Interviews / Journalists / Writers

Balancing the Grind With Aimee Chanthadavong, Journalist & Content Producer

Aimee Chanthadavong is a print and online journalist, currently working as a Senior Journalist at and Senior Writer at Espresso Communications.

After getting a taste of publishing life, interning at a number of lifestyle titles including YEN magazine and Australian Traveller magazine, Aimee dabbled in editing and writing for several B2B titles, before launching RetailBiz magazine in 2011.

Balance the Grind spoke to Aimee about her journalism background and current PR role, a typical day in the life working at InnovationAus and Espresso Communications, managing people’s expectations, deadlines and more.

This conversation is brought to you by Teachable, a powerful yet simple all-in-one platform to create and sell beautiful online courses.

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

I’ve been a journalist for over 10 years, having studied journalism as my degree at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). I’ve found myself working mainly for B2B titles writing about retail, business and technology.

In my spare time, I dabble in food and lifestyle writing, which is where my personal interests lie. This was sparked mainly having interned at travel and lifestyle titles during my uni days.

2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?

I wear a few hats where I currently work at Hello Espresso, which owns PR agency Espresso Communications and public policy publication

Depending on the workload that comes in daily, I could be:

  • wearing my content producer hat and be writing bylines or white papers for Espresso’s clients, or
  • I could be sporting my journalist hat and be chasing politicians and industry people for comments on stories.

And switching between the two roles can happen within hours, not days.

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

First up I’m often checking my emails and planning my day, making sure I have enough time to do what I’m required for both Espresso and InnovationAus.

Once I’m able to figure that out I’m usually off writing, making phone calls, and conducting interviews, but this can all change throughout the day.

The best bit about my job is that no two days are the same, so I just need to always be prepared to take on what’s thrown my way.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you prioritise your workload?

I’m a list person, so I usually like to just jot down quickly what I have on my plate and just cross them off as I go.

It’s also important to manage people’s expectations. Open and honest communication can help achieve that.

5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?

It’s knowing when to switch off and setting aside time for work, life and everything in between.

I tend to take advantage of my iPhone’s ‘do not disturb’ mode so that notifications whether it’s work or personal related are automatically switched off and don’t turn on again until a certain time.

6) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?

Regular short getaways I find is the most helpful way to recharge. I’m always thinking about where my next holiday destination as soon as I return from one.

I also exercise daily — or try to! I find not only does the endorphins give me a natural energy boost but it really forces me to focus on what I’m doing, so there’s no time for the mind to wander about other things.

7) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

I think it’s learning to manage people’s expectation and being honest about whether you can meet deadlines.

Saying no and asking for help are two other habits I’ve learned are really important habits to have whether it’s personal or work life.

8) Are there any books you’ve read that have helped you with work-life balance?

I think being able to pick up any book or magazine these days is a true testament to work-life balance, mainly because taking the time to just sit and read is such a luxury these days when there’s so much going on in our work and personal lives.

The last book I read was called Sweatshop: Volume One, it’s a collection of prose and poetry by female writers from Western Sydney. I’ve also just finished Min Jin Lee’s Free Food for Millionaires.

9) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Do more of what you makes you happy!

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.