Kate Browne is Managing Editor at Finder, an award-winning fin-tech company, helping people around the world make better financial decisions.
Finder compares financial products including credit cards, savings accounts, home loans, personal loans, online shopping discount and codes, travel insurance and life insurance, and as the Managing Editor, Kate is responsible for driving the company’s content and brand.
Balance the Grind spoke to Kate about her extensive media career, a day in the life of a Managing Editor, balancing two young daughters and her job, getting enough sleep every day and more.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your background and career?
I have over 15 years of experience in the media as a consumer affairs journalist and an editor both on staff and as a freelancer and I’ve worked at a wide range of organisations including CHOICE and the Sydney Opera House.
I’ve also worked in TV and was one of the writers and presenters of ABC TV’s top-rating consumer affairs show The Checkout for 6 years.
Now I’m delighted to be the Managing Editor at Finder in Australia – where we cover so many interesting aspects of life to help people make better decisions and save money.
2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?
My current role as Managing Editor for Finder is really varied which I love.
My day to day work revolves around working with our writers, reviewing the homepage and the content feed, identifying which pieces will work well on social media and working and editing external contributions for our new expert platform.
I also do a lot of media spokesperson work on behalf of Finder providing commentary on many of the issues we cover so I also spent time prepping to do TV and radio interviews.
Finder covers such a wide range of topic areas it’s important to keep abreast of what’s happening news wise and how we can provide a useful commentary on it for viewers.
We also make our own in-house video content and I am often involved in presenting on camera.
3) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I tend to start at 9.30am in time for our daily stand up meeting.
I’m very lucky to be able to work flexible hours as I have two young daughters who are school age and as most parents would know school hours are not very work friendly so the later start means I can take my girls to school and then head into the office.
Most days I start by checking the news and my messages on my way into the office, which is important as this might dictate what we put on the homepage, promote on social and do media on.
After my first meeting of the day I will most likely have media releases and commentary to work on, I could be editing content for our site, working with the writers and meeting with my colleagues. Most recently I’ve been involved in working on scripts for our video content and working with our video production team.
Lunchtime is a highlight in the office as we are very lucky to have lunch provided, and we all down tools at the same time to grab lunch and eat together.
l love this not only because lunch is usually delicious and it’s different every day (Mexican, Italian, poke bowls) but also because I have a terrible habit of not eating properly if left to my own devices, and in former jobs I tended to scrounge lunch out of the vending machine which is never ends well unless you like living on salt and vinegar chips every day.
Because I start a bit later, I tend to work back a little later and finish up at about 6.30pm which I enjoy as that last hour is quiet and I can get a lot done at my desk. My husband starts his job early so he can pick up the girls from after school care in the early evening and get dinner on.
Having two kids and two parents who both have full time in full on jobs means that both of us have to pull our weight evenly when it comes to looking after our kids and I think we do a pretty good job of that.
4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you prioritise your workload?
I was a terrible procrastinator until I had children who don’t like to wait for anything and take up so very much time that there are only little windows where you can get things done, so I consider myself cured of that curse!
Something I’ve learned through experience is to get the hardest tasks, or conversations or whatever you are dreading doing out of the way first.
I’m a big fan of writing lists too, it’s pretty much the only way I can make sure I remember to do everything I need to do.
And if it’s 100 percent critical, despite all the technology we have these days I still have a terrible habit of writing thing on my hand, if it’s on the hand it’s definitely getting done!
5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?
With the kind of work I do and the way kids are I find it’s important not to be overly prescriptive about how, when and where things get done.
Having a flexible mindset helps when everything changes constantly and that in a way is my balance. Also working in a super flexible workplace like Finder helps.
We are well set up culturally and technologically to work remotely so it’s really helpful when I need to be there for my kids, and work around all the variables in my life without too much drama.
6) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?
Apart from drinking copious amounts of red wine and coffee (not at the same time) I really love to read, swim in the ocean and get out of Sydney whenever I can.
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?
Now I have kids I’ve learned to prioritise sleep, mine and theirs.
I’m really daggy and go to bed quite early to make sure I get at least 8 hours each night and it definitely makes me a lot nicer as a person and a lot less strung out. I used to stay up super late and feel wrecked every morning but I’ve learned I can’t do that and feel good.
I am also a reluctant exerciser – when I’m tired and stressed my first instinct is to head to the couch but thanks to my very persistent husband I now have to acknowledge that going for a walk or going for bike ride actually makes everything better.
8) Are there any books you’ve read that have helped you with work-life balance?
I really loved Annabel Crabb’s book The Wife Drought where she examines how in the past married couples had a divide in work and the home and how men’s success was usually contingent on having a wife to manage the family and the house so they could solely focus on work.
She argues that women now have to work and manage home life at the same time and that many men are not expected or indeed encouraged to have the flexibility needed so they too can do the heavy lifting when it comes to home life.
If that load of work and home is shared then everyone has a better chance of finding some balance in the tricky business of work and family life and I think through trial and error my partner and I have managed that.
9) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
I remember reading how if you make your bed everyday if you don’t achieve anything else at least you made your bed.
While it’s not always my bed that gets made (especially if my cat refuses to move) I make sure I get a couple of things done first thing everyday.
Whether it’s unstacking the dishwasher or tackling a tricky task or conversation get it done and you are well on your way.
Also coffee. Always coffee.
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