Mariam Mohammed is the Co-Founder of MoneyGirl, a social enterprise focused on making financial education more fun and accessible for young Australian women.
Subscribe to Balance the Grind’s newsletter so you never miss one of our conversations about work, life & balance.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I actually come from a creative background. Studied filmmaking at University. Creative expression is still an integral part of my work. I studied community development in my Masters – focusing on women’s rights. I am the co-founder of MoneyGirl, a financial literacy program for young women, where I now work full-time.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Putting on 3 alarms where the first one is literally just a 15 minutes heads up to wake up time.
Roll out of bed at 7. Drink water. Put my chai on, prepare brekky.
I have a mini whiteboard onto which I will scribble down absolutely every last thing I wish I could do in that day. Then I’ll pick the 3 that actually matter. I will get those 3 things done today.
If it’s not a gym day, I will do yoga next. Otherwise clean up, get dressed, and get to work.
My creativity is dead by 1 pm. So, I will mostly have those 3 important tasks done by then. Afternoon is for routine stuff; emails, calls, meetings etc.
Evenings are for cooking food with my partner, catching up on the couch, cuddling the cat, watching an episode of the newest Netflix phenomena.
9.30 is the end of day for me. No socialisation after that. I shower, read, hang out by myself, and go to bed by 11 pm.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I work in MoneyGirl full-time so effectively I decide my work hours. We’re lucky to have access to office space at The Hub thanks to their Impact Program – where they give away 1% of their memberships annually to social impact businesses.
Deciding your own hours can be good and bad. I did become obsessed with my work and worked 12-hour days at a point. Until I crashed and burned. Now I work based on my daily goals, not hours. So, If I get my work done in 3 hours, I legit take the rest of the day off.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Prickly question for a workaholic! I’m figuring this one out as I go along.
Each year, my priorities are different, so it means something different to me. I like to periodically re-prioritize my values. At the end of a period I will assess how content that made me. If it’s not working, I’ll change it up.
It is important to me that work is a part of my life as a whole – rather than a chunk that I have to cut out of my life. My little prioritization exercise is essentially designed to make sure I don’t sway too far away from that definition of work.
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?
Having a morning and evening routine. It gives me so much peace of mind.
I don’t do any socialisation 90 minutes after waking up. I just enjoy my chai, have breakfast, do my skin care, get dressed.
I don’t do any socialising 90 minutes before bed. I shower, wind down, read, put my thoughts on paper, draw, whatever I feel like doing to hang out with myself.
On days when I’m not able to do that for whatever reason, there’s a lot of noise in my head and no room for problem-solving or creative ideas.
6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
The first quarter of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is something I’ve read a few times because I am someone who gives a lot of f*cks so I need the reminder every now and then.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Get things out of my head.
I draw out the images in my head. Like dreams, goals, stories.
I write down ideas, thoughts, and problems that occur to me out of nowhere. That way I can come back to them later, they don’t need to be in my head right now while I do something else.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Usman Iftikhar, CEO of Catalysr. He is such a trailblazer but also the most Zen person. How can you be both fire and water, mate?
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Take yourself less seriously. Work is not the be-all, end-all of life. The earth will turn, and the sun will still rise tomorrow. Remember to look up and ask: What is the big picture?
“[…] Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot” – Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot, 1994)
If you’d like to have a conversation with us about how you balance the grind, get in touch with us!