Balancing the Grind with Thomas Dang, Data & Analytics Strategist at The Lumery

Thomas Dang is a Data & Analytics Strategist at The Lumery, a full-service customer experience agency with deep specialisation in marketing technology.

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

Absolutely. First of all, thanks for having me.

I started my career in magazine publishing many years ago, as an entry level analyst. I spent over 10 years in the media industry in multiple analytical roles, where I combined my passion for numbers, pop culture, consumer behaviour and creativity all into one.

I then spent a couple of years in the telecommunications industry, fine tuning and expanding some of my skills, before joining The Lumery a year ago, where I’m a Data and Analytics Strategist.

In my current role at The Lumery, I work with businesses to help them understand the underlying issues to their problem, by using data.

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

A day in a life for me typically starts with waking up at 6.30AM to go for a run with my fiancé. I feel like it’s the best way to start the day. After the run, I’ll cool down, have a shower, followed by breakfast. In between all of that, I’ll catch up on the world news and sports from overnight.

I sit down with my laptop to begin my day at 8AM. I take a few minutes to look at my calendar and figure out what my day is going to look like.

Being in an analytical role, I spend a lot of time diving into the numbers for different clients, which means I can usually block out large chunks of my day to focus time.

I’ll typically have a couple of internal meetings and external meetings with clients sprinkled across the day. But largely, my day will be working on different aspects of multiple projects that are running at the same time.

I usually take an hour off for lunch, where I make a salad or heat up some pre-prepared meals. We normally plan out our meals for the week on Sundays, so it’s one less decision to make during the week.

The work day finishes no later than 5PM. On some days I’ll go for a walk around the neighbourhood after work, which helps clear the mind.

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

I’m very fortunate that my current role allows for remote working. I’m even luckier that the company that I’m with has been so supportive of the whole remote working arrangement, doing everything in their power to provide the right tools to have a great work-life balance.

In terms of how the whole remote working is fitting in with my life, it means that I get a bit of time back, from not having to commute to and from work and only needing to look the part from the chest and up.

It also means I get to have lunch with my fiancé every day, which I haven’t really been able to do previously, as we’ve typically worked quite far away from each other.

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

To me, work-life balance means having time and headspace to do your own thing outside of the work environment. Everyone can grind out the work day, but to me, the key to work-life balance is knowing the value of your own time.

For me to achieve that, I do my best to draw that line between work time and personal time. I find the following things are helpful for me:

  • Getting outside for a run/walk at the start and end of the day
  • Switch off the laptop at no later than a certain time
  • Try not to engage with emails/comms outside of work hours
  • Take some time at the beginning of the day/week to plan out the day/week ahead. This allows me to focus my time on things that will help me achieve my goals.

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

At the beginning of March, when we first started the remote working arrangement, my fiancé and I started walking every day. Whether it was in the morning or afternoon, we made sure that we got outside for at least 20 minutes.

We also added in running in the mornings. We wanted to get into a good routine early on, as it becomes easier to maintain. We committed to the daily walks/runs, even during the winter.

So far, we haven’t missed a beat, running 3 mornings a week, regardless of how cold it is.

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

A few of my picks are:

  • Book: White Fragility – a great read about racism and the need for us to become better allies.
  • Podcast: The JJ Redick Podcast – JJ Redick is an NBA basketball player. He talks to mostly other basketball players about what’s happening in the world, outside of basketball.
  • Newsletter: The Pick and Roll – not really a newsletter, but a news website I’ve subscribed to that is everything to do with Australian basketball – I get a dose of basketball articles and stories a few times a week into my inbox.

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

My cameras and Wacom tablets. It’s my creative outlet, where I still do photo shoots from time to time and love the process of planning and editing photos and delivering it to the client.

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

Mike Cannon-Brookes.

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

I think with where the world is right now, it’s really important that we all look after each other and our mental health. Getting that right work-life balance definitely plays a role in looking after your mental health.

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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.