Balancing the Grind with Lucy Karsai, Art Director at Edelman

Lucy Karsai is the Art Director at global communications firm Edelman. She has also completed a Creative Advertising course at AWARD School, finishing second in NSW.

Order our Daily Routines ebook today! Featuring first-hand interviews, insights and revelations compiled from 50 of the world’s most successful people.

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

I’ve always thrived in creative environments – and so when it came to study, design seemed like the best fit for me. After 5 grueling years (and many meltdowns at midnight) I finally found myself ready to get out and start making some cool shit.

I’m pretty early in my career, and started with Edelman about a year ago as a budding newbie designer. However, as much as I love design – I found myself wanting more creative freedom and opportunity to stretch my skills. So if the pandemic wasn’t stressful enough, this year I figured I’d give AWARD School a red hot go.

Lo and behold, I managed to earn myself 2nd in NSW (I’m as shocked as you are) and build some pretty incredible creative skills. I was lucky enough to be offered an Art Director role with Edelman and have been doing that since!

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

On a good day it starts with a gym class and coffee on the walk home. Then once I’m back home and the cat is fed, I nestle into our study and work through morning emails.

My team has a meeting at 9am to chat through all the nitty gritty of the day – and from there I’m ready to steam ahead!

I always aim to take my lunch at a reasonable time and get myself out of our little study. Otherwise it’s so easy to be cooped up all day having not moved (my fitbit loves to remind me of this).

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

Our office is incredibly flexible when it comes to how we work. Although our building is open and we can make our way back to our old desks, Edelman has given us total freedom to choose how we work.

For me, I’ve quite enjoyed being able to work from home. It’s allowed me to actually get to those early gym classes (when I can muster the energy) and start cooking dinner at a reasonable hour. I also have the company of Jeff, our ginger cat, who makes working from home that much sweeter.

The downside of course is that I don’t get the same ‘team spirit’ feeling when we’re not all physically together in an office. However, I think I’d quite happily work from home at least 2-3 days a week forever (fingers crossed!).

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

Working in a creative field means that often I struggle to switch my brain off, unfortunately you just won’t know when that ‘big idea’ comes to you.

So my goal at the moment is to recognise when I’m most creative and align the way I work towards that. For example, I’m not a night owl, so morning is my prime time!

But I must say working from home has certainly allowed me to achieve balance more than ever. I love being able to break up my day with menial tasks (doing the dishes etc) so that I don’t burn out by 2pm. My goal is always to have dinner with my partner and sneak in a few episodes of our latest TV show.

Mostly I’m really thankful to be working with a team that encourages us to actually clock off on time. And although there will always be a few late nights, that balance is a priority.

I think for me, balance also comes down to how I manage my time. At the start of the day i usually write out a list of daily tasks, so it’s easy for me to stay on top of things.

At the end of the day – work-life balance means going to bed on a Sunday assured that my week was filled with more than just work.

Order our Daily Routines ebook today! Featuring first-hand interviews, insights and revelations compiled from 50 of the world’s most successful people.

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

Since COVID struck, my podcast listening has gone through the roof. Because my partner isn’t working from home it can get a tad lonely, of course I have Jeff, but he’s a quiet little guy.

So I’ve enjoyed having podcasts in the background so it feels like I have some sort of company (gosh that sounds sad haha). One of my favourites is ‘Criminal’, but i recently devoured ‘The Dream’ which was incredible.

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

I’ve really struggled to get back into reading during lockdown, but I’ve reignited my love for audio books! So the last one I listened to was Conversations with Friends by Sally Roony which I loved. And another one called Educated by Tara Westover, which blew. My. Mind. A must read for anyone.

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

The most recent gadget we purchased was a Nintendo switch, and I must say I have zero regrets. I’m not a huge gamer, but I really enjoy games that are more passive. My partner thinks I’m mad, but after a long day I rather enjoy collecting leaves in Animal Crossing.

I also got myself an AeroPress at the start of the year and I’m still obsessed with it. It’s a nice way to break up my day and go make myself a coffee.

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

I love hearing about other people’s creative processes, especially those who run Aussie small businesses. Often these creatives are making right out of their own homes, so work-life balance is key!

I’m also a huge fan of Rachel Castle (castle and things) and Cassie Byrnes (who recently collaborated with Nike). Both have had massive success in their creative fields so I’d love a peek into how they find harmony between home and work.

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

Always remember that personal goals are just as important as career goals.

Before you go…

If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here.

Join our community and never miss a conversation about work, life & balance – subscribe to our newsletter.

This conversation is brought to you by Flex & Flow, a global wellness community committed to inclusivity and accessibility based in Portland, OR, that connects people digitally, locally for live events, training and retreats.

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.