Brooke Hill is the Founder & Director of content and copywriting agency The Content(ed) Copywriter. Her 20-year background includes working at Australia’s top magazines and leading agencies.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m the founder of The Content(ed) Copywriter, a content and copywriting agency that helps businesses craft their stories, from brand strategy and content strategy through to execution of content.
In the last 20 years, I’ve worked for Australia’s top magazines, in leading communications agencies across the globe, and headed up brand and content teams for leading Australian businesses.
2) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I intentionally set up my business from the start to support flexible and remote working. All of my team work when and where it suits them, around their families, personal commitments and travel plans.
I’ve had one team member receive a brief in New Zealand, board a plane to Canada, and deliver the content from Montreal! We’re 100% outcomes focused – and I believe that leads to a better result for our clients.
For me, it means that I work from home, spending as much time with the family as possible. There’s no commute, no wasted time, and I feel like I (mostly) get time to enjoy the little things, instead of the rushing to-and-fro.
3) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I’ve always structured my working days to maximise as much time with my kids as possible.
For me – and I’m highly conscious work-life balance means something different for everyone – that means shorter days in care and pre-school, and working during nap times when the kids are at home.
I have to admit, COVID-19 has presented challenges. At the moment, a typical day involves spending the morning with my kids. When my bub goes down for his first nap, I’ll work intensively.
My Zoom calls are scheduled during that time, and I’m incredibly disciplined with using that time effectively. When bub wakes, I’m on mum duty again until the next nap. It’s intense – and I’ll be relieved when our local daycare re-opens.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
To me, work-life balance means that I always strive to put life first, while delivering an outstanding result for my clients. It means working defined hours, where I am mentally free in my free time to enjoy the things that I love. I definitely don’t always nail it, but I try.
I believe that one of the biggest keys to work/life balance (and I stress that this is particular to my industry – I imagine this would be very different, for example, for a person working on the frontline) is mindset. It has everything to do with setting clear boundaries.
In my business, the biggest barrier I have to my own work/life balance is myself. It’s in my nature to work hard and not stop because I love what I do. But I also know that I work 100% better for my clients when I don’t work nights, when I don’t look at my email after hours.
So it requires constant mindfulness and discipline to put those boundaries in place. And people in your life who can point out to you when you’re working too hard – my husband is very good at that!
I also believe that the key to work-life balance is being outcomes-focused. If we can make ourselves highly productive and deliver an excellent outcome, it’s a win/win for everyone. I’m constantly looking for ways to optimise my productivity.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Exercise is critical to my well-being throughout the day. I wish I could say I exercised every day, but I do know that I’m a much happier and more efficient person when I exercise. So I consciously try to schedule that in.
I used to have a steadfast rule about not working past 7pm. When I do, I don’t sleep very well. Since COVID hit, I’ve let that rule slide. I need to reinstate that rule.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Lorraine Murphy’s Remarkability is packed with great tips for productivity, and I love all of Lisa Messenger’s books. I subscribe to the AFR daily news update for a broader business perspective.
The Clare Wood Podcast is great for small business owners. To keep my imagination alive, I love Conversations and This Imagined Life. And I’m working on my own podcast – stay tuned!
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Asana! It’s amazing for project management. All my clients and team are set up on Asana, and it keeps all the briefs, conversations and documents in the one place. It has transformed the way I work.
A lot of my work-life balance occurs from the lack of technology at key times. I don’t have email on my phone. On my desktop, I turn off email notifications so that I’m not distracted from big tasks.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Anything by organisational psychologist Adam Grant. I love his pragmatic perspective.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I also think we need to take it easy on ourselves. Sometimes striving for work/life balance can be exhausting in itself.
I choose to see balance as a verb – not as a noun. If balance is a verb, it means we’re all in a constant state of motion, a constant state of trying to achieve it.
If we see balance as a noun, I think we’re setting ourselves up to fail by putting too much pressure on ourselves to achieve a perfect state.
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