Balancing the Grind with Sandra Kaminskaite, Creative Director at MGI Entertainment

Sandra Kaminskaite is the Creative Director at MGI Entertainment, an entertainment marketing agency working with brands, celebrities and influencers.

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

I studied architecture at the university, but kicked-off my career in marketing as a Creative Director at MGI Entertainment in Shanghai. It’s a company that builds partnerships between brands, celebrities and influencers.

I worked on the projects with celebrities such as footballer Ronaldinho Gaúcho, singer John Legend, model Karolina Kurkova, actress Sophie Turner and more, as well as presented campaigns to Absolut, Budweiser, Corona, McLaren, Jaguar, Westpac bank, Qantas airlines, Jacobs Creek, Victoria’s Secret photographer Russell James and so on.

After five years in China I felt like I needed a change and I moved to Bali, Indonesia. Although I still kept working for MGI, I went back to my roots and started working on a few renovation/reconstruction projects there.

I absolutely loved the process and the results achieved. Next, we were looking at opening an outdoor gym chain in Indonesia with potential expansion plans in Australia as well as building a new villa complex in Gili Gede island, but when Covid-19 hit all the future projects were halted. 

That’s when I relocated back to my home country Lithuania. After the move I have kept my role at MGI on a consultancy basis as well as doing creative and marketing work for other companies. 

Even though I am based in Europe I have helped pull together a program in Australia called #Cook2Connect. I helped to design all the campaign materials including logo, website and all sponsorship briefs.

#Cook2Connect, which launched this month, will use food, cooking and the act of sharing a meal (with a household member and friends, or over FaceTime – depending on your lockdown circumstances!) to create a sense of connection, while fundraising for OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organization.

#Cook2Connect is a digital campaign, coordinated by MGI Entertainment and running throughout October and November 2021. It will bring together Australia’s most-loved culinary figures to remind Australians about the benefits of mealtimes.  

The campaign’s platform Plate for a Mate features videos of Australian chefs sharing restaurant quality recipes for home cooks. With a focus on dishes designed to be shared, the recipes help Australians reconnect with family and friends over a meal.  Even though I am working in Europe I was still able to oversee the whole campaign process.

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

I wake up around 7 am and have my morning routine, such as coffee, reading the news and cold shower (by Wim Hof method) done by 8:00 am. 

My typical main work hours are 8 am to 6 pm. At the moment I am trying out the intermittent fasting diet (16/8), so I would skip breakfast and jump straight to lunch at 12 pm.

I hit the gym around 7 pm for a good sweat session and a short massage chair therapy to relax my body after that. I have a very early dinner 2 hours before my training as I try not to eat anything past 8 pm. After the gym I do some more work, meet up with friends or just relax at home. 

I am in bed by 10 pm. The time before sleep is dedicated to reading and meditation. I try not to use my phone by that time as any screen time at night can disturb the sleep cycle.

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

It does. I have been working for MGI Entertainment remotely since I left our Shanghai office and moved to Bali.  However, I am not a big fan of spending a whole day alone in front of a computer, normally I do prefer working in an office.

I believe you get your job done a lot more efficiently and can brainstorm with a team in front of a white board as well as enjoy a good cup of coffee which is always a lot of fun. But overall, working remotely didn’t change my freedoms much as we were always very flexible at MGI as long as projects and tasks got completed on time.

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

I am a big believer in “Work hard. Play hard.” Honestly, I love working a lot. I enjoy creating new projects and seeing them through to completion. The self-realization through work gives me a lot more satisfaction and pleasure than simply “chilling”.

But to balance it out I love an active lifestyle. Especially, when living in Asia, I loved to travel a lot: scuba diving, go on motocross tours, mountains, jungle and waterfall treks. This rejuvenates my soul and body.

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

Last year, after COVID-19 hit, I relocated from Bali to Lithuania, which has changed my life a lot. I went from a completely free lifestyle in the sunshine to a complete lockdown in rain and snow.

Instead of spending time on the beach and going to yoga practices with the best yoga instructors in the world I was forced to work out at home with online training and take bicycle rides when weather allowed.

With pandemic restrictions being lifted now and the gyms being open again, I started going to group workouts versus doing HIIT at home, which allows me to push harder. I started going to a swimming pool and sauna weekly. As well, I returned to my meditation and mindfulness practices. I use the Calm app at the moment, which has made following meditation daily very easy.

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

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, a book by Eckhart Tolle: it’s a book about a belief system based on living in the present moment and the fact that people’s emotional problems are rooted in their identification with their minds

The Power of Habit, a book by Charles Duhigg: it’s a book about habits on a personal, company and society levels; it talks about the structure of habits and how to change them

365 Tao: Daily Meditations, a book by Deng Ming Dao: a contemporary book of meditations that provide insights for every day

Jordan Peterson’s podcast, a Canadian professor of psychology, clinical psychologist, YouTube personality, and author. And, obviously Joe Rogan’s podcast, I am sure a description is not even needed here.

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

Having lived abroad for 12 years, almost all of my friends and all colleagues are all around the world, so the usual communication apps, such as WeChat, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook I use daily and could not live without. As I mentioned before, I use the Calm app for meditations.

I am not much into gadgets though. I like to get around by bicycle, so I never leave home without my Samsung Buds for my favorite Spotify playlists, but that’s about it. 

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

Someone who probably doesn’t have one. Would love to learn more tips on keeping the head above the water from people like Jack Ma or Elon Musk.

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

Choose a profession that is your passion, that way you will never need to “work” again. Workout five times a week, even if it’s short.

Exercise has incredible benefits: it improves your mood, boosts your energy, combats diseases, improves sleep and, of course, keeps you in shape. But as you take care of your body, don’t forget to take care of your mind too. Even 10 minutes of meditation a day can make a huge shift! 

If you want to change your life, change your habits. Write down what it is that you want to change and choose one “key” habit to work on. Practice it for 21 days to turn it into a routine. The more you do it the more your self-confidence will grow and you will be able to combat more “bad” habits. Start with small steps. 

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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.