Zach Stubblefield is a Junior Strategist at PREACHER, a full-service creative company based in Austin, Texas, and the founder of the newsletter Power Up Advertising.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m a strategist and the founder of the Power Up Advertising newsletter. The high-level description of my job is that I help brands find interesting problems to solve in unique ways.
Right now, I’m trying to help clients see the big, untapped opportunity for brands to use video games as a communication channel.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I’m an early riser. I usually start my day around 7:30 by misting my gecko’s cage and making a cup of coffee. I spend the first hour browsing a mix of Substack newsletters, reading New York Times articles, and diving down the most exciting Twitter rabbit holes I see.
I try to schedule meetings in a big afternoon or morning chunk, so I can have a good amount of uninterrupted work time each day. A lot of that work involves connecting different threads of culture in meaningful ways. I find those threads through interviews, social listening, and just being curious about why the world works the way it does.
My workload tends to ebb and flow. The cadence seems to be two weeks of heavy workloads with one week of an easier one. The one constant stream of work is my newsletter. I write a draft on Tuesday, revise it on Wednesday, add the finishing touches Thursday night, and send it to my mom for final revisions Friday morning.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
All of my work is remote at the moment. Doing it from my childhood home has been a mixed bag.
We jokingly refer to it as a coworking space where my mother is the CEO, the dog is the intern, my grandpa is HR, my brother is IT, and I’m the CMO. During business hours we operate like a real company. Complete with calendar invites to use amenities like the TV.
It’s been rejuvenating to connect with my family again, but there is a whole mix of emotions I go through when I log off a client call only to be berated about forgetting to take the trash out like I’m in high school again.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
It means making the most of my motivation states. Some days are easier than others, but when I wake up highly motivated I try to tackle the bigger things. When I’m lacking motivation I try to prioritize the easier things that I need to get done.
Finding wins outside of work lets me be in that highly motivated mindset longer. That can be things like running farther than I usually do, beating a difficult level in a video game, or trying out a new recipe.
Finding motivation from more than just work allows me to keep my spirits high even when the client calls aren’t going in the right direction.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I’ve stopped letting my job be my defining personality trait. The biggest mistake I made in the past year was getting a call that my grandma died and still going into work that day without giving myself time to grieve. It was very robotic of me. Hustle is great and all, but it’s more important to stay human.
Being at home again has reminded me that I am so much more than the title on my desk. It’s no coincidence that I’ve been doing my best work since coming back to my roots.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Mort by Terry Pratchet – Ever wonder what interning for Death would be like?
We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor- What does it take for a machine to be human?
The Fifth Season: The Broken Earth by N. K. Jemisin – What if we combined Avatar with racism, motherhood, sexism, and climate change?
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
My Nintendo Switch. It’s the one device that can keep me sane after a long day.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Gordon Ramsay. That man balances filming 5 to 7 prime time TV shows, managing multiple Michelin star restaurants, being a father of five, and a burgeoning Tik Tok career. He’s the definition of a hustler. I’d love to know his secrets.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Sleep on your best ideas. Coming back to them with fresh eyes will always make them better.
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