Balancing the Grind With Mary Gillespie, Digital Content Leader at PwC Australia

Mary Gillespie is the Digital Content Leader at PwC Australia, where she is responsible for leading content strategy, developing creative & delivery strategies, and more.

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

My background was originally pure-play content, but I have worked across marketing and communications too. While the separation was greater when I first started, now there’s so much alignment across these areas that my experience allows me to see the problem from all angles. I have worked across a range of sectors from food to financial services, and I now work in professional services.

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

A typical day for me starts early! I’m at the gym by 6am and in the office by 7.30am. The early start allows me to clear my inbox before most people are at work and get my head around the challenges the rest of the day brings. My team has a daily standup to get across outstanding issues and queries and make sure we’re set up for day/week/month.

I then mostly spend my day in meetings, or doing follow up from those meetings. I try to get in a lunchtime Pilates class or two during the week, but sometimes the schedule doesn’t allow.

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

I am lucky to work for an organisation that values workplace and job flexibility. I can work remotely as and when I wish. This allows me to balance life and work a little better – even if it means taking meetings or writing reports from the car while heading out of town on a Friday.

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

Lists! Although sometimes I write them and then ignore them. My calendar is what keeps me on track and my team uses tools such as Asana to keep BAU on track.

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

It’s taken me a long time to get my work-life balance right. The most important things I’ve learned are

  1. How to say ’no’ – I am not always the right person
  2. To better manage stakeholder expectations
  3. To accept that I can’t always complete everything in a reasonable work day
  4. To ignore/turn off work emails when I finish my day or are on leave (I can always be phoned or texted for a genuine emergency)

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?

Turning off those work email notifications!!! Oh, and exercising regularly, I try to walk home from work – the 45 minutes is a great way to decompress!

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

I don’t really read work-life balance books, but I find reading a book, an absolute pleasure. Occasionally I get caught up just scrolling my Insta feed, but when I put that down and read a book, it’s transformational! (Recently Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments)

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

Set myself boundaries on a workday – commit to finish by a certain time, exercise, and have some time to myself each day.

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.