Balancing the Grind with Adrian Jung, Head of Production at Leo Burnett

Adrian Jung is the Head of Production & Workflow at Leo Burnett Australia, one of the largest agency networks in the world.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

My first full-time job was actually working as a sports bookie. I got promoted into the role after working part-time at a betting agency in my university days.

I was a bit of a late bloomer, it took me a few years to really find a profession I loved. I initially went to university to become a civil engineer, then switched over to graphic design (I was probably one of the last QuarkXpress students), which I completed before adding a Business (Marketing) diploma to my CV.

Following this, I worked as a graphic designer for four years but then moved on as an account manager at a direct mail company managing a portfolio of advertising agencies. It was here where my lucky break into the world of advertising production came when a client offered me a role to join their agency as a print producer. I jumped at the chance and have never looked back.

For the past 13 years, I’ve worked at the biggest and most creative advertising agencies in Australia. My current role is Head of Production & Workflow at Leo Burnett Australia, overseeing every piece of work that goes to market plus managing the agency operations across producers, content creators, digital designers, developers, finished artists, editors, motion designers and workflow managers.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

My alarm sounds at 6.30am. I wake up Maggie (she’s my bulldog) and take her for a walk to the dog park. I then make a coffee and have breakfast whilst catching up on the latest COVID-19 updates. By 7.45am, I am either in the car and off to the office or sitting down at my home setup.

By 8am, I’m reviewing and actioning my daily priorities set the night before. My morning is mainly spent on video calls ensuring our work and resources are tracking through the agency as planned.

The first call is with our team of producers to workshop any daily challenges, the second call is with the business leads and workflow managers, re-organising resources to align with the clients priorities, and the third call is with our multimedia studio manager, to track what is being delivered each day. On Monday’s we also do an all-staffer at 9.30am and a management meeting at 11am.

I’ll regularly meet a production partner for lunch as it’s important to make sure we’re up-to-date with what is happening in the production world; who’s doing great work, who should we be working with and what services will improve the craft of our product.

In the afternoon, I’ll dive into the more challenging projects by scoping and budgeting new concepts or supporting the teams in the delivery stage. I’ll then finish my work day by writing my list of daily priorities for the next day.

After work, I’ll connect with friends on the phone driving home then spend the evening with my wife and dog, usually eating dinner together by 7.30pm.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Definitely. At Leo Burnett, we call it ‘Liberte’, a flexible framework centred around six behaviours. The approach acknowledges that where I work, the hours I work, and how I work to perform my role are all unique to me as an individual, rather than working with one set of flexible rules for all.

For me, it enables me to work from home a few days a week; days where I need to focus on a specific project or task. But more importantly, it allows me to spend more time with my wife in the morning and evenings by removing the need to commute.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

It means I have the ability to switch off when I’m not at work or working. We’ve never been more connected and gone are the days where you leave a desk, landline and computer behind. Connectivity is a great thing, but not at the cost of social capital.

Considering which app notifications you have turned “on” versus “off” really allows me to achieve that balance: it gives me control over what I see and when.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I’ve definitely been eating a little healthier. Starting and finishing my day at home has given me more time to consider and plan meals rather than the take-away that comes with late nights in the office.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Whenever I fly there’s always one thing I tune into which is part of the Qantas inflight entertainment. Talking Business with Alan Kohler, a podcast where Alan interviews business leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators about their careers and businesses. There’s some really interesting people and businesses featured.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

The weather app. I probably check it three times a day for three different locations. Not quite a product or gadget, I also wouldn’t be able to live without my notebook.

Throughout my whole career, I’ve made a ‘daily priorities list’ at the end of each day, for the day ahead. It’s the last thing I do before clocking off each day to set me up for the next.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Tiger Woods. What a champion. What a disaster. What a comeback. To read how he manages his work-life balance would be something I’d definitely read.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

The working day has never been so open to change, capitalise on it to make both your working day and life a richer experience.

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.