Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Caitlin Rozario, Co-Founder at interlude

Caitlin Rozario is the Co-Founder at interlude, a new way for businesses and workers to be more productive through the power of high-quality breaks.

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

I have had a ridiculously ‘squiggly career‘ (to quote Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis). After graduation, I went from a summer job as a warden at Buckingham Palace to working in seafood sales (I’m a lifelong vegetarian, so that didn’t last long!).

I then joined a procurement company where I worked on the Mandarin Oriental hotel project and spent 6 months working in a decommissioned bathroom – long story! 

In 2017 the road I’m on now began, even though I didn’t know it at the time. I left my job to pursue my MA at UCL in Early Modern Studies which I absolutely loved. At that time I was struggling with my health in a few ways and so I used taking high-quality breaks as a real strategy for getting through my degree successfully.

I always took two hour lunch breaks and would cook healthy food, go to the gym, take our dogs out for a walk – all things that helped me to come back in the afternoon refreshed. I ended up finishing my dissertation 3 weeks early: if that’s not a case study for high-quality breaks, I don’t know what is! 

Next I worked at a marketing agency which was truly a baptism by fire. I learned so much about marketing, especially paid social and content, and I met some of the best people I’ve ever known. One of those people was Charlotte Laing who went on to hire me when I was made redundant during the pandemic – but more on that in a moment. 

2020 was a weird year! I was almost immediately put on furlough, and my partner Will and I started thinking about how we could create something that would help people to not only feel better at work, but do better work: the research led us to high-quality work breaks (we call them HQBs).

We’re both overachievers, but we are both also very focused on our wellbeing, so we’re really our target audience. Will started teaching himself to code and built the first iteration of what is now interlude! Since the beginning, our mission has remained the same: to help people to get their work done, feel great while doing it, and have more gas in the tank for the things they love. 

In the summer of 2020, I was made redundant, and as I said my friend Charlotte had the perfect role lined up for me. I joined Metrikus, a PropTech scale up, where I’ve been leading the content team that sits within the wider marketing team.

Everyone at Metrikus has been so supportive of my endeavours with interlude which I am so grateful for! Around November 2020 I started my MBA which gave me a really solid grounding in business, an area which I have never explored academically before.

Very recently I went part time with Metrikus which has really allowed me to double down with interlude and make big strides forward.

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

Working two jobs is not for the faint hearted, and I have so much respect for people who do that and more with dependants as well! 

I tend to get up around 6.30/7, but I am no stranger to the snooze button! I recently bought a Peloton which has been a real game changer for me as I have very unhappy knees – it also makes exercise that bit more convenient which is so important when time is so tight. 

I really try to get 15 minutes in to sit outside and read before the working day starts; it sets me up so well for the day, and my reading list is so long that it helps me to make a dent!  

On a Metrikus day I work 9-6 with the wonderful marketing team where I spend most of my time working on our content strategy, doing reviews and approvals and planning our upcoming projects. Since I work part time now, I try to keep the mornings and evenings of those days pretty clear for light interlude admin work, rather than having to knuckle down to big tasks after a long day, or before it’s even begun. 

On my interlude days, anything could happen! My partner Will and I have a really natural split of tasks, so he tends to work on the product itself with the dev team while I do more of the outward-facing work such as pitches, going to networking events and coordinating with our creators. Lately we’ve been fundraising for our seed round which has been within my remit, too – that’s been a real learning curve!

No matter what I’m doing, my day is of course punctuated with high-quality breaks! My absolute favourite HQB is taking our cocker spaniel Reggie out for a big walk then cooking something delicious for dinner – I find that really replenishes me for the next day. 

I always try to get an early night because quite frankly I’m a monster if I don’t get 8 hours!

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

With a startup – especially one that you run with your partner – the concept of ‘balance’ doesn’t really exist. It’s more of a work/life blend! 

One thing we’ve tried to do is to have a reset after the working day, usually getting out for a walk. It’s really tough to be in the mindset of two different companies so it’s important to put one away before working on the other.

I think the key thing really is planning: I’m an obsessive planner. I map all of my tasks for the week onto a ‘to do table’ (thanks to Grave Beverely and her book ‘Working Hard, Hardly Working’) for this method.

I split the tasks into quick (5 mins), tasks (30 mins or less) and projects (bigger jobs) both for interlude and Metrikus. I find it so helpful to be able to see everything in one place. I then pull that through to my daily to do list and then – crucially – timebox my calendar.

Timeboxing is a method where you put tasks into your calendar: it helps to keep you accountable, and also helps to avoid the dreaded effects of Parkinson’s law, where work expands to the time it’s given. It’s a little bit laborious but this system really helps me to stay on top of everything and to have a bit of relaxation time each day!

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4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I listened to Atomic Habits by James Clear on Audible recently – late to the party, I know – but it really has made a huge difference in my life. The idea of ‘habit stacking’ in particular has really helped me, i.e. the idea that you ‘stack’ a new habit on top of one you already do. For me, it was taking my supplements at the same time as brushing my teeth – such simple changes can make all the difference!

5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I have so many! My educational background is in Renaissance literature and history so I really love historical fiction from that period (if you haven’t read the Wolf Hall trilogy, I highly recommend it). I’m also a big nonfiction reader – I’m currently reading Manifest by Roxie Nafousi and Humankind by Rutger Bregman

In terms of podcasts, I love the High Performance podcast, especially because it does a great job of encouraging you to learn from different sources, for example learning about leading a team in your business by listening to a football manager.

I’m also a big fan of Steven Bartlett’s Diary of a CEO – he gets great guests and isn’t afraid to ask probing questions. For more general listening, I love Stuff the British Stole, My Favorite Murder and Terrible, Thanks for Asking.

For newsletters I love Sifted (startups), The Hustle (business and startups) and VeryGoodCopy (writing and content). Austin Kleon’s newsletter is also a real treat; every Friday he sends out a list of ‘10 things worth sharing’ and they’re always delightful. 

6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Mo Gawdat is the expert – if you listen to or read one person’s work, make it his! Personally, I would be fascinated to learn about how any single parent manages to run a business, look after their kid(s) and have some sort of a life at the same time: I’m in awe of those people. Superhumans!

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

Even on your busiest day, you have 5 minutes to take a break. I know it might feel like you don’t but I promise that you do. Self care isn’t selfish, and sometimes it’s the most productive thing we can do! 

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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.