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Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Fleur Fletcher, General Manager at Shines Digital

Fleur Fletcher is the General Manager at Shines Digital, an independent digital performance agency.

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

I started off in journalism, before a lucky introduction led me to a two-week entrepreneurial bootcamp. That ended up being the launchpad for the next stage of my career – digital marketing.

I worked at a startup incubator called Pollenizer where I worked on hundreds of startups, before wanting to sink my teeth into just one. I joined Michelle Bridges 12WBT as one of its first employees, focusing on acquisition across digital channels.

I have now moved across to agency-side where I recently took on the role of General Manager at Shines Digital. 

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

My day roughly begins at about 6am, but this changes often and is dictated by when my kids decide the day is to begin. Before children I was someone who loved mornings to myself but for now I’ve given up trying to control that part of the day and just let it be.

It includes books, playing, breakfasts, lunchboxes, getting dressed – All the usual stuff – before getting to work. My partner and I split drop offs, so if he has early meetings I take the kids and vice versa if I need to start early. 

On meeting-heavy days, it’s all about the prep and follow up of those meetings. On meeting-light days I use that time to go deeper into bigger projects. Half the week I have meetings that run into the early evening, so on the days I don’t have those late meetings I am on school pick up and dinner duty. 

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

Absolutely. Flexibility was one of my requests when starting at Shines Digital. The team trusts that I’ll get the work done and I’m incredibly grateful for that. 

Of course, with flexibility comes the risk of work bleeding into family life and this is something which I’m extremely conscious of and am trying to get better at setting boundaries. I’m no expert at it, but I find one of the simplest things is to turn off my phone at a certain time to signify that I am now “off”. 

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

I check myself less for “work-life” balance, and instead ask myself if I feel centered and energised. It’s a very personal thing and can change from day to day, week to week. Sometimes, working a lot can feel really great and energising. Other times, it is draining.

I was once on a leadership retreat where the facilitator spoke about getting in tune with my own power bar and being able to recognise when I’m feeling drained of power and knowing which activities I can rely on to recharge and energise.

That barometer really stuck with me and helps me gauge whether I feel centered or not. It can be a fine balancing act and so it’s important to have regular and open discussions with work and home about what we each need that given day or week. 

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

I used to be a real routine person, always looking for the best way to optimise. But since having kids I’ve been forced to relax on all that a lot and accept (sometimes begrudgingly) that it’s the phase we are in.

They are young and so I try to remain flexible as they grow. Now I simply have a list of recharging activities I know I need to feel good and try and fit them in whenever I can. 

One thing which we did during covid was eat dinners together as a family, and that has disappeared as life has returned to more normalcy. I’d like to get back to that – Although our two year old is not a fan of dinner at the moment! 

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

Currently I’m more into podcasts than books. The ones I listen to most regularly are The Knowledge Project, How to Fail, Adam Grant and Armchair Expert. But I listen to many others because if I am interested in someone or a topic in particular I will search for that in my podcast app and listen to any podcast that sounds interesting. 

Most read newsletters are James Clear, Eric Barker, Farham St and Seth Godin.

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

Despite working in digital I am very low-tech. I guess my phone is the most important as it allows me flexibility to be not at my desk.

I rely on music to relax, lift me up or to focus. Brain.fm is amazing for deep work and spotify for everything else.

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

No one specifically, but perhaps people with older children who might have tips on how to survive the stage with young children!

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

Very similar to the power bar analogy, I’m a big believer in the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. So do whatever you need to do to fill it up! 

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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.