacing up the running shoes again.

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