Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Dr Joanne Orlando, Founder & Director of TechClever Education

Dr Joanne Orlando (PhD, M.Ed, B.Ed) is leading international expert on family and digital lifestyles, as well as the founder of TechClever Education.

She is best known for her ground breaking insights into how to enhance children’s online safety, digital activity and wellbeing.

This conversation is sponsored by graphic design platform Canva. Empowering millions of people around the world to design.

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

I’m an analyst and educator providing solutions to today’s most pressing digital lifestyle problems. Using technology in ways that enhance our lives does not seem to be something that is coming naturally to us, and my work focuses on how we can.

I have a particular focus on issues that come from children’s technology use, and how children can use technology in an empowered way.

I conduct my own cutting-edge research with children and adults that explores how we can make our digital lives better. I use evidence from science, education, social science and health, lessons from popular culture, and my own everyday observations and experiences.

I have a few current roles. I own TechClever which provides online courses to help parents, schools and students navigate their digital wellbeing. I work in a university as an academic and researcher.

I work in the media presenting weekly TV segments, writing articles, and conducting lots of interviews with journalists. I am a keynote speaker often presenting at events and conferences.

I also work with other organisations ranging in size and focus. This includes working with major multinational technology organisations such as Apple to working with schools advising on policies regarding students mobile phone use at school.

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

There is no typical day, and really enjoy the variety of work that I do. As we are currently all working and learning from home during COVID, my work is currently focusing on helping adults and children manage their new intensified technology lives as best as possible.

If I take you thought my day yesterday:

  • I wrote an newspaper opinion article on how online learning is affecting families and teachers.
  • I prepared and presented a TV segment on healthy and safe family screen time habits during COVID.
  • I am undertaken a research project on how confident parents feel guiding their children’s technology use. I am collecting data via Facebook so worked on my data collection methods.
  • I am writing a book on how to live a great digital life, and spoke to my new publisher about the chapter breakdown of the book.
  • I worked with UK Cabinet on understanding the impact of learning from home during COVID for children and families without adequate technology access.
  • I developed new content for my TechClever course for parents.

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

Yes it does. I have an office, and mainly use this only when I need to for meetings, seeing students, etc. I also work from home a lot. This works well when I am writing and planning my work, and need quiet time to think.

It’s an hour drive to my office so I often weight up whether the two hours of driving is better spent working. The social aspect aspect of work is really important to me and I get this from working at my office where lots of my colleagues are also around or via meetings which I often schedule as coffee meetings.

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

I’m more aware of this than ever. I’ve spent a few years putting in long hours developing my career. It started to feel like my work-life balance was out of kilter (this can creep up on you so easy). So I’ve made a lot of adjustments now and it feels much better.

Exercising is really important for me. It helps to get rid of the stress, I work out with friends so its always a really nice. My work is also so heavy mentally so physical exercise help me to balance this.

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5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?

I know what I want to achieve and that makes developing strategies easier. I’ve also come to know my strengths, and what sets me as different and distinct professionally. It’s taken a while to get to both of those spots but once it became clear to me, it supercharged my work.

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

I don’t read work-life balance books as such but I read books on mindfulness. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and 12 Rules for Life really struck a chord for me.

Both controversial books, and I read them both last year, loved them and they help me to think about my actions more- work wise and in other parts of my life.

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

I start each day with about 15 minutes of mindfulness practices. I’ve been doing this for about 2 years and this really works for me. It gives me time to really relax, de-stress, be clear in your thinking.

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

I’d be really interested to read the behind the scenes work life balance of any of the key social media influencers. I think it must bee really difficult to keep the balance with that kind of work.

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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.