As someone who’s worked in the marketing-communications industry for close to 10 years, I’ve seen the always-hustling-no-sleep mentality permeate through colleagues and co-workers since I’ve started working.
Burn-out, anxiety and depression was rampant, especially in the agency culture which fostered an environment of long hours and juggling too many clients at the same time.
Balance the Grind has had the opportunity to interview a lot of marketing professionals about work-life balance. I have the pleasure of calling a lot of these marketing peeps my friends, and they all have some really great, insightful tips on how they strive to achieve work-life balance and a typical day in their life as a marketing professional.
Nobody’s perfect, I’ve yet to meet anyone who says they’ve got the whole balance thing under control, but we’re all progressing and that’s all that matters.
1. Belinda White // Director of Marketing and Communication at Qualitas Group
The main thing is to have a variety of interests beyond work, so you don’t feel like that’s your whole life. Balance doesn’t create itself; you have to put effort into it.
I run a finance blog, which is a good creative outlet, and attend a philosophy class once a week, am part of a book club.
And I get into the gym at least four days a week – I prefer powerlifting but am dealing with injury at the moment, so I have been mixing it up. I’m a massive news junkie too, so I spend a lot of time following local and international politics.
2. Alexandra Aguirre Tully // Brand Marketing Lead at Airtasker
Cooking dinner at the end of the day is my wind down.
I’ve recently realised it’s my form of meditation – those 30 – 45 mins concentrating on the task at hand completely clears my head of what happened that day at work, things I’ve forgotten to do, things I could have done better.
3. Alex Lefley // Director for Edelman Melbourne Brand
I’m incredibly lucky to work at a supportive organisation like Edelman with leadership who set a great example. We have flexible hours which means I adjust my hours as needed – be that for early child-care collection, personal training sessions in the morning or a Pilates class at lunch (not that I ever do this one).
In addition, we are encouraged to have a 7pm – 7am email blackout which means there’s no expectation to be online all the time – allowing for the team to really try to switch off and make the most of their evenings.
4. Genevieve Deaconos // Events & Engagement Manager at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Business School
I am lucky as my husband and I have a truly equal partnership – we both have a strong family focus and spend equal time looking after the kids and the house.
When his work is particularly demanding, I might step up a bit more, and then vice-versa when my work life gets hectic.
It enables us both to have rewarding careers and also raise our family the way we want to. Without that partnership, I think any sort of balance would be impossible.
5. Claudia Flannery // Content Manager at G Squared
Finding time for myself is definitely difficult given I work and study full time.
I have really learnt to appreciate those small moments of free time I have, using it to socialise with friends, family, my adorable dog Bailey or even just to listen to a nice peaceful song.
I also ensure that I am exercising 5 or 6 times a week to keep my body and mind fit and healthy.
6. Kimberley Lee // Director of Brand PR Social & freelance consultant
Staying connected with my family is very grounding, and making the effort to keep quality friendships growing helps me keep perspective of what’s important.
Exercising for longevity is something I value and I’ve been doing powerlifting, Muay Thai and swimming – all of these work body and brain in different ways.
7. Ashleigh Davis // Events & Communications Manager at Movio
“My job is a big part of who I am, and I genuinely love the projects I get to work on – so I don’t mind Googling things at midnight from bed or writing ideas down in my iPhone when I’m at cool events in the weekend.
I think that’s a big reason why everyone should try to work in a field that represents their passions and values, because then work-life balance comes naturally.
If you’re ever unsure about whether or not you’re spending too much time worrying about work, ask your family and friends. Are they seeing you enough? Do you seem happy? They are usually a great indicator of whether you’re finding balance!”
8. JoJo Swords // Global Content Lead – Demand Marketing at ThoughtWorks
“In our busy lives, it can be really hard to find that balance. I am lucky that I love my job, so I get a huge amount of satisfaction from it, but I also know that it is just one part of my identity, and I must nurture my creative and social sides too.
I consciously make time to connect with friends and loved ones, as this is what gives me energy. I never want to be one of those people that misses the special moments (big and small) in life, because they were obsessed with what they ‘should’ be doing.”
9. Andrea Hoymann // Marketing Director at Sinorbis
“To really find balance in life, it’s important to know what you enjoy doing and learn to say no to all the distractions that keep you from doing these things. I also try not to commit to things too far in advance.
It seems that the longer I plan catch-ups and social engagements in advance, the less I feel like it when they come around. Life is usually the most enjoyable when there’s enough room for spontaneity and my ideal weekend is a blank slate without any fixed appointments.”
10. Alex Cook // Digital Programs Director at Commune Digital
“Having family first puts the world in perspective, decisions are a lot simpler because your personal priorities are founded.
Time with them is of upmost importance. There’s time when work takes over, that’s always expected and it’s fine, but balancing that back out with family is soul nourishing.”
11. Alexandra Dien // Content Marketing Manager at Brandalism Australia
“I don’t know if I’ve found balance yet. I really enjoy what I do, so I often find myself working late, but I don’t really mind.
But, I’ve learned to really try to actively make time for people in my life – no matter how crazy the week has been.”
12. Veronica Nguyen // Head of Communications – Beauty at Market Australia
“For me, I think it’s important to not bring any of your work home with you. Once I’ve stepped out of the office, everything about work will need to wait till tomorrow.
When I’m at home, I like to focus on quality time with my family or my fiancé and enjoy cooking dinner together – luckily for me, my fiancé and I are both home by 5pm the latest, we have plenty of time for each other for the most part.”
13. Roger Christie // Founder & Managing Director of Propel Group
“Over the past four years, I’ve found exercise during the day has helped me stay energised, release any tension and provide the ‘circuit breaker’ I need before walking through the door.
At the moment that’s Crossfit, but before that it was touch football and cricket. I’m incredibly fortunate my role (and my wife!) allows me the flexibility to make the time for regular exercise, but I’m also determined to make that time so everyone wins.”
14. Amanda Terranova // Director of Marketing & Brand at Mirus Australia
“At 51 years of age, I choose low impact and strengthening exercises as my movements of choice. Although last year, I competed in my second Tough Mudder obstacle race but have vowed not to return!
Balance for me is also about remaining curious. I am fortunate to work with young professionals who teach me new ways to think, eat and move continuously and provide the confidence to try new things!”
15. Chelsey Blount // Marketing & Communications Manager at Consolidated Properties Group
“I am constantly on the go so taking time out and recharging for me is usually spent at home with my partner and our two cats (yes, I’m a completely crazy cat lady) relaxing and taking it easy together.
We’re both hard at work all week and it’s easy to fill up our weekends being social and getting out and about. For me, the re-charging bit is done by slowing down, taking it easy, and spending time with my loved ones.”
16. Mandi Barton // Head of Social at M&C Saatchi Australia
“I have increasingly found the need for stillness in my life. I am constantly multi-tasking, whether it be working on several different projects in a day or reading, watching, listening out of curiosity.
So finding a few hours to have no music, no TV, no books and just let my thoughts settle is really helpful. Preferably while staring out at the ocean in summer but the botanic gardens also works!”
17. Min Kumar
“Chasing professional wins feels natural and has been great for my career, but at one point, this left me feeling seriously burnt out.
While balance can be hard to maintain, I’ve found prioritising my volunteer work, social commitments and family time the same way I prioritise my work day has made it easier to transition away from my inbox after hours.”
Min Kumar is the Digital Editor-in-Chief at The University of Sydney where she is responsible for the development and implementation of the university’s content marketing strategy and governance of the corporate website.
18. Ishtar Schneider
“I don’t like the term work-life balance, I prefer “work-life sway” because you’re never going to be exactly in balance – there are times when your focus will be more on work and you have to put in the extra time and there’s times when your personal life might have more of your attention – and that’s ok.”
Ishtar Schneider is the Account Director (Health) at Edelman London. With over a decade’s worth of experience working in the PR industry, Ishtar’s clients and projects have been recognised at the state and national levels by leading industry bodies.
19. Mylan Vu
“I find one of the best ways to recharge is to consciously do something ‘for me’, every day. It could be something as small as getting a coffee or going for a walk, or something indulgent like getting a new set of headphones.
Instead of making these choices based on ‘need’, switching to think of these as a ‘reward’ for everything you do every day can be surprisingly uplifting and motivating, without over-inflating your ego (hopefully!).”
Mylan Vu is the Managing Director at Hotwire, a global communications agency focused on B2B & consumer tech brands. Over the past two year, Mylan has led the Hotwire Australia team, achieving double digit YoY growth and snagging an award for Mumbrella’s PR Employer of the Year.
20. Russ Macumber
“The key for me is blocking out regular time for the stuff that matters – this can’t really be done unless your workplace/boss supports balance.
When I started at Impressive I explained to Rob, the owner and CEO, that on Thursdays I need to leave a couple of hours early so I can take my son to karate. Its a weekly ritual that needs to be blocked out as with 4 kids they don’t get much 1 on 1 time! Rob was totally supportive.”
Russ Macumber is currently the Strategy Director at Impressive Digital, transitioning into a new role as the General Manager at Impressive Digital USA.
21. Adam Wise
“I’m a big believer in leaving work on time. I really respect the 6 o’clock finish, which is pretty rare in the advertising industry. It’s not uncommon for people to regularly work back really late in this industry.
I’ve found that often these people are either staying back because they’re unorganised, they’re drowning in work, or they’re trying to impress their bosses. I believe that the first two reasons are in our control and the last is just plain dumb.”
Adam Wise is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of social content agency Jack Nimble. Founded by Adam and Angus Mullane, Jack Nimble is creative production agency based in Sydney focused on creating fast-craft social media content including live action, stop-motion, GIFs, and animation.
22. Dave Levett
“There’s going to be times when you do have to pull late nighters, and work to the early hours, but I try to keep those to a minimum.
My wife and I love going out on the weekend morning and grabbing a brunch, and finding the small moments you have with someone so close to connect can be amazing. Some of Murmur’s best ideas, have come from a conversation we’ve had just tossing ideas around.”
Dave Levett is the co-founder of MURMUR, a creative advertising & marketing agency helping businesses achieve their goals with audience research, marketing strategy and creative design.
23. Tom Haynes
“We are lucky enough to be based in an office 100m from Manly Beach in Sydney. As a keen surfer, I can grab a wave before work or duck out for a surf at lunch. And I can easily go for a run through the bush trails of North Head.
Exercise is a stress buster, and when things get busy in the business requiring me to work 6 long days a week, even a 30-minute burn completely resets me, as well as helping foster creative ideas and providing perspective on problems.”
Tom Haynes is the Director and Founder of Kudos Media, a Sydney-based content marketing and digital marketing automation agency.
24. Nicola Swankie
“Be OK with emotional discomfort. This is probably the most important habit I have had to work on for success. And I don’t mean burning out by doing lots of work, I mean taking on tasks that make us feel uncomfortable, challenge us and sitting with the emotional roller coaster that comes with that.”
Nicola Swankie is the Founder & Lead Consultant at Swankie & Partners, a training partnership specializing in helping companies embrace new technologies for better business performance.
In addition to building Swankie & Partners with a remote and flexible work ethos, Nicola is also the Co-Founder of Coastal Coworking, Coolum Beach’s only coworking space right the heart of the Sunshine Coast.
25. Tracey Jarvis
“I have made a rule that I only work from 9am to 5.30pm during the week only. Obviously, sometimes I may have to work extra hours if we need to delivery a project on time. But generally these are the hours that I work.
As I work from home around 2-3 days a week – I make sure that I get out of the house every morning and every evening, even it if is just to go for a walk.”
With over 10 years experience in digital & over 15 years experience in sales & marketing, Tracey Jarvis is one of the most experienced social media marketers for the Australian audiences and has worked with some of the most iconic Australian brands.
26. Nancy McDonald
“Whilst I’m a big fan of hard work and value solid work ethics above all else I’ve also learnt the tremendous benefits of taking time out to reset, find balance and find passions outside of the 9-5 work day which have enhanced my mindset and approach to all I do.
I recently learnt vedic meditation from Matt Ringrose at Bondi Meditation Centre and its become part of my daily routine. I also break-up the day with exercise or even just some fresh air and going for a walk in the outdoors.”
Nancy McDonald is the Founder and Lead Consultant at NMD PR, a public relations consultancy specialising in fintech and technology disruptors.
27. Trevor Young
“I try not to do work after hours unless I have a pressing deadline and there’s no alternative but to work into the night.
I do write, read and do my brand marketing stuff after hours, yes, but rarely client work. And if I have been hard at it for a bit, I give myself permission to sleep in and have a leisurely coffee in the morning before venturing into work.”
Trevor Young is a Communications strategist and adviser specialising in content marketing and social media, as well as a keynote marketing speaker.
28. Jennyfer Nguyen
“One of my biggest rules is to not check work emails after 5pm. I make sure everyone knows this about me and if it’s urgent, they can text or call me.
I also try my best to not eat at my desk and if I have to work through lunch, I still try go for an afternoon walk outside for coffee or just fresh air.”
Jennyfer Nguyen is the Digital Marketing & Communications Manager at White Ribbon Australia, a non-profit organisation working to end men’s violence against women and girls, promote gender equality and create a new vision of masculinity.
29. Michelle Broderick // SVP Marketing – Brand Marketing at Automattic
“I actually love to work. So to me, work life balance is not about limiting the number of hours that I work, but it’s making the most of the hours that I work. I want the majority of my hours at work to feel energizing and I should feel like I did good work by the end of the day.”
30. Andrew Bruce Smith // Director of Escherman
“I think you have to proactively make the effort to carve out time away from work. It is all too easy to allow work to encroach on every corner of your life – and spending every waking hour devoted to work is ultimately counterproductive.
Conversely, some of my best ideas and insights come to me precisely because I’m not actively focused on them. Steve Jobs was an obvious exponent of using time spent walking to clear the head and to recharge the mental batteries. I share that view.”
32. Kai Crow // Head Of Marketing at Joyous
“For me, the best thing is something that completely takes my mind off things. My main release is mountain biking. I find it’s great for clearing the mind.
Fast, intense action sports mean you have to focus. If I’m out on my bike and I’m thinking about work, I know I’m not riding fast enough!”
33. Brianna Ragel // Head of Marketing and Communications at Link Housing
“I aim to start my day with a walk, instead of going to work straight away. I’m also an early riser and the short walk to get my coffee in the morning gives me the time and space for personal reflection.
It’s the chance to consider my own goals and values and review what my day needs to look like to fulfil these. Life is what you make of it, so, I am deliberate in the choices I make.”
34. Cat Prestipino
“I’m a big believer in work life flow rather than work life balance. There will be times where I need to put in long hours at work to achieve a project and there will be other times where I’ll need to spend more time on myself or on other responsibilities. The important thing is to make sure the flow is working for you in the long-term.”
Cat Prestipino is the Chief Marketing Officer at Employment Hero, an Australian HR software company which provides employers and employees an all-in-one HR, payroll and benefits platform.
35. Louise Tran // Head of Purposeful Marketing at ForPurposeCo.
“I love my work, it’s meaningful and brings lots of joy to people, so I do not look at “work” strictly as working 9-5pm then switching off. Being able to work flexibly is a blessing to me and allows me to be there for my toddler, but also allowing me to work when it suits me and my family.
Balance to me means waking up everyday, having a choice and intentionally putting your energy and effort into things you really care about – whether its your job, your hobbies, extra curricular interests or sport.”
36. Audrey Kaiser // Freelance Digital Marketing Manager
“For me to be productive and deliver my best work, I like to have a schedule and feel organised (I am a bit of a planner). I also need my ‘me time’ to unwind and do things I enjoy.
Self-care, eating healthily and a good night sleep are crucial for me to perform at my best. It usually involves being active (dancing or yoga), catching up with friends or reading a good book.”
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