Jane Evans is a Marketing Communications Consultant who owns a consultancy, Jane Evans Etc, and is part of the team at Q Strategies.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m a marketing communications consultant who works both at the strategy level and hands-on. At the moment I work with clients through my consultancy Jane Evans Etc and I am part of the team at boutique marketing communications consultancy Q Strategies.
My background is pretty varied across corporate and public sector marketing, public relations, and business development. I’ve held big national and Asia Pacific marketing leadership roles in global corporations, and I’ve worked with small businesses and startups. My earlier career was in public relations and policy with the public sector.
For the last few years I’ve focused on the consumer and lifestyle sector, delivering brand strategy and PR, media, and stakeholder programs for businesses in hospitality, food, wine, and tourism, including leading the Marketing Team at Melbourne’s Prahran Market.
I look at what I do as turning the good, unstructured intentions of clients into concrete strategies and plans in creative, transformational ways. My diverse background helps, but also it’s my personality – I enjoy brand stories, tinkering with new ways of thinking, and creating new approaches.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
All of us in Victoria are still feeling some ‘lockdown hangover’ from the past 18 months – it’s been exhausting. So while I still tend to stick to a similar routine, it has been harder to maintain.
Typically I’m up at around 6:30 for some kind of exercise: yoga, a workout, or walking the dog – and I always eat breakfast.
I work from my home office, sometimes onsite at Q Strategies HQ, or at a client premises. Right now, my work hours are 9-3 with 10-2 my most productive time – I tend to eat lunch on the go.
At the moment 3:00 – 8:00 is kept clear for the kids and family – when things get busy I bring in help and extend my working day. We make it a rule to sit down to eat dinner together.
I am a bit of a night owl and evenings are temptingly productive! But for me it’s not sustainable and I try to do it only when I really have to. Bed is around 10:30 / 11:00.
And of course there is evening and weekend work. A recent example was with Q Strategies launching the luxe new-build Next Hotel Melbourne and La Madonna restaurant and bar. We hosted a series of intimate events with media, influencers and others as part of the launch plan, and as always there was a lot of desk-work in the lead up, and after the event.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I’ve been working remotely for more than a decade. While I was working with global IT Services company Unisys, they shed physical office/desk space and moved us all to a home-based workforce, with 2 days in the office each week. So you could say I’ve got it down to a fine art.
The pandemic has put a new lens on remote working, but it’s still largely the same – I can get more ‘focused’ work hours into the day, there are fewer interruptions, it’s less tiring without a commute, and I can slot in more of life’s priorities around work, like tradespeople coming to the house.
But my view is still that the best model is a hybrid, including some physical together time alongside remote working time. All organisations, particularly big ones, need social “water cooler” type conversations for building relationships and sharing company context. It’s difficult to do that while you’re apart. Sometimes you just need to walk the floors.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Personally, I’ve never liked the term “balance”: Life isn’t harmonious or neat, it’s messy, demanding and unexpected. We need strategies that help us live with that. For me this is about leaning into my intuition and the things that make me tick.
Like working out what my “right” work is and doing that. When I’m doing work that is a good fit with my strengths and aspirations, I am driven and energised by it, and this carries over into other areas of my life too.
Getting good at saying ‘no’ professionally is another. There’s a lot of self-respect in it. Whether that’s declining projects, changing business goals, or to “kill a darling” or two. Knowing what not to do, or when to stop something, is just as important in the mix.
Spending time on my personal health, exercise, meditation are all about investing in my well being, endurance and resilience. Spending time with my husband, family and friends, is the glue to everything.
By listening to my intuition, and knowing the reasons why I’m doing things, I can bend with the winds, rather than lose my footing struggling against them.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Following the news, reading up on market and social issues, staying on top of social trends: it’s all part of the job description. I’m also a bit of a news junkie.
But during 2020 I fell into the trap of regular morning doom-scrolling, checking my phone as soon as I woke up. It’s been a tough habit to break but I try to leave it until after I’m up and about – it makes a big difference to my mood and my productivity.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Mornings I listen to The Squiz for a quick daily news roundup. They also do 10minute deep dives on current issues.
I recently started listening to The Knowledge Project for thought provoking conversations around the interconnections and complex issues in life, both business and personal. I also trawl regularly across different pods in food, wine and hospitality.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
For professional development Udemy and Coursera. Audible helps me have more books in my life because I can listen while driving or doing house stuff. Hubspot Clockify and Focus Keeper are favourites for productivity.
Apple watch and Airpods are brilliant for everything = life on the go.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Turia Pitt, Mining Engineer, Author, Athlete, Mindset Coach.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
We’re all human, none of us are perfect, and we’re all just trying to do our best. Sometimes things don’t go to plan, and we need to cut ourselves some slack when they don’t.
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