Balancing the Grind with Jamie Fairfield, Group Client Lead at Essence Global

Jamie Fairfield is the Group Client Lead at Essence Global, a global data and measurement-driven full service agency.

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

Like many ad people I’ve kind of grown up in advertising spending the last 6 years in agencies starting at Saatchi & Saatchi as an intern at twenty two and working my way up into my new role as Group Client Lead.

In my current role at Essence Mediacom I work closely with media, strategy, social content and creative teams across a broad range of clients from Salesforce, Snackbrands, Stocklands, Hills Pet Nutrition and Ferrari. 

We work in partnership with our clients to create bespoke fit for channel content and media solutions. A few recent highlights have been shooting at Casa Ferrari for the Melbourne F1 and a shoot in a moving boat underneath the harbour bridge. 

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

I have a very set routine depending on whether I am in the office (tues/thurs) or WFM (mon,weds,fri). 

On WFH days I am up before 6am, I listen to a guided meditation for 20 mins and then have warm lemon water with a green smoothie for my digestion and daily fibre intake. From there I do some weight training or read prior to starting my work day at 9am.

I religiously time block my work calendar at the beginning of the week to ensure all deep or urgent work can be completed in the AM 9-11am  prior to fielding emails or chats + team meetings or presentations. At Essence we have an amazing 12-2 no meeting zone over lunch where you’re encouraged to exercise and actually take lunch so I try to fit in a walk in during this time.

Then I continue with my afternoon work and meetings with 4.30-5.30 normally reserved for admin or lower energy tasks in alignment with my late PM brain. At 6.15 I’ll then end my day with a hot yoga class, having this booked in holds me accountable and gives a hard stop to my day.

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

For me it is identifying and protecting both the things in work and life that you find enriching and ensuring these are not in conflict. 

Personally it took a bunch of self reflection and many years of trial and error to achieve an optimal balance and is something I am still working on. As a former people pleaser, this can be really difficult to self negotiate.

It’s more to add value where you add value best and realising that if you engage in things outside of work that make you feel good, you create a positive reinforcing cycle in both your life and your ability to perform at work.  

Finally I’ve totally divorced myself the #GirlBoss subculture and I am really aware of not doing things to appear busy, but doing things that provide the best impact for my clients and team.

As such I have moved away from reactive replying and pinging things off just to clear my inbox and tick a list. Reworking my relationship with productivity and designing my day based off of this has really helped move me towards more of a balanced approach. 

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

Cutting down caffeine.  I’ve reduced my coffee intake (from an embarrassingly high number of strong long black cups) to 1-2 daily and I have really seen a change in how I feel and my mental chatter. This in turn has impacted my productivity as I am less twitchy and jittery and able to give my complete attention to tasks rather than being a chaotic caffeine gremlin. 

Categorising my to do list. I now have my list for the day, list for the next day and then collective list for the week.  By segmenting tasks this really helps me prioritise, time block, see how much is on and how long things are going to take. It also relieves mental overwhelm as looking at the overarching list can be a lot but when you break it down further it becomes more manageable which in turn helps with procrastination. 

Time Blocking – I learnt to be so rigorous with my time blocking from a very clever strategist (S/O Cat) and also through the theory of Parkinson’s law (aka. that the time you allocate to a task is the time it will take up). It’s been a game changer for me as it’s moved me from multi-tasking (badly) to having a singular focus for set periods of time. It allows me to feel more in control of my time and I have less and less of that “where did the day go???” feeling. 

Balancing exercise with my hormones +  my relationship with cardio – I could talk about this forever but basically being more aware of fluctuations in hormones throughout my cycle and then retrofitting my exercise around this has been a massive game changer as I focus on supporting not depleting my body.

Also looking at my overcommitted exercise cycles where I would burn myself out and off the back of this, choosing to incorporate more sustainable exercise such as a daily 5km walk which I actually look forward to.

Stopping intermittent fasting – Like everybody else, a few years ago I had read about the amazing benefits of intermittent fasting and had implemented it within my routine with a 6 hour eating window most days. However it’s since come out that most of the studies citing the benefits have been completed on male test groups and don’t account for female test subjects and their hormones.

Since then I have started eating breakfast and feel a lot more focused, less anxious and more balanced throughout the day. It’s a good example of being open to trying things out but also paying attention to how that recommended thing makes you feel and revisiting if needed. 

RTT hypnotherapy – this is a new one! But so far so good and something I am really excited to delve into. In the last month I’ve been completing hypnotherapy and it’s been amazing in revisiting and addressing my limiting beliefs. It’s not for everyone but I also think any form of therapy, self reflection or self improvement is such a life changing activity and a worthwhile investment. 

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

  • Oprah – Super Soul 
  • Jay Shetty – On Purpose 
  • Marisa Peers – Master Your Mind

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

Warren Buffett!

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

Comparison is the thief of joy so don’t worry too much about what other people are doing. As you navigate and set your boundaries it will become easier to do great work.

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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.