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Balancing the Grind with Chelsea Nabors, Co-Founder of LOLA Interiors

Chelsea Nabors is the co-founder of LOLA Interiors, an office furniture company selling premium electronic stand up desks.

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

As a millennial I think we can all agree that my generation was really raised by the internet so there were no surprises when I found myself working agency side in a digital marketing role early on in my career.

I was a Digital Marketing Coordinator creating content and managing Facebook and Twitter channels for clients before Instagram was even a thing! 

I’ve since been working agency-side in the creative industry for the last 10 years where I’m now the Managing Director of brand & content agency, Bullet Studios.

I’ve got a real passion for business and creative strategies, but I’m quite passionate about building brand experiences within our ever-evolving digital age.

My background in the creative industry mixed with my understanding of running a successful SME has now fostered the development of my latest venture and side hustle – LOLA Interiors.

With my understanding of building successful brand experiences and my partner Tim having over a decade of experience in the furniture industry we saw an opportunity during COVID to create an office furniture brand that promotes a healthy lifestyle for thousands of Aussies now working from home. 

We understand the need for quality, functional furniture that just WORKS! Our electric adjustable desks, task chairs and accessories aim to alleviate pain while increasing productivity, and wellbeing with a strong focus on modern aesthetics. 

So simply put, I’m a Managing Director of a brand & content agency by day and building a DTC office furniture brand by night. The duality of my worlds work quite seamlessly together, and it really helps that I’m fortunate enough to have such a supportive network around me as I build my career.

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

A typical day for me includes an early morning dog walk or gym session – I find it’s paramount to get active in the morning in preparation for a busy day at the office.

As I’m currently working from home full time due to lockdown, I’ve been able to enjoy an extended morning routine which includes breakfast with my partner Tim. This time together also gives us a chance to discuss any LOLA priorities for the day as well.

I start every day off with a morning WIP with my Bullet team to discuss goals and priorities for the day ahead, and from there no workday is the same when you’re managing a team of creatives.

However, when I’m not needed in meetings my head is typically buried in financial reports and everything that comes with running both a successful and profitable business.

When I do log off for the day from my MD duties I then switch my focus to LOLA priorities in the evening where I enjoy getting hands on with reviewing Google Analytics reports, optimising our online ad campaigns, interacting with our customers, creating content for our channels and looking into new products to feature on our LOLA online store. 

I absolutely love what I do, and I love rounding out my day with sharing a home cooked meal and a glass of vino with my partner to wind down. I’ve also recently gotten into practicing Yoga Nidra before bed as it helps to quiet my incredibly overactive brain so I can get my much needed 8 hours of sleep each night.

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

I believe flexible working is here to stay! Since COVID there’s certainly been a shift in the workplace for today’s business leaders around a greater awareness of the mental wellbeing of their employees.

At Bullet we’ve come to really understand the importance of daily human interactions in a collaborative environment, but also the flexibility that WFH affords my team when balancing work and home life.

Based on this we’ve implemented 2 dedicated WFH days each week which I find so incredibly useful to utilise these days as my focus ‘get it done’ days.

Switching gears to LOLA, we’re also seeing many employers both large and small adapting flexible work arrangements for their employees and ensuring their workspaces are properly set up to promote productive ways of working from home.

Our goal is to further develop the benefits that working from home have through the addition of active working in promoting health and wellbeing throughout the workday. 

I believe this is the new way forward and will be a key benefit in promoting a healthy work-life balance through active working to improve mental wellbeing for those WFH. 

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

To balance work and life I find it important to remove the 9am-5pm time constraints that constitute a regular workday. I do this so that I can integrate joyful activities into my daily routine and remove that element of stress that time constraints can put on an individual.

I think we’re wired to believe we need to get everything done between 9am-5pm to demonstrate a healthy work-life balance. However, my daily mindset is that I’ve got from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep (almost 16 hours) to be productive both in my work and personal life whilst enjoying joyous moments throughout the day.

So, if I need to start my workday at 10am to catch my favourite spin class or check my emails on a Sunday evening to plan for a stress-free Monday I do this even if it means working later or outside of traditional hours. My most productive days have an element of joy to them so to me that’s work-life balance. 

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

Like many Aussies I too am suffering a bit of a routine shake up due to lockdown. I’m a spin class junkie and I love starting my day off in a dark room with flashing neon’s and pounding music!

Lockdown can be hard on everyone not having that clear divide between work, gym and home so I’ve traded in my spin bike for long walks outside to achieve my 10K step goal each day mixed with some meditation or Yoga Nidra before bed.

It’s been a welcomed shift for the current situation we’re in, and I do think the 10K step goal might be something I maintain even after lockdown to help clear my mind and keep active.

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

I just finished reading Educated which is a memoir by Tara Westover. I honestly could not put it down as it was a true story of triumph and hope. I highly recommend it!

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

Anything Apple related, but currently it’s my Apple Watch! I’m quite a competitive person so I enjoy the challenge of closing my rings each day to keep myself accountable as I know exercise and active working throughout the day is what I need to keep my energy levels high. 

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

I’ve loved following the journey of Whitney Wolfe Herd as she’s become the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire.

Being a young, working mom herself I’ve seen her implement some great initiatives for new parents to assist with work-life balance and wellbeing during one of the biggest adjustments to an individual’s life – becoming a parent.

She’s thinking through things differently because she’s lived it, so I’d like to see what she thinks of next as she takes on new chapters and hurdles in her own life. She’s my definition of girl boss goals!

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

One thing I haven’t really touched on with the concept of living a balanced life is the integral role my family and friends play in me maintaining this balance.

Over the years I’ve put in the time and energy to really understand my strengths, but even better understand my weaknesses and limits. Having a supportive network around me where there’s mutual respect and honesty – they’re my checks and balances and with them I wouldn’t be where I am today. 

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About Author

Balance The Grind gives me a platform to talk to these people about how they're achieving their ideal lifestyle. I'm inspired by the passion, the work ethic, the hustle; and these conversations motivate me to live life the way I want to live it.