Kelly Baker is a Writer, Editor & Communications Specialist who has contributed to publications such as The Nine Network, New Idea, Beauty Insider and more. She is also a regular TV commentator and podcast host.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I started as a copy girl and then cadet journalist when I was 18 years old. So writing and editing has been a lifelong project for me. I went form newspapers to magazines to newspapers and then back to magazines – several times over!
I have also worked online and on TV and co-hosted a podcast. I am yet to score a radio gig? I might need to work on that next! Right now I am a regular contributor for 9Honey. I also head up my own site beautyisnider.com.au
2) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Gosh – there is no typical. Not really. I am a single mother to two boys so that takes up the early hours. Breakfast, uniforms, school bags, school run, much shouting etc. Then on the way back to my home (where I work) I will catch up on my email etc. As soon as I get home I hit the ground running.
That may mean writing an op ed for Nine and then jumping onto my own site or vice versa. I also write commercially for various big brands so we might Skype to discuss projects and plans or talk over the phone.
It’s kind of hectic to be honest. But I make it happen. Somehow!
3) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?
I have a couple of organising apps on my phone which I rely on. And I never ever, ever go anywhere without my diary. Yes. My old-school diary. Remember those? I write everything down or it will never happen. There’s just too much to keep on top of.
I also have a wall calendar where I try and keep family events and appointments.
My biggest tip is to not feel guilty when you don’t get everything done. You just can’t. I think if you get half of it done then you’re doing incredibly well. So no feeling badly when you look at your diary and see tasks that never happened. Just roll them over to tomorrow. AND keep at it.
I also like to highlight tasks I do manage to wrap up because it always makes me feel good! It’s a little like a grown-up gold star. Works though.
4) What does work life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I have no work life balance and I’m good with that. I don’t believe in the concept at all. My work is my life. I don’t see how it can be separated or balanced? I make my children a priority as much as I can.
If the work can be done later it will be. I try and dedicate as much time to them as I can. I am pretty hopeless at prioritising myself, I think most mothers would say the same. That’s not good obviously but there’s no point making yourself feel badly because you aren’t achieving ‘work life balance’. It’s just another thing to feel bad about!
Do what you can. Forget the rest. And learn to say no.
5) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?
Say NO! NO NO NO NO. And then say it again. Unless it is something that you either want to do or will benefit you (as well as the person who is asking). This is a hard one for me. But you just have to do it.
6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
Hmm, I am a huge reader and I am deeply passionate about everything I read. I think the whole world needs to read Poverty Safari: Understanding the Anger of Britain’s Underclass by Darren McGarvey for one thing.
And Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond too. We are very blessed in so many ways and when you read books such as those it helps you to realise that. Well, it did me anyway.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Try and sleep well the night before. I struggle with anxiety and this can reveal itself in insomnia. That’s hard. It makes the next day genuinely difficult. So I exercise when I can and meditate too. It doesn’t always work but I do my best.
8) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I believe in work and working hard. It does not compliment the rest of my life – it is part of my life. Not an add on. And when I am not working I am unhappy. I like to contribute, I enjoy doing what I do and knowing that I do it well.
That to me is not just a project that brings in money. It brings so much more than that. Much of it very, very beneficial. I think it’s important, however, to find work that’s meaningful to you if you possibly can. And if you’re forced to work purely to earn money to live (and so many of us are) then look for ways that you can gain enjoyment from it.
Might your employers subsidise study perhaps? Can you take notes and write about your work place? Is there a joy you can gain from making your co-workers happy? There has to be something more in it for you than just wages otherwise it gets unbearable.
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