Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Deirdre Fogarty, Assistant Digital Content Director at Triple M Network

Deirdre Fogarty is the Assistant Digital Content Director – Triple M Network at Southern Cross Austereo, where she’s responsible for producing content for several of the brand’s digital channels.

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

Sure thing! My career in digital content really started in late 2015, when I came back to Australia from Ireland. My (Irish) parents had packed everything up to move there when I was 10 but after I finished my Journalism degree, I decided to try and get a foot in the door somewhere – anywhere – in Sydney.

I was extremely fortunate that my resume landed on the desk of the incredible Rosie Squires, who was then heading up the digital content team at Bauer Media and who gave me my first “grown-up” job freelancing for the Australian Women’s Weekly online. Not long after that, I moved into a digital content manager position with what was then Food To Love, now Women’s Weekly Food.

When Rosie moved across to the Australian Radio Network as their Head of Digital Content a few months later, I followed and spent 18 months cutting my teeth in the world of radio for KIIS, WSFM and The Edge. Then, towards the end of 2017, a lead role in the Sydney digital content team for Triple M came up and I jumped at the chance.

About a year ago I was promoted to Assistant Digital Content Director for the Triple M network, which is where you find me now.

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

As much as I hate to say it, that ol’ chestnut of no-two-days-are-the-same is very true, especially at the moment. Radio livestreaming and catch-up audio is booming, so the digital content team is busier than ever, while also adjusting to working remotely.

My day always starts with a dog walk then a quick brekkie before I sit down at my desk/ the kitchen table with a coffee. I have a daily WIP with the wider Sydney content team at 8.30am so once that’s done, the fun starts!

Depending on the day, I’m compiling reports or newsletters, writing up audio from the shows to push out on social, looking after commercial content commitments, updating the app scheduling and/ or providing support for digital producers having issues with Facebook, Instagram or our scheduling tools.

We’ve also got some cool projects coming up that are taking up a fair bit of time, but that’s been exciting to be involved with.

I’m pretty strict with forcing myself off my computer by 5.30pm at the latest, and then it’s time for another dog walk to bookend the day.

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

Luckily, yes! The work I do can almost all be done remotely which has meant moving to work from home full-time hasn’t been too much of an adjustment.

Of course that means that it can be more difficult to strike the balance between home and work but I’ve tried really hard to stick to my usual routine to maintain a sense of normalcy.

I have noticed that losing my commute home means I’ve also lost my decompression time; that 25 minutes of travelling really helped to put a physical and mental distance between my day at work and my evening at home.

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

News is constantly breaking, so it can be difficult to put a hard stop on a working day – or working week – in this role. I’m very fortunate that I have bosses who are firm believers in leaving work at work wherever possible, so my emails have generally eased by the time I’m clocking off.

After 6pm, or on the weekends, there’s a somewhat unspoken rule that if something is really urgent, it can be texted; anything that can wait til the following workday is fine in an email. It means I’m not checking my emails throughout the weekend to see if there’s been an emergency, but I can be contacted easily on the off-chance there is.

For me, work-life balance is about giving myself the opportunity to reset and recharge for the day, week or month to come. The importance of being rested is never more evident than in January, when the team returns from the Christmas break bursting with new ideas. There’s a lot more room for inspiration when you’re not tired, stressed and sweating the small stuff!

5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?

Making my bed in the morning! It’s one, tiny thing I do every day – even when I’m working from home – that I know I’ll appreciate 16 hours later.

I’m also a huge list-maker; I have a couple of different diaries, one for things I need to do day-to-day and another for longer-term projects I’m keeping track of. I know I could probably do the same with an online calendar but then you don’t get the same satisfaction of crossing off a task when you’re done!

To continue the completely un-glamourous habits and routines, I’ve learned that I absolutely need at least eight hours of sleep to function properly and I cannot snooze my alarm in the morning. I don’t know how I used to survive on four hours sleep when I was a waitress but I definitely can’t do it now!

6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

Honestly, most of my improvements in a work space have come from having incredible mentors and peers to watch and learn from. I’m surrounded by enormously talented people whose creativity, leadership and support motivate me to be a better team member every day.

There’s also a quote from Tina Fey’s autobiography Bossypants that I read years and years ago that has always stuck with me: Hire the best people for the job and then get the hell out of their way.

7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Write a list, for sure. It can be super easy to lose track of everything going on so writing it down means I don’t forget it. Similarly, getting into the habit of flagging emails I need to follow-up on but don’t have time for right then and there has saved me a heap of forgotten responses.

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

Good communication is the key to any and all success, I’m convinced of it. Being kept in the dark, or finding things out at the last minute is always frustrating to be on the other end of, so I very much keep that in mind when I’m managing project roll-outs.

Almost over-communicating what is happening, when it is happening and who is doing what gives others the opportunity to flag any potential issues, reinforces what exactly your role is and makes you feel organised, all in one go. It’s an incredibly powerful tool and I cannot recommend it enough.

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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.