Arabella Gibson

CEO Gidget Foundation Australia

Roles in life and work:

In life I am a wife to Andrew, who runs his own businesses; and a mother to twins, a boy named Stirling (he is listed first as was born 1 minute ahead of his sister – a major bone of contention!) and a girl named Honor. They are 7 years old and at the perfect age where I just want to press the pause button. I am also the home maker (I hate that word!), keeping our house running smoothly and efficiently. And a fur mumma to Chessie, our blue tri border collie.

In work I am the CEO of Gidget Foundation Australia, a national charitable organisation that supports new parents with their emotional wellbeing, providing psychological services, as well as driving awareness of perinatal depression and anxiety. In recent years we have grown substantially and we now have a wonderful team of staff and over 30 psychologists to support people in need.

What are you juggling right now in your life?

Ha! Too much, of course. As well as working full time, this year, I am also class mum for two Year 2 classes and playing Netball each weekend. Just because I work doesn’t mean I want to miss out on some of those younger school years so I work flexibly to make up the time needed to do this. And Netball is my only real exercise outlet. If I didn’t do it, I don’t think I would ever exercise FULL STOP! I’m also racing round for weekend kids sport and picking up from after school activities. Just like all parents, the to do list is never-ending.

How do you value your time?

Time is the one thing I never have enough of. I used to be very much a ‘yes’ person but slowly I have developed the ability to assess whether things are practical to our lives and whether we can truly manage ‘more’. If we can’t then I am honest about that and realise that it’s better to say no up-front rather than feel guilt and stress down the track!

Last year, I hiked 135km’s from Cape to Cape in WA to fundraise for the Gidget Foundation. We had a small group of really top girls and it was the most amazing ‘me’ experience. I’ve decided I am going to try and do a hike like this at least every second year from now on. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done – super tough mentally and physically – but awesome.

How do you manage your time effectively?

I am a big planner. And I have a lot of help. With both my husband and I working long hours, we need support to keep all the balls in the air. We have a wonderful nanny who the twins love like a family member. We have a weekly planner on the wall with detailed notes and, between us all, everything seems to mostly work unless sickness enters the mix and then the dominoes roll… fast! Our son has severe asthma so complications with that always comes first.

We also have a lovely local girl who walks Chessie regularly so that takes the load off on the crazy mutt doing garden laps! And Andrew makes breakfast every day whilst I do all the other early morning chores. It’s taken a while but we seem to be a pretty well oiled machine these days.

How do you separate work and personal time?

I struggle. I regularly find myself reading emails while putting the twins to bed at night. I am regularly not present. And I spend a lot of late nights trying to clear the inbox so I can spend weekdays actually ‘doing’. But weekends I really try to ensure are just time for us as a family. I also indulge in a massage each week if possible as I find this resets me both physically and mentally. Contrary to most people, I don’t wind down in a massage but instead my brain sharpens and I think more clearly. I regularly come out of a massage with a refreshed perspective on things that may be on my mind.

What kind of conversations do you have with your inner voice?

For a start, I think my brain is constantly having conversations with itself! I often feel quite anxious in certain situations so I have to remind myself to make the complex simple. I do feel the pressure of having a never ending to do list so it’s important to have perspective and remind myself that I can achieve things at a slower rate. Like everyone, I have annoying moments of self doubt. But there’s a great quote by Oscar Wilde that I often think of “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”

Do you have any time saving tips for the One P community?

In work I believe that the telephone is a very under-utilised device! Picking up the phone can alleviate a 10 email round robin (along with confused nuances). And it helps in building rapport to have a chat and a laugh. I do try to minimise meetings and schedule them in blocks so that I get full days of meetings and full days of none (so that you actually have a chance to execute the work that comes from them!).

I also have another little mantra: “There’s no time like the present”. If it’s a quick easy job, just get it done. Then it’s off the list!

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