Balancing the Grind With Nicole Newman, Content Strategist at Southport Sharks

Nicole Newman is the Content Strategist at Southport Sharks, a premier dining and entertainment precinct located on the Gold Coast, where she works across a diverse portfolio from hospitality, fitness, sports team and travel.

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

I’ve always worked in creative media roles, firstly at an agency before moving in to publishing and digital marketing.

I spent over 10 years in London, during which I worked for Penguin UK. It was important for me to have a career that allowed me to travel and work in cities around the world-working for Rough Guides imprint (the UK version of Lonely Planet) was an opportunity to do this.

There is also nothing quite like receiving the printed version of a book you have collaborated on.

Working in publishing during the digital adoption phase (apps, iBooks, content-driven websites, social media) shifted my focus and I moved towards online content creation and marketing.

I transitioned into digital marketing when I moved back to Australia, and I’m currently working as a Content Strategist across a diverse portfolio from hospitality, fitness, sports team and travel.

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

My day starts as mummy with cuddles from my son and eating breakfast together, before jumping in the car and listening to my seven-year old’s Spotify play list for a bit of singing before school drop off.

On the drive to work, I switch to my play list, or a podcast depending on my mood, to transition from mummy to work colleague. I’ll generally start my workday with emails and my Wrike dashboard, before checking how campaigns are tracking on Facebook and Google.

Digital marketing is a daily mix of creativity, data analysis and research, in a rapidly evolving medium. I’ll speak with different department on campaigns and design content based on the requirements. I touch base regularly with my team throughout the day to brainstorm and discuss concepts to deliver content.

Most days of the week, I transition back to mummy for school pick up and to take my son to his club sports.

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

In my current role, I was allowed to work part-time, even though the role was initially advertised as full-time. I’m also fortunate to have flexibility during school holidays and for school functions.

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

It’s all about lists! For my personal organisation I use my iPhone apps; notes, calendar and reminders, while for fitness I use Glo (yoga and meditation), workout and running apps which allow me to use ‘spare’ moments.

At work, I use project management systems, Wrike and Asana, and I find Google Drive a useful collaboration tool.

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


Since having a family, I decided to work part-time. I’m fortunate to have found creative roles I enjoy that allow me to work flexibly. Previously, I’ve worked remotely one day a week to balance my lifestyle needs at the time.

Work-life balance changes throughout your career and it’s important to be mindful of this. Have open conversations and make adjustments when you reach a transition point.

When ‘balancing’ motherhood and a career, try to find what works best for you and your family, and hopefully find an opportunity that supports this.

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?

In no particular order, here some habits I find bring positivity and balance:

  • Calmness through regular meditation is a practice I only used to do at the end of my yoga session. However, a stressful period motivated me to try meditation apps – Calm app and The Mindful Movement podcast are two I’ve now incorporated using as a part of my lifestyle.
  • Curiosity and desire to learn, whether this is for work or person development, to grow and be inspired.
  • Honesty and integrity are key, always be true to who you are.
  • Be mindful of your projected energy on others, especially with the rapid rise of technology and it’s influences on the way we interact and on mental health.
  • Build friendships at work, over coffee or lunch, as it brings happiness and connectivity to the workplace.
  • Be organised, allow for spontaneity, but forward planning and setting goals is vital.
  • Spend time in nature.

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

I find biographies and autobiographies insightful; at the moment I’m reading Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.

I highly recommend reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and The Third Industrial Revolution by Jeremy Rifkin. Alternatively if you’re short on time watch the YouTube documentary of his presentation on the evolution of a shared economy.

I collect photography books and one of my favourite titles is Earth from the Air by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, which is an acclaimed collection of environmental aerial photographs.

Studying environmental literature at university, it has always been a genre I return to, authors such as Robyn Davidson, Bruce Chatwin, Elizabeth Kolbert, Tim Flannery, Barry Lopez and Richard Flanagan offer adventurous and thoughtful reading.

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

Be present in the moment – with what you are doing and whom you are with. And be grateful.

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

Take care of your health, physical fitness and mental well-being. Whatever stage of life you are at, make time for yourself to do activities you love, aim for a quality sleep routine, remain physically fit and have honest conversations with yourself and others

A wellness retreat, a mentor, a naturopath or a life coach can all offer guidance through periods of change and I recommend exploring options when you reach a point of change.

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.