Balancing the Grind with Katie Milton, Head of Editorial & Production at ClassBento

Katie Milton is the Head of Editorial & Production at ClassBento, a marketplace for workshops and classes in Australia and now in the UK.

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

My first ever paid writing job was with a luxury travel publication. It was wild. I was 23 and found myself on famils (sponsored trips) to five-star resorts everywhere from Singapore and Sri Lanka, to one of Oprah’s favourite health and wellness retreats in the Himalayas.

The fluffy robes and spa experiences definitely had their perks, but when the opportunity came up to be Editor of an art magazine I decided to trade in my life of luxury for my passion. 

I spent the next few years totally immersed in the arts industry gaining as many different skill sets as possible. I was a gallery assistant, wrote a weekly arts column for the Sydney Morning Herald, contributed to Broadsheet Sydney, dipped my toe in PR and worked as a marketing coordinator for an experimental arts festival in Sydney. 

These days I lead the global Editorial and Production team at ClassBento, an online marketplace for local experiences and creative workshops. Day-to-day we support local artists and makers to make a living teaching what they love, but at its heart ClassBento is a mission-driven startup working to improve wellbeing by making arts and crafts accessible to everyone. 

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

We’re locked down in Sydney at the moment so the first thing I do each morning is check in with our editorial team on Slack to see how everyone’s feeling and if they need any support for the day. 

I love working at a high growth startup because it means that every day is a little bit different and priorities can change quickly. Today we had a request from a journalist about a potential news bulletin inclusion so I spent my first hour liaising with her and working with the growth partner team to source workshop providers for potential filming. 

Next up was a Zoom call with the Co-Founder, Head of Marketing and Head of Account Management to confirm content inclusions for our Christmas campaign which already has me dreaming of summer. 

The recent lockdowns mean we’ve had to pivot to promote our virtual classes and DIY craft boxes so I spent a chunk of time in the afternoon with our content managers revising social captions and tweaking the month’s newsletter copy. 

Towards the end of the day, I shifted my focus to our global teams. I’m onboarding a new content writer in the US so I reviewed her class production pipeline and added some new briefs to set her up for success with our San Fran classes. And once the clocks aligned I had my weekly 1:1 with our content lead in the UK. Now that they’re out of lockdown we’re really pushing for growth in London.

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

The ClassBento co-founders have really embraced remote working in this new world. Just before this lockdown hit we moved into an amazing new office space with enough desks for our fast-growing team but lots of us are in different life stages so working there isn’t compulsory.

I’ve been doing a two-three day split between the office and home because it’s really important to get some face to face time with the team. I love my home days because it means I can get some extra sleep or make it to a yoga class before I start work for the day. 

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

Work-life balance implies that there’s an even split between hours spent working and the rest of our lives, and unfortunately with a five-day working week that just isn’t realistic.

With remote working the new normal, these boundaries are becoming even more blurred and last year I personally really struggled with separating the two. For me, being really passionate about what I do and working for a company whose values align with my own makes it a lot easier. 

In terms of more physical boundaries, I pack away my computer and monitor at the end of each day, I don’t work on the weekends and I’m trying really hard to curb my Slack addiction. 

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

I’m definitely way more into cooking than I used to be. Working from home helps because I’ll always get in the kitchen and make my lunch which is a great brain break. I also try and get a daily walk in, which has really helped with my focus. I live right near the beach so I’m really lucky to have beautiful walking tracks at my doorstep. 

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

Read Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe, Burnout by Amelia and Emily Nagoski and The Yield by Tara June Winch.

I love listening to I Weigh with Jameela Jamil for its authentic and honest conversations and old episodes of The High Low with Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton if I need to pick me up. 

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

I would like to think I could live without my iPhone and MacBook but I’d be lying to myself. I’d also never want to go back to the time before Spotify. 

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

Gloria Steinem.

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

I think it all comes down to working on things you’re passionate about and spending time with the people you love. 

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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.