Balancing the Grind With Jenna Louise Hanley, Senior Learner Success Officer at RMIT Online

Jenna Louise Hanley is a Senior Learner Success Officer at RMIT Online, where she is responsible for coaching learners and providing them with a high level of support.

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

I started my career in higher education during my Bachelor of Information Technology and Information Systems. I completed an internship at my university and was offered a casual position. I moved my way into an educational technologist role and have worked at 3 different universities over the past 4 years.

I’ve been working at RMIT Online since February 2018 and started as a Course Manager, a role designed to connect mentors and students in our Future Skills short course experience.

Currently, I am a Senior Learner Success Officer at RMIT Online, which is responsible for ensuring that all learners across Future Skills short courses have a high level of support from RMIT Online that results in amazing learning experiences and outcomes. This includes coaching them in areas of technology, time management and motivation towards completing the course.

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

I usually start my day with waking up to turning off my alarm on my phone, carrying out my morning routine in getting ready for the day and breakfast. I must get my coffee in the morning, at least one, to help kick start my energy.

My goal for my mornings is to ensure I don’t feel panicked and do things with mindfulness. On Thursdays I participate in mediation at work which helps calm any stress I am experiencing.

I commute to work on the train so generally get things done on the way such as paying bills, organising personal events or catching up on social media. I listen to music to get me prepared for the day.

My typical day as a Senior Learner Success Officer includes checking the status of enquiries from learners and working on project work to improve the overall experience of the learners. I spend most of my day in Slack and Salesforce ensuring the learners are set up for success in their learning experience with RMIT Online.

After work, I go home to feed the dogs and get ready for my CrossFit class. This is paramount that I squeeze this hour into my day as it’s important for my physical and mental well being. After training I head home to cook dinner and lunch for the next day.

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

Yes we are set up to work anywhere and everywhere. All resources required are accessible via the internet. Having this flexibility is great as it allows me to work around my personal life such as dentist appointments. I generally book in my work from home days when I don’t have meetings and I need to focus on completing a particular task.

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

The most important function I use to balance my life is my calendar schedule which includes dates and times of when things are due to be completed and a reminder either a day before or 15 minutes before.

When people request tasks, I always ensure to check my schedule to understand how committed I am that week. In the past, when I haven’t checked my calendar I have found myself in a state of “I’m taking too much on” so, remember this very valuable lesson if you want to make things work and complete them in a way that you are happy with.

Another structure I use is a “Things to do” list, this is a note on my phone which includes any upcoming goals/tasks I want to complete such as “finish that online course”. I check this daily and see where I can fit it in my calendar to work on these goals.

These are the five values I follow when I am organising my life and schedule:

  1. Prioritise
  2. Be realistic
  3. Set goals
  4. Share and learn
  5. Have fun

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

Ever heard the term burning the candle at both ends? This is very important to remember when assessing your work-life balance. I ensure I get to work on time or earlier and complete my tasks for the day so I can leave on time to attend my training sessions and spend time with my partner, family and friends.

Being on time is also an important element in my personal life. I always find the best way to switch off from work stress is to netflix and chill or go do something fun.

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?

One habit I’ve developed over the years is the power of “Yes”! By having an open mind to requests has opened up many doors of experience and learning curves for my career and personal development.

I’ve slowly developed the skill to let go of the fear of what others may think and just take the opportunity. Even if I don’t completely know the answer I’ve been able to figure it out along the way.

Another habit I’ve been developing along the way is time management and understanding when I’ve hit the benchmark of saying yes. My calendar is my source of truth when it comes to understanding my time and where I have gaps to complete certain tasks.

Sometimes I do cancel what I have planned just because I need that time to re-energise myself.

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

Yes the following books have helped me improve and understand myself:

  • The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
  • The Happiness Trap : Stop Struggling, Start Living by Russ Harris
  • Your Money: Starting Out And Starting Over by Anita Bell

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

The one thing I do to make sure I get most of my day is exercise. This is a vital source of energy for both my physical and mental health. I lock out time after I finish work or on the weekend to work out.

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

I believe to maintain a work life balance you can’t neglect the most important element, YOU! Whenever I’ve been completely burnout I have neglected all my needs and given out my energy to everyone around me.

You must remember to keep yourself healthy and positive if you want to excel in life. Also positive energy is infectious!

If you’d like to have a conversation with us about how you balance the grind, get in touch with us!

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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.