Creative Directors / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With David Steel, Co-Founder & Creative Director of Vivo Group

David Steel is the Co-Founder & Creative Director of digital agency Vivo Group, where he oversees all design and creative aspects as well as focussing on the establishment of strategic partnerships and the general direction of the company.

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

Being creative and mechanically inclined, a degree in Industrial Design seemed like the obvious route to take. It wasn’t until the end of my degree though, that I discovered I had a real interest in digital.

I never worked as an Industrial Designer, instead moving into a UI design role straight out of university. Over the course of the following years, I was fortunate to work with some talented people – gaining exposure to a broad range of digital projects and applications of digital tech.

After a number of years as an employee, I decided to go out on my own – eventually founding Vivo with my business partner, Chris Osborne. For both of us, building a company that would enable us, and our staff, to enjoy a work-life balance was incredibly important.

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

As both Creative Director and Co-Founder of the business, by role is fairly broad. On one hand, I’m responsible for working with our clients to produce creative, strategic and commercially informed digital assets that deliver real value.

On the other hand, I play a role in balancing the direct needs of Vivo – to ensure we remain relevant and respond to the needs of an ever-changing market.

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

I’m a terrible morning person, so every day seems to start way too early. Once I’m up, I’ll get the kids ready and drop them off at school/kindy and continue on to the office.

Professionally, I’m working with the team at Vivo to refine our positioning and build out new roles to support our growth. Personally, I’m owner building our family home.

Once the day is done, I’ll generally make it home in time to play with the kids, enjoy a wine and time with my wife, and finish with another all-too-short night’s sleep.

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

I typically allocate 30 minutes in the morning – before I leave the house – to respond to any emails requiring attention. That way, I find I’m able to get a good head start on the day, without any distractions.

My routine is the same when I’m on holidays. If I can stay on top of my email, returning to work thereafter is a lot less stressful.

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

Personally, it’s about allocating time in life to do the things I enjoy. More generally though, being mentally present and giving time to those who matter the most.

6) What does work life balance mean to you?

For me, this is pretty simple. Work-life balance means enjoying, and being challenged in my career – without sacrificing the other aspects of life that I hold dear.

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?

  • Being conscious of what success means to me
  • Being open to different perspectives and views
  • Remaining calm under stress
  • Being approachable and accessible
  • Staying positive
  • Giving my mind free time to wander

8) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

Honestly, I’m not a big reader – I get far more out of talking with peers and mentors, or watching obscure documentaries.

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

Know what I want to achieve with the time I have available.

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

Make sure you find the time to do the things you love, or risk waking up one day with the stark realisation that you’re a shell of your former self.

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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.