Founders, Freelancers, Interviews, Marketing & Comms

Balancing the Grind With Kimberley Lee, Director of Brand PR Social & Freelance Consultant

July 1, 2019

Kimberley Lee is the Director of PR agency Brand PR Social and freelance consultant. In addition, Kimberley is also completing her Graduate Diploma in Counselling.

Balance the Grind spoke to Kimberley about running her own consulting business, studying counselling part-time, typical week in her life, learning meditation, and more.

This conversation is brought to you by:

  • Freelancer.com, the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace
  • Teachable, a powerful yet simple all-in-one platform to create and sell beautiful online courses

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

I started my career working with a number of public relations agencies, including Edelman in Melbourne and Sydney, before taking a dedicated social media in-house role at Hoyts Group.

Then I decided to dive into the deep end and try my luck at freelancing, which is not about luck at all but good old fashioned hard work, networking and staying true to my values as best as possible, once I had figured out what they were.

That was at the start of 2013 and I’ve been riding the freelance tides ever since.

I’ve now arrived at a deep learning phase (I consider myself a consciously eternal learner) and almost at the end of my Graduate Diploma in Counselling I’ve been working on part-time whilst continuing my consulting business.

2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?

Currently in my business, I’m in roles that require me as a strategic communications advisor, social media specialist, stakeholder and community engagement consultant, copywriter.

In my role as a counselling student I’m on placement at a crisis centre as a counsellor in training, caseworker support, communications consultant and general helper to do whatever is needed in the unpredictable day-to-day at a small NFP.

Without the fanfare of titles, this means I’m thinking, writing, reading, listening, talking and walking (I like to be active and on the move!).

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

There is no typical day, which I know a lot of freelancers say, but that’s not incredibly helpful.

So, here is a glance at my recurring weekly calendar entries, which is more telling than looking at a day:

  • brand and communications client workshop (we’re currently working through a re-brand)
  • daily social channel management
  • content creation
  • placement at the crisis centre
  • weekly classes at uni on campus or online
  • volunteering on Mondays and Wednesdays (I tutor school students through Weave), and
  • admin working on my business

I spread my ‘workdays’ out through the week from Mon-Sun, so it looks like a lot but actually very manageable and enjoyable – it suits the way my brain works and the lifestyle I want at this stage of my life and career.

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

Deadlines normally help! I use my calendar to schedule time for everything I want to achieve in a day, including exercise, meditation and family and friend time.

And then I move things around depending on how the day actually pans out. Knowing what I need to get done and being realistic about how and when, then being flexible to move things around without getting flustered is key.

I’ve also fostered solid relationships with clients – if something unexpected crops up and I need to make some space in my schedule I can call a client to let them know about the situation and re-prioritise work if we need to.

Being attuned to how I’m feeling also helps me know what to get done and when. If I’m powering through tasks I’ll put the ‘hard’ stuff up front.

If I’m feeling a bit slower, I’ll do less onerous stuff first to give myself time to warm up. Getting to know myself and being honest with how I’m feeling means I can be efficient.

5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?

I’ve redefined balance as something that isn’t of equal proportions, rather, feeling balanced within myself and my sense of being.

If I find myself feeling too much of something for too long, I know I’m out of balance so I’ll make time to reflect on what and why, then make adjustments.

My counselling training in reflexivity means I’ve become better at reflecting in the moment, recognising when things are off kilter as they’re starting to tip so I can do what’s needed to get back to feeling more centred.

6) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?

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.

I’m probably a nicer person when I’m exercising too so it’s better for everyone that I do! I’ve also been learning to meditate with my good friend Justine, a meditation teacher, and I really feel the positive impact it has on my sense of being.

To help maintain the good feeling of not feeling like I need to recharge, being present in whatever I’m doing also helps.

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

Open and honest communication with myself and others, self reflection, re-assessing my values, reading widely, a continuous learner mindset, and staying connected with a diversity of people and places helps grow my feeling, thinking and sense of being.

8) Are there any books you’ve read that have helped you with work-life balance?

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, is about working with the impacts of trauma on the mind, body and soul.

It’s a heavy, intense reminder about the mind-body connection.

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

Planning the night before for what I would like to see happen the next day, from tasks and client work to mindset and wellbeing. Then being able to comfortably roll with whatever the day brings.

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