Freelancers / Interviews / Journalists

Balancing the Grind With Navani Otero, Multimedia Journalist & Radio Host

Navani Otero is a NYC-based based digital writer and editor specializing in entertainment, music, Latin culture, and lifestyle stories.

She also works as a radio personality-producer for SiriusXM and WNYU specializing in covering the hip hop culture.

Balance the Grind spoke to Navani about juggling her writing work with radio hosting, a typical day in her life, scheduling in time to hang out with friends, keeping a gratitude journal, being consistent with her sleep and more.

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

I’m a New York based multimedia journalist who has covered everything from Brooklyn Bodega Hip-Hop Festivals to Red Carpet Movie premieres.

My work can be seen in publications like Latina Magazine, In Touch Weekly, XXL Magazine, The New York Post, BOOM Magazine and MTV News.

I discovered my passion for radio while co-hosting Brooklyn Bodega Radio, as well as helping on The Halftime Show (NYU).

Most recently I was a co-producer for the DJ Enuff Presents The Heavy Hitters (SiriusXM) – where I gave a woman’s perspective on hip-hop.

2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?

By day I currently work in tech as an editorial web producer curating the content on the Food & Drink vertical.

So, I basically scour content from our partners that’s trending to produce and program on our page.

By night, I help produce and co-host a new radio show called CityFM on WNYE 91.5 FM in NY. I also still freelance for various publications covering Latinx culture and music.

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

An example of a recent work day could go like this: work for my day job from the hours of 8-4 EST.

The beauty is that it’s remote, so I can work from home or any other location if need be. There I’m programming and editing content to be published all day on the food & Drink vertical and tracking its engagement to keep swapping in fresh content.

After 4 PM if it’s a day I’m recording for the radio show CityFM then I head to the studio to meet the team and go over the episode script and essentially do a table read and then record.

Other days, I could be interviewing someone for a feature piece I’m working on for a publication, like most recently I got to interview Eva Longoria.

Then I head home and work on some assignments for a podcasting class I’m currently taking which meets twice a week. Some point in all of this I still manage to watch a bit of TV to keep up with all the content coming out.

4) In between everything you do and all your responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?

Great question! I feel like this is something I still struggle with as many people who have a foot in two places probably do.

It all comes down to time management. For me, I had to learn to really prioritize and get clear on the things I want to spend my time and energy on. I ask myself if it’s something that will help me get to my next goal professionally or personally?

Is it something I’m super passionate about? Like Marie Kondo says, does it spark joy? If it doesn’t, I have learned how to say no and free up more time and space for myself. I also take mental health days occasionally, where I just unplug and take a break from my routine.

This helps if I’m starting to feel overwhelmed. Also, I make sure to do one nice thing for myself. In the famous words of Donna from Parks and Recreation, “Treat Yo’Self.”

Lastly, scheduling time with friends IRL is also super important to feel supported and connected while working towards achieving all my goals.

Rope Dreams by Navani Otero, The National (For the June/July 2017 Issue)

5) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?

I love to travel which gives me not only something to look forward to but time to take a step out of my normal grind and be in a different space.

Gaining that perspective and time away from the computer in another culture and environment is always invaluable and helps me feel re-energized when I return. Also, practicing gratitude has been a huge help.

I keep a gratitude journal and I try to sit and write one thing a day at least that I’m grateful for. It’s hard to feel stressed out or overwhelmed while you are expressing gratitude.

Gratitude automatically negates any other lower emotion, so it’s been a great tool for me to stay centered and focused on the positive.

6) Are there any gadgets, tools or products can’t you live without?

Google Maps so I always know how to get where I’m going. Shazam because I love discovering new music everywhere I go, especially in other countries. And podcasts that keep me company all day.

7) Do you have any books that you love and would like to recommend?

Oh my god where to begin? Some of my all-time favorites that I think are timeless include A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles by Marianne Williamson for some spiritual perspective and enlightenment.

That book changed how I thought about a lot of things including how I was making decisions – whether they were based in fear or love. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment is another book in a similar vein about staying present by Eckhart Tolle.

If I am feeling very literary and want to read something that is just well written and will make me feel things I pick up anything by Kiese Laymon. His last memoir Heavy: An American Memoir was like an emotional gut punch.

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

Sleep! I don’t let anything stop me from getting 7-8 hours of sleep.

I am consistent with the time I go to bed every night. On nights that I might be out later I make up for it by taking a nap. I am useless if I don’t get proper sleep. That, and proper snacks.

Photo Credit: Joann Gomez

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.