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Balancing the Grind with Isabelle Dunn, Founder of PreppedFRESH

Isabelle Dunn is the founder of PreppedFRESH, an Australian direct-to-consumer startup offering smarter cooking, with less prep and zero waste.

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

After over 15 years in the corporate world, most recently as a Chief Digital Officer in the marketing industry, I have decided to follow my heart to launch my own business in the food industry. PreppedFRESH is a new direct-to-consumer solution created to offer smarter cooking, with less prep & zero food waste.

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

I am an early riser but paradoxically do not like to set up an alarm. If I naturally wake up early enough, I will go for a longer sunrise coastal walk, or just a quick run If I have less time. I then spend an hour with the kids to get them ready for school.

I usually start my workday around 8.30 or 9 am, feeling energised, positive, and inspired. I map out my day, making sure I start with what I do not want to do, first! I sprint through admin and analytical tasks, with high energy and set a 30 or 60 minute time limit on each task.

After 2 hours or so, I switch to meetings – max 30 mins and back-to-back for 2 hours or. Once I have worked through my must do, typically after a quick lunch, I “lose myself” in the more creative tasks, such as creating content, working through strategy, workshops – really allowing myself to get into the “flow”. That is the part I absolutely LOVE.

Then it is back to family time, dinner with the kids. I am usually in bed by 8 pm and do a bit of “mindless’ photo and video editing while watching a TV show. My brain power is totally gone by then! 

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

My current way of working allows for so much more than just remote or flexible working. It makes the most of my mind, focus, and energy levels throughout the day. I can control my priorities, pace, and workflow to be both productive and fulfilled.

It’s an absolute game-changer for me – especially after working so long in corporate life, constantly chasing my tail, and having to take on tasks and meetings throughout the day. I was able to work remotely through COVID-19 and was “flexible” in terms of working 4 day-weeks, but not able to structure my days in such a fluid, personalised and efficient way.

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

Work-life balance to me means – feeling fulfilled and empowered to focus on what matters most when suits me best, and without guilt or anxiety. 

I must admit that I work a lot, and often at the weekend too, but I do it because I enjoy it and tend to use that time to indulge in the tasks I enjoy the most. Equally, if I want to wrap-up the day early and take the kids to the beach straight after school because it is a beautiful sunny day – I want to be able to do that too, without spoiling the moment by checking emails the whole time. 

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

I have made a few changes to really feel “on top of my game” physically, mentally, and spiritually. The biggest change is that I returned to no alcohol. I do enjoy a glass of red wine, but I feel I sleep so much better and feel energised without it, it’s just not worth it for me.

I also started drinking hot lemon water throughout my morning “sprints”. Good hydration really helps me feel good, think fast, and add pace to my workflow. A cup or so per 30 min task – when the pot is empty, so is my 2h window, and it’s time to change gear.

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

I started listening to audiobooks a couple of years ago, which allowed me to fit more books in my busy routine (when I walk/drive/shop/clean) and allowed me to read over 40 books since picking up this new habit.

My top 5 reads, in terms of both enjoyment and applied learnings are Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, Atomic Habits by James Clear, Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza and Can’t Heart Me by David Goggins.

With regards to podcasts, I never miss an episode from Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman, How I Built This with Guy Raz and Your Dream Life Starts Here By Kristina Karlsson.

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

We use our voice devices a lot at home. For functional tasks – such as weather, news updates, music, recipes, timer – but also fact-checks on history, dates, definitions, etc. Any random questions from the kids, we can instantly get the answer to!

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

I would love to read work-life balance interviews by Ariane Barker, Noga Edelstein, and Danielle Allen. They’re very accomplished and inspirational female business leaders, influencers, and mentors. They might be in high demand – but they’re very intentional, well balanced, and still very generous with their time. They’re amazing role models.

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

True work-life balance, and what it looks like day to day, is unique to everyone and changes over time. Find your purpose, be in tune with your peaks and troughs, and refine as you go. 

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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.