Balancing the Grind with Nicky Barton, Digital Account Director at OMD Australia

Nicky Barton is a Digital Account Director at OMD Australia, where he manages the digital marketing and media strategy for Roadshow Films and Mazda.

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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 in the media and marketing industry for about eight years now. I stumbled across my first role in the industry via a retweet in my Twitter newsfeed and in all honesty had no idea what the role was.

Safe to say, after a day or two of agency life, I fell in love with the industry and knew it was the right choice.

I started at Mediacom in London at The Entertainment Division, working on Universal Music and Beats By Dre. My responsibility was omnichannel media planning and buying, which actually involved spending a lot of time at Universal HQ and staring awkwardly at celebrities.

During my time there, my role started to pivot more towards digital marketing as Facebook, Twitter and Google started to emerge as giants of the industry. Learning all of the platforms, AdTech and algorithms behind them fascinated me.

After four or so years, I took a leap into the unknown to move to Australia and give life over here a go. I started at OMD working on the Roadshow Films account, and most recently have started working on Mazda also.

My current role is Digital Account Director, managing the digital marketing and media strategy across Roadshow Films and Mazda.

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

Six months ago it was battling morning traffic, now it’s a morning full of dog walking, reading, eating and then heading upstairs to my home office.

I try to avoid scheduling morning meetings where possible so I can get stuck into fulfilling various tasks, and answering emails. The afternoon is used for meetings, client calls and media updates. After work I head to the gym, or pub, depending on how the meetings went, kidding!

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

OMD is very progressive with initiatives like flexible and remote working, it took awhile for people to really start understanding how to utilise it funnily enough!

Corporate culture has always been 9-5 and these habits have been drilled into many of us, but the advent of a worldwide pandemic has clarified what many of us have known – that you don’t need to be in the office to get work done, or work collaboratively.

Obviously it has its downsides – bad internet connection, Zoom fatigue and a fridge you have to stock yourself. But the good outweighs the bad (although I do miss the free kombucha).

Usually I have a 50-minute journey to the office, so being able to work from home means I can get that time back in my day. Personally I believe the 9-5 is now outdated, and I’m delighted that companies like OMD see this and empower us to work on our own schedule (dependent on meetings obviously).

Also, being an early riser my focus is far better in the morning than in the afternoon, so starting between 7:30 – 8:00am means I can finish earlier and hit the gym, see friends or walk my little pup. It all comes down to trust.

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

You spend more time at work than you do with family, so ensuring you take time for your life outside of the office is vital. I achieve work-life balance through working flexibly and making sure my emails are off during the weekend. I also delete my email app when I’m on holiday.

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

Ahh too many to note, but I’ll give it a go.

  • Waking up earlier. It allows time for me to get all my household tasks done before the world wakes up. I’m a very regimented person, which has its ups and downs.
  • Cold showers are such a cliché. But they work. Two minutes of cold water at the end of a morning shower wakes me up and has many health benefits (apparently).
  • Setting my phone to sleep mode from 10pm – 8am. This ensures I don’t wake up and immediately read news or football gossip.
  • Practice Spanish. Only on Duolingo, but 15 minutes in the morning has been muy bueno.
  • Deleted social media apps. My phone is super boring now it doesn’t even have Snakes, but it’s worth it.
  • Running. Although it’s a bit of a slog at times, it’s fantastic for your mental health.

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

During both lockdowns (cheers Melbourne) I powered through so many books and podcasts, especially while running. Here are a few favourites:


  • Humankind – Rutger Bregman
  • Ride of a Lifetime Bob Iger
  • The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway
  • Can’t Hurt Me – David Goggins
  • Subprime Attention Crisis – Tim Hwang


  • Pivot – Scott Gallaway & Kara Swisher
  • Sway – Kara Swisher
  • Sweathead – Mark Pollard


  • Axios Media Trends
  • We are Social – Tune Up
  • No Mercy / No Malice
  • The Weekly Widget ?

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

A very boring answer, but I’m that guy who monitors all activity and yes, macros. My go-to list includes a smartwatch, MyFitnessPal and Spotify for podcasts.

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

I’m not one for #Hustle or #InspoGoals, those that work all hours, preach about how to be successful and barely sleep are getting it wrong.

Someone like Barack Obama would interest me more, he had inconceivable responsibility during his time in office but always managed to be a loving and engaged father, husband and philanthropist.

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

Do what you love to do. Simple as that.

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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.