Balancing the Grind with Steven Makari, Owner of Ivory Media

Steven Makari is the Owner of Ivory Media, where he has worked on videos, branding and websites for brands like Qantas, Lion Co, Caltex, HCF and Slingshot.

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

After finishing my bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication and Diploma in Screen and Media, I landed my first gig with Optus managing the production of a series of videos for the SMB website.

After that contract ended, I decided to travel through Central and South America, an amazing and eye-opening experience. Upon my return, I continued freelancing for a number of years until I landed a role with Hudson Recruitment tasked to build out the entire video function for APAC.

I now spend my time focusing on my business Ivory Media with a focus on videos, branding and websites.

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

My day always starts with a strong coffee (straight espresso shot). From there I’ll usually tackle the most complex challenges for the day (get the hard stuff knocked out early – it really helps set up your day) and responding to emails – this is the time I’m most productive and focused.

From there I’ll take a quick lunch break to scoff down something I cooked the previous night – usually something pretty tasty. In the afternoon, I’ll do some reading, research and some minor life admin (so it doesn’t build up over the week) whilst managing any meetings I might have.

On any given day, I could be:

  • out filming
  • working on a website
  • reviewing wire frames/scripts/storyboards
  • dealing with developers/clients/creatives, or
  • editing and reviewing videos.

Once the 9-5 workday is over, I’ll go the gym (once upon a time when they were open pre COVID), now I find myself going for a bike ride.

Afterwards, I’ll cook dinner (and lunch for the following day), spend time with my amazing partner, unwind and do life – I believe it’s super important to talk about your day, achievements, challenges and what’s coming up that excites you.

The night can range from relaxing on the couch doing some light reading, sometimes meeting clients, meeting partners (in business/projects), working on side projects or volunteering with the SES. I like to change things up on a day to day basis so things don’t feel to mechanical. 

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

Absolutely, working from home is encouraged and it fits in well with my life. Usually I do 3 days in the office and a couple of days at home which I find to be the perfect split.

I work with a bunch of amazing people so having that freedom makes it all the better when you find that equilibrium. 

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

Neither your work or your life stresses you out in any way and they should complement each other to get the most productivity out of your days – life’s too short to worry about the unnecessary.

You should always feel challenged and willing to make change for the better but when you’re at that point of burning out that’s when you need to stop and review the path you’re walking down.

You don’t need to make radical changes (unless you do), you just need to take baby steps and have a purpose in mind. You’ll be surprised at how much you can change in a short space of time when you set yourself some small goals.

5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?

Waking up as early as possible and starting the day as early as you can sets you up for success! When you leave things to late in the day they usually get pushed out to later on in the week. 

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

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

Have a positive outlook and set some goals for the day. If you wake up every day aiming to achieve something or learn something new, then you will, and you will find momentum to push you through those tough days. 

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

Jack Ma.

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

Find something you love doing, spend time doing it (and get better at it) and never stop doing it – this will clear your mind of ill and rapid thoughts and some well needed down time. 

Before you go…

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This conversation is brought to you by The Well-Suited Group, providing premium executive support services to high level executives, who also recognise the value of work-life balance.

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.