Balancing the Grind with Chloe Schneider, Head of Content at Bohemia Group

Chloe Schneider is the Head of Content at Bohemia Group, a full-service media agency which is part of the M&C Saatchi Group.

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

I’m currently the Head of Content at Bohemia, which is part of M&C Saatchi Group. I oversee a small team of content experts and, together, we help our clients build content strategies and create really compelling content. 

From the outside, my path to this role probably looks pretty linear but, the truth is, when I started, I had no idea where I was headed. I was just really focused on what was in front of me at that moment — the work, the opportunities, the people. 

It started pretty simply — I wanted to get some writing experience. So, while working a full time admin job, I took on a remote internship at beauty & lifestyle website Rescu under the force that is Bahar Etminan. Bahar really took me under her wing and within a couple of months, the internship turned into a freelance gig.

It was at Rescu that I learned about the commercial and partnerships side of digital publishing and figured out that I really thrived in that space where creativity meets business objectives. 

From there, I bounced around a little before finding my way back to Rescu as the Digital Producer. I was responsible for the editorial calendar, all elements of brand partnerships from media plans to creative strategy to production and account management, and so much more. 

In 2015, my partner was offered a job in the US and, as a dual-citizen, I was lucky enough to be able to move right over with him. I landed in LA with no job and no contacts.

By some miracle, I was offered two jobs within 3 weeks of arriving — one was a media planner role and one a creative strategy/branded content position. This was one of those ‘fork in the road’ scenarios, and I decided to take the creative strategy role with Mashable.

It was a dream job — and one I had a lot of success in as I built out the LA branded content team and eventually moved out East for the Director of Creative Strategy role at Mashable’s HQ in New York.

After around 3 years I was ready for a new challenge, and took a role with wellness media company mindbodygreen. When I started, I was overseeing the team responsible for building campaigns and marketing materials for our advertisers.

I worked super closely with Colleen Wachob, the co-founder and co-CEO, who recognised my need for new challenges and delivered on it. Within about 18 months, I was overseeing brand strategy, social media, the podcast, branded content, and parts of the marketing strategy for mbg supplements+ and mbg classes.

I’d been promoted to a VP role and was on the leadership team. It was such an amazing experience, the entire team is so dedicated and passionate. Every single day I was in awe of how much we could get done. 

After a pretty harrowing 2020, we decided to move back to Australia to be closer to family, and that’s when I found my role at Bohemia Group and made the move.

And here we are! 

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

I don’t have kids, so I can be pretty selfish with my time and I have enough friends with little kids and big jobs that I know to take advantage of that while I can! Every day is a little different, but I suppose the average day is something like this.

If I’m working in the office, I’ll usually wake up around 5.30am and get myself to a 6.15am reformer pilates class. Or, if I’m tired, I’ll do a bit of yoga at home, go for a walk, or just sleep in. Then I get through emails while I have a smoothie and a coffee, quickly get ready for the day and rush into work. I usually grab a flat white on the way. 

Some days are back-to-back with meetings — client WIPs, presentations, internal meetings — and other days I have more time to focus on work, whether that’s building out proposals or new capabilities, developing content strategies, editing content, providing my team with feedback or helping them through sticky situations. It’s a mixed bag, with shifting priorities, so I’ve adapted a ‘go with the flow’ mentality. 

I pretty much always eat lunch at my desk (I know), but I do try to take a walk outside at some point in the day to stretch my legs and get some vitamin D, even if it’s just 15 minutes. 

I head home around 5.30-6pm and cook dinner with my husband. I’m a total homebody, I love to cook, and I feel so much better on 8-hours sleep, so I really feel my best when this is what my routine looks like for the majority of the week, but I do usually have drinks or dinner with friends booked in at least one night. 

After we cook dinner and eat (at the table with no TV on, I really think that’s so important), I’ll either get through a little more work or watch something on TV. I’m in bed by 9.30-10pm most nights! 

If I work from home, all of that is the same, but instead of the commute I’ll get some washing done or just start work an hour earlier. 

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

Yes, it does, we have a hybrid work environment, and I’m so grateful for it. Right now, I’m in the office around 3 days a week and I love that balance. 

I really missed the in-person brainstorms and conversations when I was locked down in New York last year and, at the end of the day, human interaction is just healthy. But I am a very introverted Pisces, so I get a lot of energy from being alone and powering through focus work. 

The only thing that changes with the hybrid model is that I am adjusting my routine a little depending on where I’m working. And I generally need to schedule time to get up and go for a walk in the middle of the day when I work from home, otherwise I’ll just get too absorbed and forget to move. 

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

For me, work-life balance isn’t so much about a daily or weekly quota that I need to achieve, it’s more about identifying what is deserving of my energy and attention at any given point. 

Early on in my career, especially when I was in smaller, start-up environments, the scales were definitely tipped towards work. Part of it was purely practical — I got into a bit of debt in my early 20s and I had to pull myself out of it with freelance writing work on the weekend.

Beyond that, I had this job that I loved and a lot of trust and responsibility, so I wanted to work really hard and learn as much as humanly possible. Don’t get me wrong, I still made time to date, to see friends, to do all the things you do in your 20s, but I went into the office a fair few public holidays and worked all sorts of odd hours. 

When I got to LA, all of that paid off because I’d learned how to manage my time, identify and focus on the things that really mattered, and get the most out of every minute. So, at that point, balancing work and life became really easy. I didn’t make a conscious effort to do so, it just happened organically because I was in a different season of life. 

In New York, there were definitely more instances where the scales would tip in favour of work — it’s just a different pace and I had a lot I wanted to achieve. But we still got time to explore, especially in the summers which are just so much fun. 

Last year was a real challenge, and things were constantly changing. When COVID hit NY hard in March, work definitely took over. Then my father was suddenly hospitalised in June, and I had to fly home mid-pandemic and do hotel quarantine.

I was allowed out for five hours to go see him in the hospital, and he passed away later that night. I was devastated. I still am. So, naturally, I had to let life take over during that period. 

In short, life has its seasons, and I think we all just need to let the scales tip and not put so much pressure on ourselves to get it right every single day. It’s also important for me to acknowledge that even talking about a work-life balance is pretty privileged.

I pulled myself out of debt and got into a good savings rhythm by my mid-20s, but there are millions of people who have to work two jobs just to survive or keep food on the table for the family. I’m very lucky. 

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

Honestly, as crazy as last year was, not much about my routine actually changed. I think I had already figured out what works for me and, if anything, the last 12 months just cemented that. 

Moving in the morning, whether that’s something in the gym, a walk or a 20-minute at-home workout (I love Melissa Wood Health and Obé), really helps me keep my head on straight. When I’m in a creative rut, a walk in fresh air is generally the answer.

When lockdown started, my husband and I (and most of the world) got into a bad habit of making a cocktail or a campari and soda almost every night around 6pm. It took moving to Australia to break that one, but the odd cocktail at home, after a win or a really big day, can be a really joyful thing. 

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

Oh, so many. 

I listen to a really mixed bag of podcasts. Regular listens include The Daily, Armchair Expert, Call Her Daddy (don’t judge it ‘til you’ve tried it), The Glossy by Digiday, and The mindbodygreen Podcast.

I’ll listen to the odd episode of HBR Ideacast or So You’re Wrong About if I’m drawn to the topic. And I love a good series — Chameleon, The Sure Thing, and Foundering The TikTok Story to name a few.

The one newsletter that everyone should subscribe to is the DTC Newsletter by Pilothouse. It’s a game-changer. Even if you don’t think you’re “in” the DTC world, you’ll probably pick up a few tips and tricks.

Other than that, Social Media Today, Social Media Examiner, Emerging Tech Brew, Marketing Brew, Digiday, and the Cassandra Report are a few that I regularly actually open. 

Books, I read to escape, so mostly fiction. Here are a bunch that have really stuck with me:

  • The Mothers by Brit Benet (I’m reading The Vanishing Half now, it’s wonderful too)
  • Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (magical!)
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh (an absolute trip)
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (powerful)
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (devastating, beautiful, I tear up thinking about it). 

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I’m afraid I am a bit of a slave to my Apple Watch — movement rings, bedtime alerts, and keeping me from getting in that phone rabbit hole by giving me a more curated assortment of notifications. 

In terms of time management, the thing I really can’t live without is a physical week-on-a-page diary. I write my to-do list for the next day down every evening. 

For work, I tend to cater the apps and tools I’m using to the team and its needs, but some combination of Slack, Asana, Trello, and Google’s various Workspace tools always appear. 

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

Kris Jenner

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

Don’t make work-life balance another stressful thing that you have to ‘achieve.’ I’ve been in conversations where this whole thing can feel like a bit of a competition sometimes, but we all need different things at different times. It’s all about recognising what season of life we’re in and adapting to that. 

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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.