Julia Newbould is the Editor-at-large at Money Magazine, Australia’s longest-running and most-read personal finance magazine.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I studied economics at Uni, I did work experience at the Stock Exchange and really wanted to work there as a stockbroker.
It was not good financial times when I graduated and I also decided I didn’t really want to go into finance after leaving uni, so I realised that the job I thought also looked great there was the PR role.
I applied for several PR jobs and each one told me I needed to get writing experience first. So I got a cadetship with a local paper and started writing and enjoyed that so much that I stayed in journalism for most of my career.
About 20 years ago I started editing Financial Planning magazine which nicely dovetailed with my economics background and have stayed more or less working in that niche since then.
My current role as editor at large at Money allows me to focus on helping people achieve financial freedom through becoming more connected with their own financial position.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
A workday for me starts with a scan of media and media releases that have come in overnight and that morning and trying to figure out if there’s anything that needs to be followed up today.
Then I like to structure my priorities into any media interviews I might have – make sure I have the latest details on anything I might be asked on air. I look at the stories I need to write and think about who would be the best people to comment on those stories then make a plan to contact them.
I then start writing what has the most urgent deadlines as well as trying to plan my future weeks to make sure I won’t be blindsided by any upcoming deadlines for stories, presentations or interviews.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
During COVID when we all had to work from home I found there had to be a conscious break of the workday otherwise it could be hard to step away from the computer. I tried to balance it with a regular dinner break and then reading or relaxing by watching TV.
Now that there are some companies working from home and some of us in the office, I find things like Zoom meetings that were previously done in the privacy of your own home are difficult in an office environment so we are trying to straddle different styles and that can be hard.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work life balance to me is making sure that I have time to myself and to things other than work.
I think in an environment like we’ve all been through, we need to understand what makes us happy and fulfilled because jobs aren’t secure and we need to be conscious of friends and their needs more acutely now we might not be seeing them as often.
To achieve the goal now I make sure I read on my journey into and home from the office – it gives me perspective of a new world and is a good buffer to work and home life.
I think it’s harder to have work life balance now because whether we are working from home or an office we are all working harder and busier and a bit more stressed which means things can take a big longer to achieve.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Unfortunately some of the routines and habits I have stopped have not been good ones to stop.
For example, I used to play tennis one lunchtime a week which had to stop, and I walked a lot more. I was also out at the theatre and seeing shows which have ceased and I miss the mind expansion of that and the pleasure that gave me.
I have eaten better food but unfortunately probably more which I will now have to change!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I have felt very nostalgic for family, like my grandmother and father during this time. I look back at times after WW1 when there was flu and depression and how people managed so I have been reading a lot about that era, from series such as Maisie Dobbs and Kate Shackleton.
Podcasts I’ve found a little difficult to get into without routine, when we were working from home, I managed to listen to podcasts while cooking but I don’t seem to have the time for that now.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I find Facebook most comforting now as it keeps me in touch with family and friends overseas. I have also started playing trivia games online which is rather addictive.
For work I am on LinkedIn constantly, I like to see what everyone is up to, I like to share things I find smart and useful and I like the ability to reach out to friends and colleagues and for them to reach out to me.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I think work life balance of the Royals – and how they manage to be one face to the world and perhaps another to their family – or perhaps not. I think a true description would be fascinating. Basically – do people truly bring their whole self to work, and should they? I think this is an interesting concept.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I go to work each day trying to do the best job I can and help others do the same. This is my basic to do list each day. I like to make sure things are fair and equitable in the workplace and that the work we do has wider meaning beyond a simple monetary exchange. Whatever we do – we can strive for this.
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