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Balancing the Grind with Amy Farr-Jones, Director of Growth Marketing at WayUp

Amy Farr-Jones is the Director of Growth Marketing at WayUp, a platform for early-career professionals to explore opportunities, receive advice, and get discovered by employers.

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

Hello, I’m Amy, I am the Director of Growth Marketing at WayUp, a platform for early career candidates to be matched with jobs and internships working at the intersection of user acquisition, data and brand. It’s my job to really understand our users, their motivations and needs and strategise how we can get in front of them at the right time during their job search. 

After graduating from Sydney University, I moved to New York with my older sister. It’s here that I was lucky enough to fall into the consumer tech/growth world. I am sure a lot of foreigners who require visa sponsorship can relate, when you move across the world and have a few months to lock in a position you will almost take an opportunity with a company that will give you a crack.

I was fortunate enough to be offered a full-time marketing position at a company called PINCHme where I started my career in tech. 

I am now back in Sydney, still working alongside my team at WayUp but on a totally opposite schedule — and somehow, we make it work! 

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

Working for a US-based company has meant I have naturally become a morning person. I am out of bed by 5:30, have finished my first coffee by 5:45 and am on my first zoom by 6. After 3 hours of back to back meetings, catching up with my team and aligning on priorities I am able to plan out my day.

I am passionate about collaboration and empowering my team, so my internal meetings often revolve around supporting my colleagues, removing blockers and strategising our next action. 

I am a big fan of time blocking, so having all my meetings in one 3 hour chunk works incredibly well for me. After that, I contextualise all tasks and action items that have come out of those meetings by logical vs creative work as I have found that when I try to do both kinds of tasks together my brain turns to mush very quickly. 

By 9 am I usually like to break things up and take Ralph our Golden Retriever out for a wander and a swim, grab a coffee or do a Peloton ride.

My daily tasks vary every day from scoping new partnership or channel growth opportunities to analysing numbers and performance from previous campaigns to redesigning new landing pages. I focus my efforts on how our team can continue to experiment and make optimisation to what is currently working to increase WayUp’s user growth and retention. 

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

I’ve been fortunate enough to work remotely for almost 2 years. That alone has given me the opportunity to design my routines and work schedule in a way that gives emphasis to things that bring me joy. 

I love the flexibility of being able to walk down to the beach for a lunchtime swim if it’s a nice day or enjoy afternoon tea with my 93-year-old grandmother. Obviously, the challenge with so much flexibility is the constant battle to stay productive and accountable to the tasks and projects that need to get done.

I use a bunch of productivity apps that restrict social media browsing and help with strategising my days, by encouraging me to schedule focused work time in advance. One of my favourite platforms is Focusmate which allows me to block time to work and pairs me with an accountability partner for live, virtual coworking sessions. 

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

My brother in law shared this quote from Anthony Bourdain the other day which really hit home for me. 

“Eat at a local restaurant. Get the cream sauce. Have a cold pint at 4 o’clock in a mostly empty bar. Go somewhere you’ve never been. Listen to someone you think may have nothing in common with you. Order the steak rare. Eat an oyster. Have a negroni. Have two. Be open to a world where you may not understand or agree with the person next to you, but have a drink with them anyways. Eat slowly. Tip your server. Check in on your friends. Check in on yourself. Enjoy the ride.”

This quote was a reminder for me to take a step back and enjoy my life and the people around me. Every single person spends so much time “working”, that it seems counterintuitive that you’d spend your life doing work that you hate, while also trying to create work-life balance. 

Try to focus on things that you love, that bring you joy and align with your purpose. I, for one, love learning and feel incredibly fulfilled and motivated by new insights that I can share with others so I always create space for this through listening to new podcasts, reading books or taking a course.  

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

In the past 12 months, I have become much more consistent with daily journaling. I added a few automation on my iPhone to remind me to reflect at different points of my day. My daily journaling begins with a 6 am notification prompting me to answer “what’s one thing I need to do to make myself feel that today is a great day”.

I was inspired to start this daily practice after listening to one of Jay Shetty’s On Purpose podcasts where I resonated with his experience of feeling unfulfilled or empty even after checking everything off your to-do list. Often there is just one thing that you could have done in a day for yourself that can make the day feel like a success.

Those things for me range from spending 10 minutes in the morning having a coffee practising gratitude, checking in on a friend I haven’t spoken to in a while, getting a workout in before lunch, spending some time in nature free from technology or taking time out of my day to pray.

It is interesting that what I choose time and time again is not things that I naturally gravitate towards like watching TV or scrolling through social media, but rather, things that make me reflect, take a step back and make me grateful for the life I live. 

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

Favourite newsletter: Julian Shapiro’s Demand Curve Growth Newsletter

Fiction: Just finished reading Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library and loved it! 

Non-fiction: David Allen’s Getting Things Done guides most of my productivity habits. 

Podcast: Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead podcast inspires me to have difficult conversations and lead from a place of vulnerability.

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

Notion — is my all in one personal productivity solution aka my second brain. To me, it’s a product that meets a need that no other product does with relational databases, flexibility with creating workflows and the ability to customise aesthetics.

My kettle — 5 am zoom calls require me to be heavily caffeinated. I don’t know where I’d be without my kettle. 

Kindle — when I am in a reading phase I can’t live without my Kindle. It’s such a simple device that truly makes reading more enjoyable and convenient. Pairing that with the Readwise app means I am able to go back over the highlighted notes that I make and retain quotes that inspire me. 

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

She started from scratch and has now become the second richest woman in Australia. The story of Canva’s CEO and founder, Melanie Perkins is one of hard work, grit and determination and continues to amaze me.

I would love to read about Melanie’s work-life balance as I believe that her values extend far beyond simply turning a profit for the business. I am particularly inspired by her generosity and commitment to philanthropic causes around the world.  

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

We live in a world where it is far too easy to compare your life to someone else’s and make decisions based on the outcome of another person’s story. I try to remind myself to stay focused on showing up authentically for myself and the people around me and only comparing myself to who I was yesterday, continuing to take baby steps that compound towards noticeable change. 

I’d remind you to continue to reflect on the work that you find meaningful and fulfilling and stay focused on your own journey. Everyone has unique values and motivations. Keep your eyes on things that align with your individual beliefs and don’t take life too seriously.

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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.