Episode Archive

SCP E40: (Part 2) Education and Life Design for Smart Citizens

In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I finish off my conversation with teacher turned entrepreneur, Ellen Ronalds Keene. Part 1 of our chat is in episode 39, where you’ll hear about what Ellen’s passionate about and why she thinks the Smart City Concept is so important. In this episode (Part 2), Ellen shares a really interesting perspective on integrating across the different disciplines. We also have an insightful discussion around being the CEO of your own life and how this fits into the Smart City Space. As always, I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • What Ellen believes is preventing integration across disciplines, industry, government
  • Why we should take care of our human workforce the same way we do our valuable vehicles
  • The concerning emerging trend of worker burnout
  • The importance of making life changes gradually over time
  • Using technology to make lives slower, which in turn can make them better
  • Why working less and living more is an emerging trend we should be talking about
  • The problem with ‘it will never happen’ thinking and the power of life design
  • Being the CEO of your own life
  • How the flexible work options facilitated by the internet allow people to tailor work options to suit their needs


“I’m yet to find a person that has a job that doesn’t feel like they’re at capacity…The problems with burnout are not exclusive to teachers. It’s becoming a modern disease.”

“It’s really hard to keep adding to people’s plates, and saying ‘you’re already at capacity, or just trying to survive. Now we expect you to do this next level thing of integrating and communicating more.’”

“I think it’s very difficult to do that integration piece without intentionally taking other things off the plates of the people that are trying to do the integration piece because it requires so much thinking, and mental and emotional and physical energy to do that communication.”

“You need to put petrol in your car for it to keep going (until we have electric cars) and that’s the everyday maintenance. But you also need to be taking the car to a mechanic every six months to get it serviced. That’s the extra level maintenance. If you skip that piece, you can keep putting petrol in the car but eventually the car’s going to break down…[Cars] need maintenance, and human beings do as well. We don’t want to ruin these amazing assets that are our human brains and human bodies simply through a rush to get something done more quickly or a lack of awareness [about burnout/wellbeing].”

“I think burnout is something that we’re not talking about enough. I do see it as an emerging trend in many industries, and it’s not the good kind of trend.”

“People are choosing slow living, choosing to have less, live with less, and that includes less stress and less workload and less commuting because they’ve made some intentional, proactive choices that are a bit counter-cultural at the moment but they are in response to the emerging trend of the rate race that life has kind of become.”

“Rather than using technology to do more, we could actually use technology to chill out more…Technology can create leisure for us.”

“[People say] ‘It seems a long way off, so we won’t even try. That’ll never happen.’ It might happen but it might take you 5 years of gradual changes to get there. But we’re so addicted to the quick fix idea.”

Links and resources:


Connect with Ellen via email: ellen@ellenronaldskeene.com or ellen@selfcareforteachers.com.au or via Facebook @ellenronaldskeene or @selfcareforteachers. She’s also on Twitter and LinkedIn, but not very active on either platform!

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

Podcast Production by Perk Digital


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