Nate Martins is a Content Marketer at Notion, a startup providing users with with an all-in-one workspace for notes, tasks, wikis, and databases, where he heads up the content program.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
At Notion, I run our content program. That’s just getting off the ground but I’m excited to help build it. Previously, I was a journalist (writing mostly about the restaurant industry) in San Diego, and also an editor of a local blog and print guide.
Simultaneously, I was a bartender at a craft cocktail bar. I got many stories from behind the bartop! Then I moved to San Francisco to get my MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco.
I was a fellowship recipient and while there, completed a book-length work of nonfiction, along with many essays. During grad school, I was working full time at PR firm. It was a great way to see both sides of the media industry, having come from journalism.
I knew I wanted to move in-house, and had a chance to do that with nutrition company H.V.M.N. There, I scaled our email program, wrote website and packaging copy, ran communications and built our content program from 0 to 200k new monthly visitors. It was an amazing opportunity to work with a great team and play an impactful part in company growth.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
It changes all the time. But mostly, my morning starts with either reading, writing or working out. I try to do at least one of those things every day.
Once I start the day at Notion, I’ll usually reserve the morning for any writing I need to do because it’s a nice time to focus. In the afternoon, I’ll typically take meetings, such as doing interviews for customer stories.
I’ll try to end the day with a walk, accompanied by my wife and our dog, Olive.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Previously, it hadn’t. But with COVID-19, we’ve obviously gone fully remote. I’m typically the type of person who likes to go into an office — I appreciate the energy, the co-working and even the commute as a quiet personal time to read or reflect.
I’ve tried to make that personal time part of my daily routine now that we’re remote. It can include reading or personal writing or working out in the morning. Then in the evenings, it’s that walk to get outside a bit.
It can be difficult to draw a line between work-life and life-life when working at home, so it’s really important to carve some personal time out and cement that designation.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
It’s different for everyone, really. But I try to make time for myself where I’m not thinking about work. Something physical usually does the trick. Even if I go for a run, I might start thinking about work things but the thoughts are pretty fleeting and I’ll just let my mind wander.
Personal reading or personal writing also helps — because you have to be so engrossed with what’s in front of you that it’s almost impossible to think of anything else.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started/stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I’ve started running several times a week, for an hour at a time. That started with gym closures during COVID-19, but it has become a respite. It’s quiet. I get outside. I’m moving and focusing on my body. That has helped me be more present.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I think it’s really important to diversify what you read. I’m reading a book called How to Drink Wine. Also reading a book called Indistractable by Nir Eyal. I usually don’t read books like this that are more workbook-y and informational.
Given my creative writing background, I’m usually reading creative nonfiction. I made it a point to only read women of color in 2019. Authors like Jesymn Ward, Morgan Jerkins and Carmen Maria Machado have written wonderful books of essays, fiction and nonfiction.
For podcasts, I like Making Sense with Sam Harris. It’s a little heady, but interesting nonetheless.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Airpods have been a big one for me! Also, I love my foam roller and use it every day. And of course, I organize my life in Notion.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I’d love to learn from more creatives. People like Colson Whitehead or Ali Wong.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Make time for yourself. That’ll lead to better, more present and impactful work when the time comes.
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