Interviews / Operations

Balancing the Grind with Millie Pearson, Chief Operating Officer at The Edit LDN

Millie Pearson is the Chief Operating Officer at The Edit LDN, a global online destination for limited sneakers and high-end streetwear.

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

I have been working in retail for 8 years across multiple roles, from Flagship Store Manager roles to Operations Director for Arcadia, directly reporting into the company’s board.

I joined The Edit LDN in October 2020 as the company’s COO, and my focus has been bringing the start up to systemisation and setting us up for global scale. When I joined the team, we were only 4 and within 1.5 years we were now operating with over 40 heads, building out our Dream Team. 

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

The best thing about my role is that no two days are the same. From overseeing financial controls, seeking new technologies to integrate with our platform, to managing and growing our partnerships base.

I spend the first half of my day working ‘IN the business” and then the second half of my day working “ON the business’. This allows me to structure my days to make sure I am always making time to drive the business forward.

My 1st priority of the day is always ‘The Numbers.’ Looking at the previous day/week and making sure we are on track to deliver and making sure the team are all updated with exactly where we are as a business. From there we plan workload throughout the team, to make sure we have the right people in the right places, making sure the focus is in the right areas. 

In the second part of my day I spend time on key projects we are currently working on, delegate tasks across my teams and set deadlines. From there I systematically tick off all the tasks needed in order.

An example of a recent project was a new software launch of our own built Warehouse Management System, this required input from almost every area of the business, and it was vital for me to make sure that each task was being completed on time and efficiently also that the overall project was not delayed.

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

Working for a global fast paced start up means you need to be meticulous with your time & planning otherwise your time will run away with you. At the end of every Friday, I will plan out my next week.

I will break it down into High, Medium & Low Priority tasks and mark each task with time allowance. From there I can start to plot the tasks across my working week. I will always leave free time to allow for any Ad Hoc things that I may come across.

I will then start to delegate tasks through to my team to allow completion of everything to happen. Balancing my days / weeks this way gives me work life balance. It means I always plan time into my mornings to work out and time in my evening to be able to switch off and spend time with friends/family. The structure keeps me on track so that I am efficient and not spending too much time in the wrong areas.

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

The process I mentioned in question 3 is all part of my last 12 months focus. On top of this, after reading the book Atomic Habits by James Clear (a book I would highly recommend to anyone) I started to look at ways that I can improve my life by just 1% every day.

Making huge drastic improvements and changes immediately are proven to be unsustainable, but by just making small regular improvements every day, this can lead to a much more sustainable and beneficial impact in your life, both in & outside of work. Some examples of what I have started to do are, 

Spend 15 mins per day learning Polish (my partner is Polish, and his parents are not fully fluent in English) 

Read / listen to 30 mins of a learning book / podcast

Walking 20 mins per day to and from the tube station rather than getting the bus, to allow me time to think, plan and review my days.

Spending 15 mins at the start of every day to plan my whole day and focus.

Swapping my morning Pret Croissant for a Huel Smoothie

6 months ago, I began using a Business Coach. This has had a huge positive impact on my work-life balance as it has helped me to take the time to review, evaluate & reset. It gives me time to take myself out of the business and gain a level head.

I have learnt the importance of planning and breaking down large projects into many small tasks, working through them systematically. This means that my goals are achieved quicker and the positive reinforcement I get from seeing all the small tasks crossed off is hugely rewarding. 

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

As mentioned before, Atomic Habits is a must read. Another easy but vital read is Eat That Frog by Brian Tracey. This one I have passed on to all my team. to read. It explains the importance of writing down goals and doing the hardest tasks first.

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

Jacqueline Gold, CEO of Ann Summers. After listening to her interview on Diary of a CEO I was completely blown away by her story and how much she has achieved in her career, but also everything she has overcome in her personal life. 

It is clear she sees the huge importance of work-life balance and I would love to understand more the processes she has gone through to ensure the balance remains in such a fulfilled lifestyle. 

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

I think everyone is at different stages in their career and what good work-life balance looks like will vary depending on everyone’s current situation. The most important thing is to write stuff down and plan.

If you can’t see clearly in front of you what you need to achieve, then how can you work towards your end goals. Without planning you will evidently waste time on unimportant tasks meaning that your overall workload will quickly become unmanageable and ultimately will seep into your personal time.

I used to see delegation as another word for passing your workload onto someone else, which is completely incorrect. Delegation helps your team have accountability and allows them to grow & develop themselves, whilst allowing yourself time to focus on those vital business components that only you can do.

Another key book to note here is The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey by Ken Blanchard. This talks about the importance of not allowing yourself to take on everyone else’s problems at work & how to achieve a balance between supervision and delegation for reduced tension and improved productivity in the workplace.

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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.