Balancing the Grind with Matt Chandler, Executive Creative Director at DDB Sydney

Matt Chandler is the Executive Creative Director at DDB Sydney, a full-service advertising agency specialising in integrated communications.

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

I’ve been working as a creative in Sydney and London for about fifteen years. The last seven of which have been spent at DDB Sydney. I’ve worked in retail and brand agencies, small agencies and big ones, as both a copywriter and creative director.

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

It’s best described as a long series of conversations, the first of which usually begins at about 5.30am with my daughter, Harriet – the topic: breakfast. At the office, my conversations tend to be a mix of catching up with clients and chatting to our creatives about what’s going on with them and their work.

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

DDB is fairly flexible post-COVID. People are welcome to work from home a couple of days a week. For me personally it’s much easier to be in the office to feel what’s going on and catch up with people on a pretty informal basis. So, I prefer to be in every day, but when I want to be at home for family stuff it’s far easier than it was pre-2020.

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

In my experience, many creatives don’t have a great on/off switch. I know I don’t. A few years ago, I found I was actually getting more stressed and more anxious when I was trying to draw a hard line between work and home.

If I found myself thinking about work in what I’d carved out as down time, it just created more anxiety. So, I sort of abandoned a black & white idea of work life balance, which I’ve found oddly freeing.

I’m in the fortunate position of doing a job that I love with people I find intelligent, interesting and hilarious, so I don’t resent a blurring of lines between work and home.

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

I’ve definitely made a conscious effort to be on my phone less. That’s not even work related, it’s just my attempt to break a really boring habit. Whenever I get that weekly screen time report and it says I’ve been on my phone 3 hours more that week, it’s such a bummer.

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

Work related: Stuff from the Loft – fascinating, rambling interviews by the legendary UK creative, Dave Dye.

Un-work related: You Must Remember This – brilliantly spun stories about the history of Hollywood.

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

The only thing I’ve ever been an early adopter of was Spotify and it’s still the only app I can’t live without. Oh, and the ABC iview app for when my daughter has an itch that only nine back-to-back episodes of “Bluey” can scratch.

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

Defining the boundaries of your work and life feels like such a privilege of modern life. I’d like to hear what an Egyptian who worked on the building of the pyramids would have to say about it.

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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.