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Balancing the Grind with Margareta Anastasia, Marketing Communications Executive at Storms

Margareta Anastasia is the Marketing Communications Executive at Storms, a gaming startup that focuses on social instant-play games and hyper-casual mobile games publishing.

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

I started my career at an award-winning public relations (PR) consultancy named IN.FOM, where I steered regional and local communication campaigns for Fortune Global 500 companies and tech startups in the Asia Pacific region.

My life at a PR consultancy wasn’t a walk in the park, indeed, but I was fortunate to have made the decision to join the IN.FOM team. There, I met bright mentors, nurturing clients, and awesome team members across countries who made me who I am today.

Despite my young age (I was only 20 when I joined the team!), I was empowered to always think two steps ahead, challenge the norms, and manage various PR functions for leading brands.

As I matured in the industry, I decided to step out of my comfort zone by taking up an in-house communications role at Storms.

Back then, I had very limited gaming knowledge and background. But instead of seeing it as a barrier, I saw it as a huge learning opportunity and a fun challenge to conquer!

I am blessed for having supportive teammates who helped me get up to speed – from giving me crash courses on the gaming scene over coffee to recommending sites to read.

Fast forward, I – together with my team members and Storms’ partners – have earned nearly one thousand articles on various announcements in a year. Beyond this number, it’s personally fulfilling for me to see the impacts that communications could bring to all our business lines.

There are still a lot of things that I have yet to discover, and I am excited about what the future holds!

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

My day starts with daily devotion and then I get ready to work while watching my favourite crime drama television series or the latest episode of a new K-drama series (Is anyone watching Business Proposal here? Haha).

I usually take the bus to Storms’ office as I love seeing the road while reading the news that gets published overnight.

As soon as I reach the office, I will have my morning coffee or yuan yang and catch up on emails.

That will be followed by meetings or urgent tasks that I have to attend to. When lunchtime comes, I tend to explore eateries around Esplanade/ Promenade with my colleagues or industry friends/mentors.

Sometimes I would have coffee chats in the afternoon, or else you’ll see me at Storms’ office most of the time.

When my day ends, I will either meet up with my friends for dinner or read books in my pyjamas!

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

Storms practises the work-from-anywhere policy, which I truly appreciate. Personally, I prefer coming in as I value impromptu chats that usually happen over lunch or coffee break in the office.

If you don’t see me in Storms’ office, I most likely need to work on a strategic communications plan or write-ups that require intense research or brainstorming!

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

Work-life balance to me is definitely more of a cycle than an achievement.

Being a driven person, I have the tendency to go above and beyond in discovering and/or delivering something. This becomes a double-edged sword at times, as I become too immersed in something and forget to give myself a pause.

To address this, I set up a recurring event on my calendar to remind myself to exercise or do other fun activities like photography/food hunting to unwind. It is useful for me – maybe it will do good for you too!

However, as one matures in an industry, priorities will evolve and reprioritisation is needed. I, for instance, will pursue a postgraduate degree at a local university this coming August – which means that my current time management needs to be reviewed as it has yet to cover the big portion of the ‘study’ part.

In a nutshell, I think work-life balance requires continuous re-evaluation and improvement!

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

The pandemic has affected many of us in different ways, and it is especially challenging to those who couldn’t meet their families due to the measures imposed as a result of it.

I am fortunate to have friends and teammates who care for me in Singapore, but I could relate to those who shared the same challenge of being away from their families for such a long period of time – with no certainty of when we could fly back home.

As such, I decided to put my baking skills to good use: Making a bespoke birthday cake for my friends, customised according to their favourite flavour and personality! I have made ondeh-ondeh cake, green tea cheesecake, and Piñata cakes so far, and I can’t wait to try the others!

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

I like reading various kinds of books, so it’s hard to only pick some! But I found No Hard Feelings: Emotions at Work and How They Help Us Succeed by Liz Fosslien & Mollie West Duffy and all the poets written beautifully by Lang Leav exceptionally great.

Another book which I also enjoy reading is How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. I teach nursery children at Sunday School, so the practical tips in this book are really useful for me! Haha

With regards to podcasts, I occasionally listen to TED Talks Daily on Spotify too.

As for newsletters, I subscribe to various publications and sites – the list will be a long one!

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

There are a lot of products, gadgets, and apps that I appreciate, but I couldn’t seem to find one that I can’t live without.

However, if I were to mention one that I found ‘mind blowing’, I’d have one in mind.

I recently visited my hometown, Jakarta, and I was fascinated to see what a homegrown superapp looks like there. Not only that the app has so many things inside of it, but it brought back old memories.

As someone who grew up in Jakarta, I remember the time when I had to stand for at least half an hour as I waited for my favourite Martabak Manis to be cooked or travel all the way to West Jakarta to find the best Nasi Ulam in town. It’s indeed amazing to have the option to order them at the comfort of my home!

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

It’d be my best friend, Adeline. I have no idea how she can bake so many chiffon cakes overnight (you can see her creation here!), manage her restaurant – Warunk Cozy – during the day, as well as care for her family, friends, and those in need.

She is truly an #inspiration, and I am a PROUD friend!

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

Always treat others respectfully, see things in a holistic manner, and make the decision that your future self will thank you for.

This year’s IWD’s theme, in particular, speaks personally to me.

I was once told that I ‘was good but too young’; asked how I ‘could thrive in the communications industry if I speak with an accent’, and; given a statement that ‘in case I thought that my local insights were value-adding for the team, they’re not’.

I know that I am not the only one – you (who are reading this article!) might share a similar experience.

What I can say is we can’t control how people express their thoughts, but we can always choose to be respectful and eventually, let our actions do the talking.

My belief is that age doesn’t necessarily define one’s quality of work – I have seen interns thrive in their work. I also reckon that everyone speaks with a certain accent – just that some are recognised internationally. And I trust that others’ insights may broaden our perspective of something – especially if the insights are different from ours.

Coming back to the unpleasant words, I don’t always respond to them with the above opinions. There are fights that are worth investing your time in and those that don’t.

Growing up as a literature student, I have been trained to take the speakers’ backgrounds into account to ‘decode’ where s/he is coming from. Perhaps, s/he has ever got a similar statement in the past and has a good intention. Maybe, s/he is trying to protect you or has challenges in wording their feedback.

Regardless, always choose to be respectful: Put yourself in others’ shoes, see what you can learn from them, continue the positive ripple effects, and stop the negative chain!

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.