Balancing the Grind with Benjamin Pecora-Burne, Director, Product Strategy at Nielsen

Benjamin Pecora-Burne is the Director, Product Strategy at Nielsen where he is focused on driving growth and innovation for market research products in Asia.

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Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?

My career has been a whirlwind adventure in entrepreneurship, from teaching myself coding and design in my early years, to freelancing as a full stack web developer, and dabbling in side hustles across various industries. Working with prominent brands helped me sharpen my sales and marketing skills, ultimately leading to a fulfilling decade-long tenure at Nielsen, the world’s largest market research company.

At Nielsen, I have been laser-focused on driving growth and innovation for market research products in Asia as part of the global Product Strategy team. More recently, I’ve stepped into fatherhood and made the conscious decision to prioritise work-life balance by taking a short career break in the coming months.

As someone who juggles multiple roles every day, my concept of work-life balance is always evolving.

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?

My day begins early with an energising espresso and family breakfast, followed by exercise and a refreshing shower before diving headfirst into work. I’ve embraced hybrid working, splitting my time between the home and office, prioritising strategic tasks in the mornings and meetings or process-driven tasks in the afternoons.

Late afternoons are reserved for family and social time. My evenings are a mix of work meetings with global teams, family dinner, and cherished quality time with my kids before tucking them into bed.

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

For many years, I had perceived work and life as two completely separate realms, but I’m now on a journey toward a more harmonious integration of the two. I’ve come to realise that work-life balance, much like happiness, is a moving target and a daily practice rather than a fixed destination.

Over the years, I’ve developed some strategies that help me optimise my work-life balance:

  1. Daily habits to energise and reduce decision fatigue: Adopting healthy daily habits is perhaps the most powerful way I maintain balance. When I stick to habits, decision fatigue becomes a non-issue, and I find it easier to strike a good balance. Some habits I try to incorporate every day include: socialising, practising gratitude, meditating, exercising, taking cold showers, and spending time in nature.
  2. Reflect on your values every day: Reminding myself of what truly matters and having clear personal values or principles to guide my work has made everything simpler. Instead of questioning every decision, I’m able to focus on aligning actions and decisions with my values.
  3. Pursue work that resonates with you personally: When I engage in work that feels meaningful and aligns with my values, I find it easier to make a positive impact without draining my energy reserves.

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Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?

At the start of 2023, after a rewarding decade at Nielsen, I made the tough decision to move on and embrace new challenges. But, before diving into the next chapter of my career, I’ll be taking a career break for a few months to travel, embark on adventures, and create unforgettable memories with my wife and kids. For me, it’s these kinds of experiences that foster personal growth, self-discovery, and balance in ways that can’t really be quantified.

We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?

As an avid seeker of ways to optimise my mental and physical health, I highly recommend these three podcasts for anyone looking to elevate their own well-being: 1) Huberman Lab by Dr. Andrew Huberman, 2) The Drive by Dr. Peter Attia, and 3) The Diary of a CEO by Steven Bartlett.

Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I suppose the most important thing I’d like to emphasise about work-life balance is that none of us are perfect, and we won’t achieve a perfect work-life balance 100% of the time. Embrace the imperfection, be patient with yourself, and remember that it’s all about the journey. Continuously learn, grow, and adapt your approach to find the harmony that works best for you in your work and personal life.

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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.