Directors / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Ryan Kelly, Founder & Director at Creative Natives

Ryan Kelly is the Founder & Director at Creative Natives, a boutique recruitment agency that specialises within the creative, digital and marketing space.

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

Prior to leaving life in the UK, I worked in marketing for a startup. I set off travelling around the world and once I got to Melbourne I knew it would be home. I had my backpack and very little money and did a range of sales jobs before like many British backpackers, found the world of recruitment.

Seven years later I’ve recruited in the tech, creative and marketing space and earlier this year seemed like the right time to make the move and set up my own recruitment business called Creative Natives.

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

A typical day starts at 7am and I jump into my laptop-based tasks like searching for talent, writing for my blog or simply replying to overnight emails. From 9 to 4 I’m out meeting clients and candidates, which is the interesting piece of my job.

After 4 I head to the gym or go for a long run, this period helps me to reflect and ultimately switch off from the day. I’ll do a quick 30 mins email admin when I get home and switch off just before dinner.

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

Being the owner of the business I do have complete flexibility on how I run my day, which was a big motivator to set up on my own. It took a little to adjust, but I work when I feel most productive which can be Sunday morning or it can be 10am on a weekday. The flipside to that is recognising less-productive times and stepping away from the laptop.

One of the perks of my job is that I can essentially do it anywhere so when the summer months come by, I fully intend to make the most of the Aussie summer and set up my office for the day by the beach.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

I try and utilise my diary as much as possible and block out times to do certain tasks. I’m guilty of trying to do too many things at once so by sticking to the allotted spots helps me focus. I’m also a big fan of having meetings on the move as well, if you’re a manager that has weekly one on ones with your team, why not walk around a park and mix it up from sitting down in a meeting room.

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

Work/life balance is a give and take thing that doesn’t sit within the 9-5 hours. It’s working when you’re most productive and using the other times to recharge or do something you enjoy. I think a sign that you’ve got that balance is when you’re not hanging out for the weekend to start or dreading work on a Sunday.

6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

For me the biggest habit I’ve stuck to is exercising each day. It helps me clear my mind and is also good for releasing the happy chemicals. Without it I’m useless by the afternoon. I also surround myself with a great group of friends who not only support me but are genuinely happy to see me succeed. I’ve also found the world of audiobooks which has been great to get ideas while I’m on the move.

7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

Own the Day, Own Your Life by Aubrey Marcus is a great book that I go back to every now again for inspiration, Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE is a great book about business entrepreneurship and if you’re just having one of those days then I find running to That Peter Crouch podcast the perfect way to get out of any mood.

8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Set objectives at the start of the day and review the list at the end of each day. I also evaluate the week on a Friday and set objectives for the coming week, this just gives me something to get things started Monday morning.

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

The world of work is shifting and I genuinely believe companies that allow their employees to play to their strengths are the ones that will not only attract the best talent but also keep them the longest. With continued advancements in tech, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before the traditional 9-5 hours will be a thing of the past.

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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.