Balancing the Grind with Chris Williams, Creative Producer at Form Productions

Chris Williams is the Creative Producer at Form Productions, where he works with clients across tech, retail and events to produce engaging video content.

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

I moved to Australia from the UK around 5 years ago, at which point I was a Senior Recruiter for an IT consultancy – not my dream job!

I wanted to break into the creative industry managed to leverage my client-facing and sales background to do so, securing as a senior accounts role in a small creative agency in Redfern called And-Sydney, which was a great starting point for me.

From early on, the role began to evolve into something much bigger than planned, resulting in me managing the agency and getting much more hands-on creatively.

When the business wound up in 2017, I took the opportunity to partner with a friend under the banner of Form Productions, where I assume a hybrid creative-production role, primarily on video-centric projects, but more recently we’ve been taking on broader creative and comms briefs which is where I see things heading.

I love creating videos, but also get frustrated being tied to a specific medium and execution.

Sometimes video isn’t the right solution and something less glitzy and more effective could do the trick, so I want us to be in a position to guide them through that process, offering a broader service whilst still being able to execute productions to a high standard.

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

I always try to get up and out for a walk first thing to kick the day off. I feel like you can’t go wrong if you start out with some sunshine and a bit of movement – plus a coffee!

I wouldn’t say I have a strict structure to my working day, but I do structure each day, whether the evening before or first thing in the morning. I like to get started around 8 am as I find that hour before the phone starts ringing and the emails start pinging to be the most productive and for me personally.

This is when I am most sharp – especially with creative work. So I will plan out my tasks based around what requires the most creative juice and what is most urgent.

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

Yes, I am very lucky to have complete autonomy in both my working hours and location. Our office is only 10mins from home, so I often split my day between the two depending on what I have on.

I’ve learned that I am someone who needs a change of scenery every so often or I get bored, so I will work from home, the office, cafes and sometimes even outdoors if the sun is shining and I can get away with a notebook. I think I’ve done some of my best work on the beach.

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

It is one of, if not the most important things about not only what I do, but why I do it.

The stress and pressures of small business are not easy to navigate, but the trade-off in autonomy how, where and when I work is essential for me. It allows me to live where I want to live, prioritise my health & wellbeing and honestly – gets the best work out of me.

Everyone is different and I appreciate some people need a rigid structure or routine, but I think if I went back to watching the clock I’d go crazy.

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

Nothing specifically, but I do go through phases. I went through a 6-month period where I write every morning and really saw the benefits on my creativity, mental health and productivity, but I can’t say I’ve stuck to it, unfortunately.

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

There is a great podcast called Stuff You Should Know that I listen to quite often, which toes the line between information and entertainment.

It’s not your typical high functioning, informative podcast, but it’s nice to switch your brain off work, learn about something random and laugh a little at the same time.

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

I use an app called Todoist that I literally couldn’t live without. I’m not naturally organised and often forget things within seconds. Todoist allows me to keep myself (both personal and work) in check by congrats all my lists/tasks across my phone, laptop and desktop.

I also wear a Garmin watch pretty much 24/7. I’m a sports science graduate, so I geek out on all things exercise and tracking, but aside from that keeping a loose track of steps, HR etc is handy.

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

Marcelo Bielsa. Strange I know, but for those of you who don’t know he’s a football manager who has just managed to have my team, Leeds United, promoted back to the premier league.

The reason he’s so interesting is that he has instilled a culture of hard work and unprecedented commitment in every team he’s ever coached at great sacrifice to his own and the player’s work-life balance.

I’d love to know more about how he makes this work and how it is sustainable. I certainly wouldn’t be up for it.

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

Work is work. Hopefully, you enjoy – no hopefully, you LOVE what you do. But at the end of the day, it’s still work. Everyone needs some time to themselves, no matter how little.

The balance will ebb and flow (for example, it has taken me 4 weeks to answer these questions because ‘I’ve been flat out’) but that’s not the norm for me. Balance is not fixed, but make sure it’s there.

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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.