Balancing the Grind with Kady O Connell, Founder & Director of Kady Creative

Kady O Connell is the founder and director of Kady Creative, a creative studio helping entrepreneurs and lifestyle businesses with strategic branding and websites.

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

I’ve worked in the design industry for the past decade and founded my branding and web design studio, Kady Creative, four years ago.

I studied visual communications in Uni and after that scored an internship with a fashion magazine in Dublin. When I moved to Sydney a year later, I worked my way up from graphic designer to Art Director and started a food blog on the side as a passion project.

Through this, I started to meet lots of other bloggers in Sydney that wanted my help creating their brands and websites. This organically grew so much that it turned into the busy studio it is today and it’s been a rollercoaster ever since!

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

My typical workday has changed a lot since  Covid and I now really value a quiet morning to get into the right headspace.

I’ve gone from 5.30am alarms and racing to the gym to now waking up between 6-7 to take my dog for a walk to the beach with my husband. I’ll grab a coffee or go for a swim and then head back home to make smoothies, journal or meditate and get ready for the day.

From there, I jump on emails and Slack for an hour to power through some team updates and finalise my list for the day. We have a team meeting on Zoom several times a week to run through all of our creative projects.

Then I’ll either head to our office in Paddington for some meetings or on days I work from home that’s when I get creative and do a lot of work on the business. My time these days is a mix of strategy calls with clients, brainstorming sessions with my team and overseeing creative direction to hiring new members of our team or rolling out new internal processes.

No two days are the same and we are ever-evolving, learning and adapting. I’m so lucky to have such an amazing team that is always on board for my new (and sometimes crazy) ideas and to have support from amazing experts to help add structure to the agency. 

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

Absolutely. I currently spend half my time working from home and half in the office. I’ve given my team the option to come in or work remotely. It’s been really great for us as a lot of clients are based all around the globe.

We always catch up though for regular brainstorming sessions, team dinners and creative co-working days which is so nice. I really love this balance as it keeps things interesting and it just seems to flow. I now try not to plan too much in advance and instead check in with myself of what I feel like doing at the time and what will best serve me. 

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

To me there is no such thing and work and life are interwoven. If I have to get up some mornings at 5am to take calls with our global clients that’s fine, I’ll just take a 2 hour mid-day break to go for a walk and a swim.

I’m all about making sure I try to nourish my mind, body and soul in whatever way I can throughout the week. If I’ve had a hectic 2-3 days which often happens, I’ll make sure to book an infrared sauna, float tank or acupuncture to unwind.

I don’t like to force anything or to set times I’m ‘off’ and ‘on’. Being creative and having energy is so much more important to me moving the needle in my business than trying to force any strict criteria.

In saying that I am an extremely organised person. I live for systems and we have the best structures in place within my team. This means things flow, everyone knows what they are accountable for, deadlines are always met and we get incredible results for our clients while also keeping healthy and sane! 

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

Yes, I did an amazing program this year called The Hoffman Process and it was life-changing. It’s a 7 day retreat in Byron Bay where you identify your limiting beliefs and choose new ones to replace them.

You have no laptop or phone for the 7 days and it’s a gruelling 12 hour day each day, however it was also transformative. Since then, I’ve been practicing the course meditations most days which has kept me calm and open.

I’ve also gotten really big into foam rolling of all things! I follow Lauren Roxburgh’s program and she talks all about energy being stored and blocked in your fascia. By rolling, you’re opening your shoulders and releasing the energy and I’ve found doing this every couple of hours to break up my work day so energising.

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

For personal growth, I absolutely love Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr Joe Dispenza and for business my favourite book is Traction.

For anyone interested in exploring the Hoffman Process concepts further The Tim Ferriss Show featuring Blake Mycoskie.

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

Yes! My team and I live on Slack, Voxer and Clickup. We use Google Drive for all docs and file sharing and Loom to do screen recorded videos for our clients and to present work. And of course good old Zoom!

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

Jacinda Ardern, she seems to take everything in her stride while getting shit done!

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

I think just not to beat yourself up if you don’t have the perfect 8 figure morning routine or whatever the latest gimmick is. It’s so easy to believe everyone else is perfect with their balance when the truth is they’re not!

Tune into what you actually need and what will best serve you and sometimes that can be 10 hours sleep or treating yourself to breakfast out because you couldn’t be bothered to cook! Life is for living and it’s not a competition so do whatever works for you and brings some joy into your day.

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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.