Balancing the Grind with Jessica Smalley, Executive Producer – The Mentor & Straight Talk with Mark Bouris

Jessica Smalley is the Executive Producer of podcasts at Mentored Platform, including The Mentor, Straight Talk and others.

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

So I don’t know about you, but my career path is a bit of a zig-zag. I’ve worked across the ABC (Radio Sydney, News radio/TV, The Drum), 2GB, and triple j. 

Now I work for Mark Bouris, who is Australia’s most successful (and enigmatic) entrepreneur. I’m the executive producer of podcasts at Mentored Platform, including The Mentor, Straight Talk and others. I wear a few other hats within the business, producing YouTube series Survive and Thrive, live events, social content and whatever else you throw my way. 

So these days, I like to call myself a digital creator.

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

Haha, okay, here is my routine. 

I start my mornings at 4.30 am and do my best not to check my phone until I arrive at the gym at 5 am. Get a workout in and head back home by 6ish to get ready for work and leave for the train at 7.30 am. 

I chow through as many emails as possible, then chill for a bit before I get into the day. 

Get into the studio at 8.30 am, editorial meeting before nine, and if it’s a recording day, I’m in the studio with Mark until 12.30 pm. 

During the lunch break, I get away from my desk and go for a walk. 

Get back into it at 2 pm to edit audio and video, chase talent (endless beast), plus work on upcoming content/events.

I try to get out by 5 pm, but deadlines. 

Decompress on the train and work on personal projects. 

Get home and get ready to do it all over again.

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

I work with a very small team of 3 so being in the same room is very important for getting stuff done, ideation and general workplace culture. For that reason, working from home isn’t an option.

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

Honestly, there’s no such thing, only prioritisation and sacrifice. 

I know what and who is important to me, and that’s career, friends and family, so you’ve got to be ruthless with how you spend your time. So if a work thing is more important than spending time with a loved one at that given moment, then choose the work thing and vice versa. Just need to be aware and present with your choices. 

But I don’t have kids, so it’s 10x easier to do the above.

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

I haven’t stopped, but I’ve significantly lowered my alcohol intake. It just slows me down.

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

I am obsessed with The Diary Of A CEO, hosted by English entrepreneur Steven Bartlett. This podcast delivers insight across all avenues of work, career, relationships and how that relates to your overall life. 

Steven is about continually improving things by 1%, so you’ll gain something new from each episode.

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

Nah. Just my Garmin smartwatch.

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

Probably Steven Bartlett. 

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

I’m yet to come across anyone who can balance all three simultaneously. 

It’s obviously more complicated for women to juggle, not just because of the whole kid thing but all of the added standards that come with being a chick. It takes me an hour to do makeup and hair, like, what?! 

You come first, so make that your priority and align everything else with that.

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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.