Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Monica Moran, Marketing Manager at AAM

Monica Moran is the Marketing Manager at AAM, a professional services company that specialises in the collection, analysis, and presentation of geospatial data.

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

Currently I am the marketing manager at AAM – a professional services company that specialises in the collection, analysis, and presentation of geospatial data.

Geospatial data refers to the measurement and location of things in the physical world, so we have surveyors who capture this data from the air, on the ground and over water. This data is used to create maps and 3D models of the natural and built (i.e. man-made) environments.

I’m a bit of a late bloomer, it took me longer than usual to get my act together and complete my university degree as I was just way too focussed on having fun. I have a Communications degree, with a journalism major.

I graduated during the time that the print media was undergoing major changes and somewhat of a decline due to the rise and disruption of digital media. So I decided to venture into the world of marketing and have stayed in this space ever since.

I feel really lucky to have found a profession that truly interests me, I love all things marketing. I agree with the sentiment of Seth Godin – that the role of an (effective) marketer is to inspire change.

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

I am very regimented and consistent in my workdays, especially my mornings as I want to set myself up for optimal productivity. Plus having a routine means less thinking/deciding – which means I have more space for creativity and problem solving.

I wake up at 4:45am so that I can be out the door at 5 for my hour-long run – I cover about 10kms in this time. Once home, I get my two boys fed and ready for daycare and school – we’re usually out the door around 7:20am.

I work from home the majority of the time so once I get back home I meditate in my leafy, green backyard for 10 – 15 minutes. I’m ready to start work around 8am and try to do all the hard(er) stuff in the morning as this is the time when I’m mentally at my best.

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

Thankfully yes. Like most, I was forced to work from home due to COVID whereas pre-COVID I would have worked mostly from our office in the city. Most of the time the type of work that I’m doing can be done from home, so COVID has not negatively impacted my productivity or effectiveness.

As a matter of fact, I think I’ve been able to achieve more now that I don’t have to travel 2 hours daily to get to the office and back. That not only saves time, but also the stress of making sure I get the kids and myself to our end destinations on time.

I do concede though, that there are definite benefits to physically being in the same place as colleagues and clients, and when it was permitted, I travelled into the office for meetings.

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

It means trying to achieve balance on a micro level and macro level. Meaning, on a daily basis I intersperse my work day with frequent walk breaks, usually around every 60 to 90 minutes.

On a macro level I mean that sometimes I have to work more intensely and longer hours than usual to get something done. I strive for balance but also recognise the need to be flexible. Some days my work life takes centre stage and that means my family gets less attention.

For example, we recently rebuilt our company website. Not only did we have to get this done in a short period of time, but it also happened when the business was undergoing major changes (we were acquired by Woolpert, an American company).

For about 3 weeks I was working at least ten hours a day, plus slotting in extra hours over the weekend. I did as much as I could to outsource and delegate but there was still a lot of stuff that just needed to be done so I did it.

I still had to do all my regular “mum” duties but doing my work stuff cut into my family leisure time. But that is not the norm. I do not believe there is any merit in being a workaholic. Rest and relaxation are crucial for optimal performance. That’s something I’ve learnt the hard way.

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

Yes, my morning meditation. I place as much importance on doing this as I do my morning run whereas when I was younger, my main focus was my physical fitness. I had known about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness for some time but only did it haphazardly, if at all.

Once I realised that my mental state was vastly improved by meditating regularly, I became more disciplined in doing it. It has helped me to become more self-aware. I can respond to life and stress more intentionally, rather than having all sorts of knee-jerk reactions.

I still get stressed and overly worked up about things, still lose my temper etc. But with my mindfulness practice I’m getting better at having that “pause” between events and my response. 

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

I love podcasts and audiobooks as I can listen while I run. I love to read as well but as my two boys are both under 5 most of my free time is spent running around with them.

The podcasts that I listen to consistently are:

  • “The Marketing Book Podcast” by Douglas Burdett
  • “Everyone Hates Marketers” by Louis Grenier
  • “Ten Per Cent Happier” by Dan Harris
  • The ABC’s “Coronacast” with Dr Norman Swan
  • “Endurance Planet” (about endurance sports and fitness)
  • “Coaching for Leaders” by Dave Stachowiak.

I could list many more but will refrain!

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

Apple Podcasts and Audible for my audiobooks. Also my Ten Per Cent Happier app – which has meditation resources and guided sessions.

Plus my Garmin watch paired with my chest strap heart rate monitor. I’m meticulous about tracking my running/fitness metrics. I’m much slower after giving birth to my second son but I reckon I can still get some PBs in the next ten years with proper training!

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

Richard Branson. I love that he is so successful but also looks like he is genuinely having so much fun. It seems pointless to be so successful in your career but unhappy. I want to be successful in my career but not at the expense of the other parts of my life as everything is all connected.

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

Getting perfect balance is a myth – especially if you juggle work with parenting duties. Sometimes work comes first, other times family and relationships are more important. You need to be flexible. And for me personally, as a working mum, I’ve learnt to stop trying to be the “super mum” that has everything perfect in all areas. Sometimes the house just has to be messy, or dinner is something really easy to cook. The mess will still be there tomorrow.

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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.