Freelancers / Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind With Kalinda Atkinson, Freelance Digital Marketer

Kalinda Atkinson is a Freelance Digital Marketer, working across startups, SMEs and large corporations, in several different industries: online games, fitness, education, events, and more.

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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 in digital marketing for ten years and have worked across all facets – social, search, paid, content, analytics, web dev, and UX. Jack of all trades and master of most.

Digital has been the perfect career for me, as it totally aligns with me as a person. It’s a creative space (I dabble in some art), it’s a nerdy space (I’m probably the only person in the world still playing Pokemon Go), and it’s a techy space (I have more USB cables than a server room).

I’ve worked in Germany and Australia both client-side and agency-side, across startups, SMEs and large corporations. I’ve also worked with a lot of industries – online games, fitness, education, events, science, software, real estate, insurance, and NFPs.

My strength lies is in my diversified experience, and that’s what’s lead me down the path of freelancing, which I’ve been doing on and off for four years, but full time for the last six months. I have seven clients at the moment so my weeks are packed full to the brim.

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

No two days are the same! Some days I’ll be working on-site with a client, others I’ll be working out of the home office (nee: spare bedroom), sometimes I’m in a library, and sometimes I’m working while traveling.

But either way, I always strive to get up around 6am, make a coffee and get straight into work. I find jumping in straight away sets the tone for a productive day. I tackle emails first and allocate time for projects for the clients I’m focusing on that day.

I’ll generally have a late breakfast and always need to get out for a walk at lunch to clear my head of all that digital goo. It also resets me for the afternoon, where I usually push through until about 6pm.

Once my day ends that’s it – no emails, no laptop, and lately – no TV. I’m learning to play piano so I’ll try to squeeze in some sub-par practice, make dinner, maybe go to the gym (but not every day – let’s be honest). Having my evenings free means I’m re-energized the next morning.

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

Yep! It’s how I want it to be. Having flexibility over my work environment has made me work smarter, harder and better.

9-5 office culture is all about employee presence and not necessarily about the quality (or quantity) of work. I think it’s totally counter-productive and believe a lot of businesses would benefit from a flexi-work policy. Or at least they could weed out the lazy ones that way. Ha!

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

Plan, plan, plan! I always plan the next two weeks’ worth of work, as well as what each day in that week will look like. I use Wunderlist and Evernote to keep track of all my projects and tasks. I have also learned to say no to a project if I know I won’t be able to deliver. No-one wins if you’re trying to please everyone.

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

It’s taken me a while to figure this out but for me, it’s about setting boundaries and sticking to them. Do your absolute best work when you’re ‘on’, and chill your absolute hardest when you’re ‘off’.

I’m very passionate about what I do, but I’m also very passionate about the people in my life. And yoga. And wine. Try to strike a balance.

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?

The most significant habit that has helped me both in my career and my work-life balance is that I always strive to add value – to clients, to my work, and to myself. Deliver to your clients, or your boss, or whoever it is you serve in your career, but also deliver to yourself – eat well, get some exercise, stretch, smile.

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

I’m not big into personal development books, but I do read a lot of books in general. Whilst they don’t correlate directly to digital, books and stories keep me inspired, curious and fresh – which in turn impacts my work.

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

Sleep! A tired brain is an ineffective one. And if you can’t sleep, have a nap. And if you can’t nap, do some yoga. And if you can’t yoga, there’s always coffee.

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

Work hard and with integrity and your efforts will pay off. Oh and reinstall Pokemon Go.

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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.