Directors, Interviews, Marketing & Comms

Balancing the Grind With Nancy Csutoros, Content Director at Context

September 9, 2019

Nancy Csutoros is the Content Director at Context, a Melbourne-based, strategy-led content agency, where she handles strategy and content for clients.

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

I always loved books and making things, so began my career as an editorial assistant at an educational publisher (I started in data entry, just to get a foot in the door).

I then moved on to Lonely Planet, which was super-fun and of its time (I met my husband and loads of good people there).

It was there that I had the opportunity to work as a project and editorial manager on custom publications directly for clients, and you could say that’s where my career pivoted.

I went on to work as a book and magazine publisher, had a baby, and found myself realising that if I didn’t make a change I would be left behind, so did a stint at a digital agency.

Realising that I actually enjoyed working more closely with clients, I applied for a job at King Content as an Account Director and a year later became Head of Editorial and Content Planning for the Melbourne office.

In 2017, Isentia, the company that bought King Content two years’ prior, shut it down without warning – and this leads us to where I am now, running Context, a strategy-led content agency.

Not only do I get to run my own show, but I get to partner with one of the strongest content strategists going around in Laura Stansfeld.

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

My role at Context is as Content Director. I handle our clients’ content requirements, which can be as varied as writing copy, commissioning writers for articles or SEO copy, or project managing the strategy process.

I am the main port of call for Context’s clients from proposal and planning stage to final sign off.

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

On any one day I can be meeting clients or partner agencies about new or existing work, commissioning writers, managing freelancers, and doing all sorts of business admin, that you’d expect with running a small business.

Today, for example, I’m home looking after a sick boy, so have rung and spoken to our accountant and my business partner, edited an article, reconciled Xero, responded to clients, and written the About page for an upcoming client website.

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

Avoid meetings – they are time suckers. One of the things I’ve noticed now that I run my own business is that you actually don’t have to do that much talking, you can just make decisions quickly and get on with the work.

Otherwise I aim for inbox zero – I’m a massive filer and list maker. Anything left in the inbox is a ‘to do’, which helps me wade through the clutter.

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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 don’t think you can separate job, life and other responsibilities – one element or another is always playing on your mind.

One thing I’m good at though is compartmentalising those aspects so I try to concentrate on one thing at the one time. For me, balance is about being able to do the things I want, when I want.

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

Some people exercise, I clean the house!

It makes me feel organised and structured, which means I can concentrate on work with a clear head.

I also meal prep and cook on the weekend, which prepares me for the week ahead and because it’s something I love to do, I find it recharges me – I’m not myself if I haven’t spent at least half day in the kitchen.

It also helps us eat well, and it saves time when the week gets busy because life and work can get in the way. Otherwise, catching up with friends or family is always fun and often helps to provide a new perspective.

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?

Ensuring that I regularly stay in contact with people I’ve worked with, which is good from a networking and social perspective.

I write lists to prioritise, read a lot to self-learn, and get out into the fresh air if I’m feeling stuck and can’t solve a problem. I also don’t watch a lot of TV (Game of Thrones is the exception).

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

Atomic Habits by James Clear was a good one for breaking down large tasks into smaller more manageable tasks.

I’m also reading the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, because even though it’s been out for ages, I’ve never read it.

And I loved the Marie Kondo book – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying –  I went through a major decluttering phase two years ago, and it’s changed my perspective on home and work life.

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

Get up, ha ha. I’m a big sleeper and go to bed early with the intention of also getting up early but hardly ever do.

Getting up early is the one habit I wish I could master because I find doing the hard work, or tricky bits of a project, is best done first thing in the morning. I’ll keep trying!

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