Melisa Sloan is the founder of Madison Sloan Lawyers, and the author of Legacy: Taking care of the most important people in your life when you are no longer there.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I always wanted to be an accountant, and was in my final year at university where I was undertaking majors in law and accounting when I determined the law was much more exciting than accounting and changed the trajectory of my future.
I commenced my career in law in a boutique law firm in Melbourne where I was exposed to estate planning for the first time. I loved the personal emotional connection of this area of the law and how you can make a significant difference to the lives of others. I oversaw the establishment of the probate practice within that firm.
Almost six years ago, I established my own law firm and it has been extremely challenging and fulfilling.
This year I have published my first book, Legacy, how to take care of the most important people in your life when you are no longer here. It’s a wonderful resource for people considering putting in place their important documents to take care of their loved ones.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I like to start the day with a work, yoga or swim, mentally I find it gets the day off to a good start. I love a beautiful sunrise, I think there is great beauty in seeing a fresh new day arising.
Prior to covid I was mostly in the office five days a week, with current restrictions we continue to work from our home offices.
A typical day for me is going through my to-do list for the day and adding to this any emails or other correspondence that may have come in overnight.
I have long learnt the art of delegation so I delegate what I can to other team members.
Typically, I will have zoom or face to face consultations with clients, client work, drafting client documents, answering an inordinate amount of emails, writing articles, organising my socials or other promotional activities with my amazing assistant and generally dealing with all those unexpected matters that seem to constantly pop up throughout the day.
My evenings are spent catching up with friends or family, perhaps heading out for dinner or spending the night in.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Living in Melbourne, we have been in lockdown for over 245 days so we definitely are accustomed to remote working these days.
It does provide an element of flexibility however you do need to put boundaries and regular routines in place to ensure that you have the appropriate life/balance.
Working remotely was beneficial in allowing me to write my book, something I am grateful for.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I absolutely love what I do every day, it gets me out of bed, it motivates me and I really enjoy the work that I get to do.
I am guilty of taking on too much of trying to do too much at once, but I do it because it stimulates me and challenges me and I like to have new projects on the go. So I probably work too hard for too long.
I counteract this by having regular breaks away, whether that be a weekend away in the country, or a longer trip interstate or overseas. It helps me switch off and become grounded once again.
I also make sure I spend the appropriate amount of time with the important people in my life and when I am with them I always aim to be one hundred percent present.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
My regular breaks away have come to a standstill as we have been restricted with travel and that is something that I have missed immensely and cannot wait to get back on a plane and travel again.
My routine of previously going to the office each day and interacting with my team has been replaced with us all working from home offices and regularly checking in.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I love to read however because I do it so much in my daily work life I find it is something I don’t do as often as I used to. I do love Brene Brown, have read her books and enjoy listening to her podcasts.
I also enjoy Clarissa Rayward’s Happy Lawyer Happy Life and Lucy Dickens’ Doing Law Differently podcasts.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Oh gosh I think there are too many to mention. There are so many amazing people out there doing wonderful things in their daily lives, that I am not sure how they all fit in. Let’s go with Brene Brown again.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
We need to remember that we are all running our own race, what is right for others may not be right for you and we shouldn’t become distracted by that.
If you work in a role that you love everyday it will bring joy to your life and won’t feel like work, it’s important to be happy with the road that you are travelling through life.
It’s also important to celebrate the little wins, they help you get to your ultimate destination.
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