Balancing the Grind with Inan Uzunoglu, Business Director at The Media Store

Inan Uzunoglu is the Business Director at The Media Store, one of Australia’s largest independent media agencies.

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

I am currently a Business Director at a media agency, The Media Store. I’ve worked in Media for over 12 years working through clients’ strategy, designing their go to market approach and investing media funds accordingly.

Every client I’ve worked on has their own unique challenges and therefore campaigns need to have varying approaches. Advertising a car needs a very different campaign to selling a meat pie and that’s what excites me about the industry.

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

It’s hard to answer this question without pointing out the obvious COVID situation over the last 6 months. Life BC (before COVID) was very different to now.

I’m not really a morning person so I am loving having my morning commute time back to start the day at a more comfortable pace. I don’t function without coffee so my day starts with that.

I’m writing this on a Monday, which was jam packed with meetings. In fact, I had a total of 6 hours of meetings on this particular Monday, including, internal catch ups to kick the week off and client meetings.

The number of meetings have increased when compared to BC and I can understand why – what might have previously been a quick chat now needs to be a scheduled video conference.

I also worked through emails and finished up a presentation and then was out the door just after 5pm to go for a walk at Altona beach. From here it was a wind down of dinner and settling in prior to Melbourne’s lock down, when I handed my brain over to TV/Netflix for a couple of hours.

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

Absolutely. The Media Store was well equipped with cloud and remote working BC and we were able to get organised pretty quickly in mid-march. In the 6 months since work has been 100% remote.

Whilst I miss the team, I have enjoyed not having a commute, spending time at home, lots of puppy time with Nugget (my dog, not the McDonalds variety of the same word) and having the flexibility that comes with working from home and organising my day to include more exercise and home cooking.

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

Truthfully, I struggle with the term balance and prefer ‘work-life integration’. Work is a part of our life and we are more connected and accessible than ever, hence for me integrating this into our life sits better for me.

My goal is to integrate work and life in a way that enables me to kick goals at work and also make time to care for my dad who suffers from MND, spend time with my fur baby and be surrounded by the friends and family that mean the most to me.

This might mean for example rushing off to take dad to a specialist appointment midway through the day and logging in later to finish up what I may have missed. I’m fortunately to work somewhere that prioritises people and has been nothing but understanding of the complexities that make up a diverse team.

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

The moment we commenced working from home 6+ months ago I immediately set some goals to help navigate what was to come. Friends’ overseas experienced COVID restrictions prior to us so I knew it could be a longer term thing.

Goals were a combination of big and small; I wanted to learn something, stop drinking alcohol for as long as possible, drink more water, walk Nugget daily, check in on family daily, moisturise more, cook things and re-watch favourite TV shows just to name a handful.

I’m happy to say I have been doing all of those things; I completed a 12 week online course (ADMA WFH Marketing Masterclass), made/cooked/ate way too many dumplings, walked (most) days and I’ve only had 2 drinks since March.

I also re-watched all of Mad Men, The Office and if lockdown continues I think I’ll start on the 30 year back catalogue of The Simpsons. I’m not sure if these things have changed my life, but the sense of achievement and routine alone has provided some level of certainty and structure in the craziness of the last 6 months.

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

I’m a sucker for a good TED talk and learning from other people’s experiences. Here’s a few I’ve watched recently:

Newsletters – I’ve been reading Wait But Why for years. The articles are so well written and cover topics I have generally never thought about – which is great.

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

Gadgets – My mobile phone, Apple watch, Bluetooth speakers.

Apps – BOM weather (Melbourne life), Spotify, Expensify, Amazon and Instagram.

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

I find it interesting that most people throw the words work life balance around but either haven’t thought about what it means to them personally or can’t articulate what balance is at a personal level.

The most frequent examples I’ve seen are parents who need to balance kid pickups and parent duties, but if we dive a little deeper, balance (or integration) means different things to different people.

I would encourage everyone to give it some thought and first understand what balance (or integration) represents to them prior to implementing a plan of attack for getting it right.

In a COVID world – I would say set some clear, achievable goals that work for you (big and small). These should primarily provide structure to the current situation we are in and don’t necessarily have to be life changing, but certainly can be if that works for you.

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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.