Balancing the Grind with Adam O’Neill, Country Director, Australia at Public AI

Meet Adam O’Neill, the Country Director for Australia at Public AI. In our conversation, Adam takes us on a journey through his diverse career, spanning several continents and challenging roles.

From crafting global communications strategies in London to leading the charge in AI technology in Sydney, Adam’s path is marked by innovation and adaptability. He shares his insights on managing the demands of a high-powered role while maintaining personal well-being.

Adam opens up about his approach to balancing a bustling career with life’s other passions, his early morning routines for staying focused, and how he carves out time for personal health and family in a demanding schedule.

Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?

I love what I do and it’s helped me to create a life where I’ve lived and travelled around the world. Currently based in Sydney as Country Director for Public AI and working back, I’ve spent the last decade in Australia working with Media agencies and clients in consulting and corporate roles. Prior to that I was based in Seoul, South Korea where I launched GroupM and built a team of really passionate marketers.

Prior to that I was in London for almost 5 years working on Global Communications Planning for Unilever then LG Electronics travelling back and forth between London, NY and Seoul. On the travel front prior to London I lived and worked onboard a 126m private motor yacht travelling around the world a couple of times with extended time in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and South Pacific. 

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?

I’m not sure why but for the past 3 months or so I’ve been going to bed around 10-11 and waking up without an alarm at around 5-6am. It might be diet and exercise and that I don’t need that much sleep, or it might be stress or FOMO but either way I’ve felt like I have a much better use of time, the ability to focus, and ensure that health & exercise play an important part of my daily routine. When work and stress takes too much of that time it’s counterproductive and ends up becoming a downward spiral.

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

My personal view is there’s no such thing as work-life balance, it’s all a perception of motivation, curiosity, passion + interests. Probably misappropriating this quote, but if you love what you do you never work a day in your life.

Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?

Take time for yourself, exercise, prioritise your physical and mental health as these are the most important, when these are right the work and everything else will fall into place.

We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?

There is so much noise out there, ignore most of it. I’m not going to make recommendations because I don’t know who is reading this. I guess just try and find someone or a philosophy that resonates with you and give it a try, be consistent and put it into practice. No person or guru or mentor can solve your challenges. You have to find those solutions within yourself.

Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work” Thomas Edison 

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.