CEOs / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Loan Morris, CEO of inc. Digital Media

Loan Morris is the CEO of inc. Digital Media, an independent digital media advertising agency based in Sydney, working with small-to-medium businesses.

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

Sure! In what seems to be a previous life I was a TV presenter in France, my home country. I hosted a few shows from Reality TV to music and extreme sports. Quite a diverse range!

I then moved to Australia 15 years ago attracted by the glorious climate and the land of opportunity that this country represented. I arrived with only two contacts in my address book and developed a network as well as a life and career I’m very proud of.

I am now the CEO of inc. Digital Media, an independent digital media agency based in Sydney. We use a client first and strategy led approach to deliver transparent and accountable digital marketing campaigns to small to medium businesses.

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

We recently got a kitten and she has taken a habit of coming in for a cuddle around 5.30am every morning so I’m awake quite early but that doesn’t bother me as I’m a morning person and I love her!

My 7 year old daughter usually follows and comes into our bed for a cuddle too before we all get up around 6.30am. Every parent would tell you that these morning cuddles are the best and they are truly precious!

I then get ready for work and usually leave by 7.30am. I like to be at work early to catch up on emails and plan my day and meetings. My office days are usually filled with clients, vendors and internal meetings which start with our team stand-up three times a week now.

Since the pandemic hit we have increased our daily communication so I quite often greet the team on our Teams chat with an appropriate gif!

I have a quick lunch usually in the office or on the go as I like to maximise my work day since I leave at 5pm to pick up my daughter from school. I’m quite lucky as my husband is an amazing cook so most weeknights I don’t have to cook and it saves me a lot of time and brain cells to think about what to prepare for dinner!

I then spend some time with my daughter and depending on my workload I either get back online after we put her to bed around 8pm or watch Netflix and relax with my husband.   

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

 Absolutely and it has been the biggest change in my work life for the past year. I have always worked full-time, was out of the house by 7am, in the office before 8am back at 6pm and this for the past 10 + years.

I often felt that my priorities weren’t always in the right order but now that I have been able to work from home it has dramatically changed and improved that work life balance and shown me that you can be even more efficient working from home.

I now work 3 days from the office and 2 days from home and this is quite a good set-up for me. It allows me to fit in a remote Pilate session in the morning, do some of my chores, have breakfast with my family and still be at my desk by 8/8.30am when I don’t have to commute.

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

It’s interesting as I believe my view on what it means has actually evolved over the years and especially for the past year. For me now it’s about being able to switch off in the evening and week-ends without feeling guilty.

It’s about spending some quality time with my family to balance and offset the intensity of my work days and also being really aware of what causes the imbalance (who, what and when) and knowing how to recharge my batteries when it happens.

So taking a day off here and there to also focus on me is important. You have to put your oxygen mask on first before you look after others so I’m a big advocate for having a break from work every quarter and I intend to really communicate the benefits of looking after yourself first to my team.

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

 Yes, first with the lockdown and now being able to work from home a few days per week has really put more balance into my life. I have been able to do more exercise; I’m doing regular yoga and Pilates sessions and when the weather is nice I also manage to fit in a swim or a walk and coffee with a friend before work.

I’ve also picked back up my meditation practice but I have to say that whilst it does help me manage the stress, it’s also hard to always fit it in.

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

When I’m commuting I always listen to The Squiz podcast to get my daily news lowdown in 8 min. I also enjoy listening to The Daily, the New York Times daily podcast for a 20 minute deep dive into a news story.

I also listen to some industry podcasts like eMarketer, Digiday and the IAB ones but one of my favourite podcasts which sadly has stopped is No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis.

I love good success stories and Rebecca Jarvis, a US award winning journalist interviews some of the most impressive women in leadership positions to discuss how they manage to build their success and balance it all.

In terms of newsletter I’ve been a subscriber of The Hustle for years now and enjoy their quirky and bold business and tech articles.  

Books: Sapiens, from Yuval Noah Harari the story of humankind is brilliant.

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

Being a Sydney resident I can’t live without the Live Traffic app and on a personal level without WhatsApp and FaceTime as this is how I communicate with all my friends and family in France.

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

 Emerald Fennell who just won the Oscar for best original screenplay for Promising Young Woman. She was seven months pregnant when she directed that amazing movie.

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

I believe that achieving work life balance is elusive especially when you access senior positions and have responsibilities however striving to construct a life that is meaningful and being honest about what that means to you is key.

Thinking about making conscious choices about your lifestyle and knowing how to manage your energy not your time. For example do you know what energises you and what depletes you? How do you recharge your batteries? Is it seeing friends or staying at home?

Additionally determining what I call your non-negotiables (kids school parade, swimming carnival, family dinner, meditation, etc.) and the key is to make sure these are built in your schedule.

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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.