Balancing the Grind with Quan Nguyen, Performance Manager at Media Lab

Quan Nguyen is the Performance Manager at Media Lab, the dedicated media community for the Westpac Banking Group.

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

My background is in marketing and operations. I have had the privilege to work in a few different countries, cultures and various businesses since I graduated.

My expertise allows me to help businesses build their presence online, tap into consumer intent to drive outcome and scale initiatives.

My current role is with Media Lab, managing and scaling the search program for the Westpac Banking Group. Before moving to Sydney, I was at Google, providing advertising solutions to local businesses in South East Asia, then leading the operations for the support team in Singapore.

Prior to that, I worked in Saigon, Vietnam and Seattle, WA, U.S.A., in various capacities to help businesses connect with their customers online.

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

I have different things for different days in the week. Generally, a day in my life starts with a rowing session. I wake up early and go to the boat house.

If I don’t row, I will probably go for a run. I have breakfast, then go to work. After work, I will spend time at the gym or hang out with friends or attend events, then have dinner, go home and finish off my day.

Work-wise, this is 2020, a year unlike any other. I’ve been working from home for 5 months now. In a recent workday, I relied a lot more on video conference calls and collaborative tools to keep in touch with my team and manage projects.

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

I’m currently working remotely due to COVID, and it’s working ok for me. I use technology to connect with my colleagues and get things done.

When we all come out of this, I do think it’s beneficial for organizations to look into flexible working options and develop programs to support employees based on their unique requirements.

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

For me, work-life balance means drawing a line between work and life that helps me switch off. Outside of work, the people I care about deserve my full attention, so do my hobbies.

To achieve my goal of maintaining the balance between work and life, I mentally switch off from work when I shut down my laptop and leave the office. This also means not checking my work emails until the next morning.

Under the COVID situation, I have a cut-off time to wrap things up from work and switch on life mode. I do have my phone line available for major crises at work. Other than that, I completely switch off when I am done.

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

I’ve started to practice meditation on a more regular basis. It’s not easy for me to meditate. My mind is wandering, but I am getting better. Slowly, I expand my meditation session a bit longer and focus more on my breathing to calm my mind.

This year, I’ve made a slight change in the medium that I use to journal, embracing both physical and digital forms.

Previously, I journaled using my laptop. I now write with an actual pen and notebook as well. Sometimes, when I feel more creative, writing a journal with a pen fits the mood. Other times, it’s faster to type on a laptop keyboard to catch up with my thoughts.

With regard to a habit that I’ve changed, I stopped using my phone about 30 mins before bed, and tried not to use it the first thing in the morning. I think all the research about blue light and its effect on our sleep has finally got my attention.

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

One of my favorite books is The Culture Code by Dr. Clotaire Rapaille. It’s an old book. I first read it when I was in college, yet am still fascinated by the findings to this date. I love behavioural science and the application of it in marketing.

The book explains how we behave is deeply coded in our own culture, and the key to gain more understanding of why we do the things we do is to crack that culture code.

I love podcasts. A couple of my favorites are How I Built This with Guy Raz and And The Writer Is… with Ross Golan. With How I Built This, it gives a view into how entrepreneurs and innovators built their business. And The Writer Is… takes you inside the music industry and gives you the perspective from the songwriters.

I subscribed to many newsletters and sites. Recently, I’ve been reading Rowing News, Morning Brew, Marketing Brew and What’s News from the Wall Street Journal. The list changes over time.

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

Yes, I’m a heavy user of a couple productivity apps.

Pocket: I have both their mobile app and browser extension. This app helps me save interesting articles to a central location so I can read or refer to them later. I also use it as a content discovery tool.

Evernote: I use it to take notes on the go, capture my thoughts or simply add annotations to images. I also use Evernote as a tool for journaling.

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

I’m always interested in learning about how different people manage their own daily routines and what works for them.

Anyone from a friend, a colleague to a high-profile business person can offer insights and advice. I believe the collective knowledge and tips from the masses will be beneficial, then it’s up to me to try those tips out and see what works for my own situation.

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

To maintain work life balance, you will need to take care of your own health. This can be as simple as having enough sleep, eating good food and doing exercise. At the end of the day, you can’t do a good job or be at your best self to the people you love if you are sick.

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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.