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Balancing the Grind with Oliver Mistry Founder & Managing Partner at Twenty Twenty Digital

Oliver Mistry is the Founder & Managing Partner at Twenty Twenty Digital, an Australian-based digital entertainment network. He also founded CompareTV, At Your Table and SoundSchool.

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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 in digital media and marketing for over 20 years. I fell in love with the web in its emergence back in the 90’s and having studied management and marketing at university I chose a career combining the two.

I spent the early part of my career in the ad agency world honing my skills across multiple clients, categories and areas of digital specialty. Later I moved into a client role heading up digital marketing for Foxtel. 

I’d always dreamed of working for myself and once i’d felt like i had enough background to do this successfully I started firstly At Your Table, a digital based service for creating private chef dining experiences back in 2009 and then later based on my experience at Foxtel CompareTV a guide to streaming TV and related Broadband and Mobile services.

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

I’m an early bird so I deliberately focus my day on maximising my mornings. I start the day at 4.30am with a strong black coffee and orient myself checking business and market stats overnight, make notes and generally wake up.

I hit the gym 5.30am – 7am. I’m addicted to HIIT training and find it to be the best way to start my day. It’s good pushing yourself with a bit of mental gamification knowing nothing in the day ahead will be as hard as what you’re doing.

I head home, make my kids breakfast and get ready for work or sometimes head straight to the office. First thing I do before opening my laptop is prioritise some tasks I want to achieve that day and this helps me split my time into chunks based on priority.

Right now I’m working across two businesses and occasional time for new projects, I’ve never been very good at multitasking so I’m working on how I manage my time by chunking up my day and focusing in blocks. 

I try to work on thinking in the morning and BAU later in the day, my brain works better that way.

I’m lucky that I can get home around 5pm have dinner with the family and then switch off. Despite my early mornings, sleep is important to me so I’m never up later than 9pm during the week.

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

Our business has been a full remote working business since inception for most of our team as they are in different cities, countries, continents and timezones. We have a head office in Sydney with the core management team.

Though flexible on location we try to maintain an AU based work day hours for those who can, its more productive when the team is all working at the same time. Some functions suit the flexibility required with different timezones and writers in Europe for example can often deliver work briefed at 5pm for 9am the next day.

There is enough flexibility for me personally to start my day super early and leave at around 4.30 to pick up the kids which is a real benefit compared to my corporate gigs which required later finishes and long commutes wasting valuable time.

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

I love my work. I’m happiest when i’m busiest. Routine and structure are important to me and I value them immensely. The balance for me comes from separation and trying to be 100% present in the activity I’ve allocated to the part of the day I’m in. 

Whether I’m working, spending time with my friends or family or training I try not to blur the lines. In there lies balance, trying to multi-task too much means you’re not focused and therefore not performing the task at hand to the best of your ability.

As a business owner not an employee you also need to be honest with yourself, if I feel I’m not being productive or there’s a natural gap in activity I take time out and come back later. There’s no point sitting at a desk procrastinating. 

There are of course times where I need to work late and there are times when I can finish early, it’s give and take and depends on what’s happening in work and life. With an early start, a minimal commute and almost no time waster meetings, I’m gifted with far more productive working hours in the day than in any job I’ve ever had. This affords me flexibility.

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

In the last 3 months (During the COVID-19 Pandemic) there have been a lot of changes to routines most for the worse but that’s unavoidable.

I have needed to work on multiple businesses more and that’s a challenge I’ve never tackled well before until now. Ive had to learn to separate and focus in chunks of time. 

Probably the best routine that changed my life was intermittent fasting. I fast from around 6pm until 11.30am this greatly helped my productivity at work and in the gym and stopped the afternoon slump I used to sometimes get.

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

Many! 

Books, the ones that spring to mind that I got a lot from include:

  • Tools of Titans – Tim Ferris
  • High Performance Habits – Brendan Buchard
  • Never Split the Difference – Chris Voss
  • ReWork – Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
  • 12 Rules for Life – Jordan Peterson
  • A Random Walk Down Wall Street – Burton Gordon
  • Money Master The Game – Tony Robbins
  • Sapiens, and Homo Deus  – Yuval Noah Harari

I don’t really listen to many podcasts but when I do get in the car for a longer trip I always got straight  to ‘How I Built this’ Guy Raz

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

  • Spotify + Sonos – I love music and can’t live without it,  I have it on via both of those for most of my waking life.
  • My Apple Air Pods – I cant talk on the phone without headphones.
  • For my routine Cold Drip Coffee with MCT oil in the morning.
  • For work Asana and Slack!
  • For health My Electric Toothbrush and Water Pick!

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

Tim Ferris, I remember reading The 4 Hour Workweek in my last job which was my springboard into self employment. It must have had a big impact. The entire book is kind of about work life balance. It’s old now but he’s interviewed so many legendary people over the years he’d have a tonne of insights.

Or Elon Musk, how one guy can run multiple highly complex, highly successful world class enterprises at the same time is utterly mind blowing.

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

Don’t waste your life working in a job you hate, it’s not a dress rehearsal.

Always take time to sharpen the saw be that through exercise, mental health activity such as mindfulness or meditation and continued self leaning. Your working hours will be so much more productive as a result and the time invested pays itself back ten fold.

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About Author

Balance The Grind gives me a platform to talk to these people about how they're achieving their ideal lifestyle. I'm inspired by the passion, the work ethic, the hustle; and these conversations motivate me to live life the way I want to live it.