Balancing the Grind with Ellie Spinks, Co-founding Principal at Lande Architects

Ellie Spinks is the co-founding principal at Lande Architects, a multidisciplinary team who aspire to enrich the spaces we use everyday.

Learn about the daily routines from the most successful people in the world by signing up to our newsletter

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

After studying Architecture and Construction Management at university, I followed the path of Architecture. Working for architects I aspired to, such as Matt Gibson Architecture and design. I quickly realised the best way for me to balance having a family of my own and continuing to work in the industry was to work for myself. I was fortunate enough at the time to have a work colleague who wanted the same thing. I have now been a co-director at Lande Architects, for 4 years.

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

A mum of 2 little boys, (1 + 2.5 y.o), each day looks a little different depending on their care arrangements. Most days I try to get into work early, 7.30-8am. This gives me a bit of time to plan my day and answer emails before our staff get into the office.

The rest of the day consists of client meetings, in house project meetings, and actual work such as sketching, and AutoCAD. My business partner and I will have a coffee catch up each day to discuss work events, but also catch up on events outside of the office such as the dogs and kids!

The days we have a nanny with the boys, I try to get in some exercise and have a personal trainer, or scheduling in any appointments I have. So on day care days, I can pick the boys up earlier at around 3.30pm and spend some time with them before bed.

In the evenings, I’ll have dinner with my husband after the kids go to bed and catch up on the day’s events. My husband and I are also doing a townhouse development together, so typically (as much as we try not to discuss this at night!) we end up working on this.

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

Both my babies being covid babies, it has taken a while to figure out a good work-life balance, and i am still trying to achieve this. Trying to juggle a new business and a new baby at the beginning of a pandemic, was difficult, I tried to see the positives of being able to spend more time with my little boy, but the reality was I was doing a half assed job at being a mum and a half assed job at work!

Over the past 2 years, the construction industry has exploded. Lande has grown at a rate my business partner and I would never have imagined. We have really leaned into this and maximise every opportunity that comes our way. This has seen my work swallow me up a bit this year, taking me to regular client meetings in our Brisbane office and overseas to Canada for another exciting project.

However, being able to be back in the office and working collaboratively has been a huge win for our whole team. This has really helped me to separate work and home life, enabling me to be a better boss and a better mum.

I am still working on better work life balance, next year my husband and I have decided to work a nine day fortnight. Enabling us both to spend a day with the kids and allowing for some quality time with them.

Step up your corporate retreat game with Midstay! Our packages offer working-ready venues, perfect for goal-setting, brainstorming and team-building. Book now and let Midstay handle the rest, while you focus on valuable bonding time with your team.

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

Prioritising exercise! Since being a mum I had forgotten how good raising my heart rate made me feel. (when it wasn’t from bouncing a kid up and down) My focus the second half of this year was to make time for 2 PT sessions and 1 walk / run. Next year my husband and I are going to try and do the walk / run together in the mornings.

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

I love to read over the summer break when I have more time to myself. I love a good crime thriller or rom con, switching off from work as much as I can. Currently I’m reading Lessons in Chemistry.

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

I love reading about women who are smashing their full time work at the same time as having babies! The more honest the better – no one finds that balance easy.

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

There’s no one fits all to work-life balance, and you will always feel like you could be doing it better. But make sure you are filling your own cup each day and not just those around you at home and at work.

Before you go…

If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here

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.