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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’ve been practicing dentistry since 2003. I opened my dental practice in 2005. I was appointed to the NSW Dental Tribunal in 2011 and finished a law degree in 2016. In 2016 I was appointed to a Dental Council Panel.
I launched a beverage company, Swirlit, in 2017 after 10 years of R&D into making drinks that are good for your teeth.
I still practice dentistry. As the founder and CEO of Swirlit, my role is evolving as our team grows and functions are outsourced.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Good days would start with a walk or PT session at Flow Athletic Paddington (but I’ve been a bit naughty the last few weeks).
- 7.30am: emails. I usually wake up to a lot of emails from overseas.
- 8.00am: plan my day
- 8.15am: phone calls while I’m driving to the dental practice. You can get a lot done on the phone in a 40 minute commute!
- 9.00 – 3pm: white coat time. Seeing my dental patients. At lunch time I respond to Swirlit related emails and calls.
- 3pm: calls on my afternoon commute
- 4pm: preparation of reports for meeting
- 6.30pm – 10pm: Swirlit team meeting
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
My role can vary so much day-to-day.
Dental practice definitely doesn’t allow remote working, but my Swirlit role varies from being on the road, working from home, meetings interstate and overseas travel. Swirlit involves a lot of time outside business hours and on weekends. I enjoy it though.
I like the variety. I have a very understanding and supporting family that make it all possible.
4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?
Keep a diary. I write everything down. I’m no good with an online diary or calendar. I need to see everything organised in front of me. Sometimes it can seem like there is so much to do, but when you can see there is a physical place for it in your diary, you can find a place for it in your life.
5) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I love what I do, so it never feels like “work”, it’s part of my life, who I am, and my overarching purpose. Don’t confuse that with being a workaholic, although from the outside, it may appear that way.
I feel my life is balanced when I don’t feel like I’m being pulled in a direction that I don’t have time or energy for. The reality is that some days or weeks everything feels balanced, and then a surprise comes along that shifts things. How long I stay in that sense of imbalance depends on so many things.
My family is involved in a lot of what I do too, so my life and work do blend a lot. My mum and cousin work with me in the dental practice. My husband, son and friends are involved with Swirlit.
To instil balance at home, my husband and I have Thursday date nights where we agree not to talk about work.
6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?
- Be organised
- Write everything down
- See the beauty in everyday things
- Listen to your body. Sometimes you just have to stop and recharge
7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
- The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
- Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch
- The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah
8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Every night I pray with my children. No matter what is going on, or how challenging a day has been, just saying “thank you” for absolutely everything puts everything in context and clears your mind to face whatever comes the next day.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
There are so many opinions out there on work-life balance and I don’t believe it’s one size fits all.
Listen to your mind and body. If you love what you do and you crave more of it, dive in. If you’re fatigued and you feel you’re losing the joy in what you do, something has to change.
I found myself a few years back getting into a pattern where every morning as I opened my car door to go to work, I said to my self quietly “Groundhog Day”. After a while, I realised I needed to change things up, and once I did, I found more joy in my days.
If you found the above conversation about work-life balance helpful, be sure to check out Balance the Grind’s 42 tips for achieving & maintaining a healthy work-life balance.