Work Life Balance

A Day in the Life of 14 CEOs, Founders, Directors & Managers

June 24, 2019

Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a CEO of a healthcare app looks like?

How about what it’s like managing the marketing for three recruitment brands?

What about being the Founder of a co-working space in Byron Bay?

Balance the Grind has had the pleasure of interviewing a wide range of people, from CEOs, founders, directors to managers and more about how they balance the grind.

Below are 14 examples of a day in the life of high performing individuals.

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A day in the life of Carolyn Hyams, Marketing Director of Firebrand, Aquent and Vitamin T

I work from 8.45am to 4pm from Mondays to Fridays as I am a mum and I need to leave early in order to pick up my daughter and take her to various after school activities.

After going through my emails, flagging the important stuff and writing a list of tasks for the day, the first thing I do is to check through any online notifications on all our brand social platforms and well as my own social accounts and respond to any comments.

Then I’ll allocate any leads that have come in overnight to our teams in Sydney and Melbourne.

After this, I’ll check the marketing schedule to see what emails and blog posts are being published that day so that I can support or promote them online.

I’ll check the results of any Facebook ads, including looking at the conversion rate in case I need to make any tweaks to the ads.

If we have any events to organise (which is often), I’ll check in with my colleague Anneke to see if we’re on track and offer support where necessary.

I’ll add more content (owned and curated) to our employee advocacy platform Bambu so that our teams have valuable and relevant content that they can share with their connections.

I’ll also schedule some content (curated and owned) on our various social channels.

We’re currently surveying professionals on about future transformation of the digital workforce which we’ll be turning into a printed report that we can deliver to our clients. This will help them with their hiring strategy for their future workforce.

So I’ll check in on survey numbers, promote it on various channels and also look at the planning schedule to see what needs to be implemented next.

Later on I may write some email copy, research some subject lines and look at some analytics on how previous, similar campaigns have performed.

And I’ll spend some time updating the copy on our three websites which reflect the “brand on the outside” work we’ve collectively done to better define who we are, what we do, how we do it, and importantly why we do it (our purpose).

Every day is different and there’s a lot of variety in my role. What’s really important is that I really put my head down and focus whilst I’m at work because my hours are shorter than most and I like to be really productive.

Read more about how Carolyn balances the grind.

A day in the life of Laura Robbie, General Manager (Australia/NZ) of Lightspeed Research

I have a 2 year old at home and so the day starts early. I get up at 5am to start the day and my daughter follows about 6am. We have breakfast and read a book before daycare drop off at 7am.

I am lucky to drive to work and I have the ability to work flexibly, so I start in the office before 8am and finish at 4.30pm to get home for play, bath and bedtime. The day is typically spent in Sydney city, with client meetings close to the office or North of the city.

As the week is so busy and time to sleep is limited, we power through Monday to Friday and then collapse into bed exhausted at 8pm on a Friday night.

Read more about how Laura balances the grind.

A day in the life of Vlado Bosanac, CEO & Founder of MyFiziq

I normally rise around 5.30am depending on which part of the world I am in. I like to first deal with any emails and communications that need immediate attention.

I am a little fussy with my suits and shirts so I always re-press my own clothes from the cleaners (OCD I know!). I’m a firm believer in having all of my dominos in a straight line, white shirt starched and a crisp, pressed suit, crease free, and shoes polished every time you wear them.

I apply the same discipline to my work environment and surroundings. I like to be in the office by 7am.

I think it is important to set a good example for my staff whom are a big part of our success to say the least.

I engage with every staff member every morning when I walk around the office as they are all important. I want them to feel I am part of the team with them.

The rest of the day will be a mix of interactions between me and my key management on the outcomes they are driving, as well as understanding where I can be part of the solution.

I don’t micromanage as my team are very capable and I give them ownership of their deliverables.

Then onto the follow up: we currently have over 200 companies engaged with our company on multiple fronts and keeping everything moving and current is in itself a complex part of each day.

There is a very fine line between keeping people engaged and annoying them. This is a skill in itself! Most days I would leave the office around 6-6.30pm subject to doing my duties as a father and keeping a work life-balance.

Read more about how Vlado balances the grind.

A day in the life of Wendy Zhang, Brand & Marketing Manager at Relationships Australia NSW

A typical work day would start with a cup of fresh aromatic mocha – I cannot function without my morning coffee!

On this particularly work day I arrived at the office early in the morning, and did some website reports when my mind was still fresh.

I then responded to my emails before stepping into a meeting with our team to plan for a launch campaign for a new service program.

After that, I headed to our digital agency headquarter in North Sydney, to meet with them and talk about our current campaigns – statistics, feedback and actions for the next month.

After lunch, I drafted a powerpoint presentation for a managers’ meeting coming up and looked at trends and updates on Google analytics.

We then had an afternoon tea to celebrate Harmony Day, where a lot of staff members brought in and shared food from their own cultures and it was always amazing to chat and bond over food!

After work, I would listen to my favourite Spotify soundtracks on my train ride home – currently playing the new Aladdin movie sound track.

Read more about how Wendy balances the grind.

A day in the life of JoJo Swords, Global Content Lead – Demand Marketing at ThoughtWorks

Step one is always a cup of tea in bed, looking out at the ocean.

A global role is not a 9-5 one, especially in an Australian timezone.

I wake up for a 6.30/7am call with my colleague in the US, so that we can talk through our to-do list, make plans and update each other on any conversations that we might have had since our last discussion.

My day will be full of conversations with stakeholders, connecting with other marketers, creating content, and social media campaigns.

If I know that I have late calls in the evening, I will take a break in the day, and meet friends for coffee, or a walk along the beach.

Read more about how JoJo balances the grind.

A day in the life of Alex Cook, Digital Programs Director at Commune Digital

5:44 – My 18 month old son yells at me from down the hallway, he’s awake but not quite ready to tackle his day yet as he normally gets up at 06:30.

We talk about life and how his sleep was, we contemplate life’s big questions like ‘does that block fit under the door’? This is our time with him before we face the real world.

6:35 – email time, but quickly. I get a grip on my day ahead, with numerous timezones I work across I cannot be at the helm all the time – but a quick email session lets me get on top of quick wins and readjust my load.

This is usually done with a long black and managing a starving child between my wife and I.

7:30-8:15 – office, luckily a 20min bus ride down the North Shore. I’m a list guy, on paper (yes, paper – yes, I work in digital). The day is planned and we’re away. Coffee number two, long black.

9:00 – client WIP. On track.

9:30 – task brief time, at least a 5 month build.

10:00 – welcome the work placement fella, top kid.

11:00 – business-wide WIP. Always a good alignment session.

12:14 – lunch, and it couldn’t come sooner. I’ve been on the intermittent fasting scheme, it’s working for me so no complaints – apart from missing bacon and eggs in the morning.

12:55 – admin time, heavy document writing and managing an array of unplanned calls. I’m on top of it.

15:30 – digital WIP. Lot’s of jargon, abbreviations and architecting. It’s always productive and calms the anxiety for the week ahead, Dan is a weapon.

17:20 – back up the North Shore on the bus, laptop with me and a few emails on the bus – but no calls. No one wants to hear that.

17:40 – home, hugs, feeding time, bath and send the little guy on his way. This is important time. I’m usually online as needed after here, because timezones.

Read more about how Alex balances the grind.

A day in the life of Jimmy Hyett, Managing Director & Founder at This Is Flow

A typical day is:

4am wake up from the little man rolling into our room and climbing onto the bed, followed by us taking him back to his room and then playing this game for the next 2 hours.

After that it’s up to get him set for the day, breakfast and taking him to day care. As soon as this is done, then its emails to set the day and then drive into the office.

The day is filled with clients, emails, meetings and work before escaping the office around 4pm. A quick gym session follows to then race home by 6pm to tuck the little man in.

Dinner with the partner (we have been making Hello Fresh meals to save time and find variety – highly recommended). Then after dinner its logging on again until around midnight to tick off the rest of the to do list.

Read more about how Jimmy balances the grind.

A day in the life of Nancy McDonald, Founder & Lead Consultant at NMD PR

A typical day is a morning coffee at Salina’s coffee in Bronte Beach, Sydney followed by a Pilates session at The Well before heading into the office on 33 Hall Street, Bondi Beach with the crazy talented team at 33 Bondi and Bondi Advertising.

At least three times a week I’ll be pitching an exclusive story for one of my client’s, most recently it was for Australia’s fastest growing Ag-tech business DIT Technologies from Toowoomba who have just partnered with Australia’s largest export business Wellards with its doser machines and technology.

Then it will be creating a PR strategy for a client working out which media titles will be most relevant for their announcement.

At least everyday, I’m touching base with the Equitise team about the various client’s they’re working with as they’re constantly busy and launching new campaigns all the time.

Read more about how Nancy balances the grind.

A day in the life of Emma Green, Co-Founder of Your CEO Mentor

I wake up at 5:30am and get an hour to myself before everyone wakes up! I use this time to exercise, plan the day and walk my dog.

Then when my stepdaughters get up it’s making breakfast, lunches and doing school drop off before I get back to my office at around 9am. From there, I do a quick catch up with Marty (we live in different states) and we talk through the daily and weekly deliverables.

The rest of the day could be anything:

  • editing a podcast
  • organising Marty’s keynote speaking logistics
  • working with our Leadership Beyond the Theory students
  • writing marketing comms
  • designing proposals
  • editing videos
  • pitching and interviews with media
  • posting and talking with our community on social media
  • going to client meetings and development sessions

No two days are the same, but I like it that way!

Read more about how Emma balances the grind.

A day in the life of Tom Haynes, Director & Founder of Kudos Media

5:30am wake up, stumble to the coffee machine. Bless my girlfriend for already turning it on so caffeine arrives more quickly. Let in the dog who does her best to interrupt a quick 20 minute stretching session.

Head out the door at 6am and in the water for a sunrise surf. Dry by 7:30 and make the short commute to the office. At my desk for 8.

Check emails, and respond to anything urgent, flag anything else important. Check various ad performance for clients and for KM. Note any suggestions for the team to consider.

Review HubSpot tasks and Asana project timelines and ensure I have a clear picture of what needs to be achieved for the day. Have a WIP with the team, including client projects scope, tasks and priorities.

Respond to flagged important emails and make any associated calls. Check through and edit projects with team. Understand and discuss their methodology to help refine and crystallise the “why”, which also enables better client communications.

Client WIP – discussing campaign progress, KPIs and the future roadmap in reference to their strategy. Head for a lunchtime run around North Head followed by a quick lunch.

Work on the “content outreach” section of a new client strategy. Check in with HubSpot and follow up on any inbound leads, including running complimentary website audits which we use as a lead nurture tool.

Price up a new client proposal and work with Manuel, our graphic designer on its design. Stay at the office until all important outstanding emails are addressed and work delivered.

Head home and cook up a meal with my girlfriend. Take the dog for a burn and wear her out. Then if it’s not too late we will sit down to watch a movie or something on Netflix and invariably fall asleep before the opening credits finish.

Read more about how Tom balances the grind.

A day in the life of Nicola Swankie, Founder & Lead Consultant at Swankie & Partners

As I juggle a couple of businesses, a 2.5 year old, 2 big dogs and living regionally days can all look quite different! However, they are ALL well planned.

If I am here in the Sunny Coast I will squeeze in some exercise early with an outdoor trainer by the ocean because I thrive on being out near the coastline. I find it sets me up for the day if I get that time for my soul to “wag its tail”!

I usually do drop off at daycare and then work at our co-working space where I stay in touch with my clients and team through a combination of phone, Basecamp, GMeet video calls, GDrive and Zoom.

We have a vibrant and buzzy community in our space, which is filled with parents of young children, most of which have moved from Sydney or Melbourne recently all trying to live regionally and work flexibly around families.

If I am travelling, I usually head to Sydney on the 6.30am flight, get all my meetings and workshops in and jump on the 5.30 flight back, which means I can usually be home before my little boy goes to sleep. I love how easy and fast it is to move through our regional airport. I can be home in 15 minutes of landing.

Read more about how Nicola balances the grind.

A day in the life of Adam Wise, Co-Founder & Creative Director at Jack Nimble

For me, no two days are the same. One day I could be writing a script in my pyjamas at home, the next I could be on set directing a shoot or in the office coming up with ideas with the team (both in appropriate work attire, of course).

But let me take you through a recent day. I woke up at 8:30am (I like my sleep) and immediately worked on finalising a creative deck we were presenting to our client Gumtree later that morning.

Most of the work was already done the day before, but I like sleeping on ideas so that I can view them with fresh eyes the next day.

Once the deck was in a good place, I sent it over to my creative partner via Slack to get his final thoughts and feedback. At 11am, I travelled to Gumtree’s office in the city and presented our ideas to the client, which were very well received!

We had a little celebratory lunch in the city and then choofed off back to the office for a 1pm Google Hangout with a new client of ours, ClassPass.

We chatted through how we’re progressing with the social content we’re creating for them and any updates we need to be aware of from the client’s perspective for the week ahead.

Once that call was over, I jumped straight into writing up a few content ideas that came to mind during the call whilst they were still fresh. By 3pm, it was time to reply to a few emails I’d been flagging intermittently throughout the day.

I try to dedicate set time to replying to emails in batches (unless they’re urgent) so that I don’t get distracted from the tasks at hand by constantly checking and replying. Once I’d fired off a few emails, I went for a walk around the block to clear my head and get some fresh air.

Then I spent the rest of the day sitting down with the team and going through some edits our content producer had been working on from an eBay shoot we did earlier that week.

Read more about how Adam balances the grind.

A day in the life of Amanda Terranova, Director of Marketing & Brand at Mirus Australia

Every workday starts with coffee. This is non-negotiable.

I ensure that my team has all arrived safely and everyone is smiling! I check my priority list for the day and a quick glance at emails to ensure meetings have not changed for the day or if any communication has arrived overnight from our European team.

We have standard meetings throughout the working week and month based around our operational goals and our client’s needs.

My day-to-day activities primarily consist of ensuring my direct team and indirect have what they need to deliver our products and services, check to see if or when they need help on a project and to answer any questions they may have.

My dominant leadership style is based on a Transformational style, that is, understand and support the co-founder’s strategy and creating an environment where people can do their best work.

My day is indispersed with client and internal meetings, phone calls and engaging with my online community across many channels.

I also like to walk, stretch and purchase coffee and hydrate with water.

Read more about how Amanda balances the grind.

A day in the life of Christopher Magick, Founder of Sustainable Valley

Today, I woke up at 5.30 am, played with my son, made breakfast granola with goats milk, and was on my way into the office by 7.30am.

I arrived at the coworking space and wrote out my goals and things that I needed to do in my notebook. I then had a meeting with my team to chat about what we have on for the week and how everything is tracking from last week.

By 9am I have usually caught up on any emails that I need to send from the day/evening before.

I then often spend an hour on just wandering on the internet, letting myself be led by curiosity or a topic I have been researching or trying to find more information about.

Today I read an article about Russia developing sci-fi like laser guns so I went on a 30minute search trying to find footage or photos of them being tested.

I often have at least one client meeting in the morning, today it was with a new bathroom hygiene brand.

I am in the middle of developing a campaign for the launch of a product, so we went over the concepts and discussed the details of a photoshoot that we have booked to do at Sustainable Valley later this week.

Lunch break: fish curry.

Sustainable Valley has daily meditation today Emily Toner was taking the class, so from 2pm-2.30pm I did a meditation.

Now I am answering this questionnaire for Balance the Grind which I promised to do last week.

Then I have to work on an animation project that needs the storyline adjusted after the regulations department came back and asked us to change some of the messaging.

Then I will be working on Sustainable Valley from approx. 4-5pm, currently I need to plan out our incubator activities for the next 12 months.

I will head off around 5pm, play with my son for an hour, help with dinner then hang out with my partner. Watch Game of Thrones then be in bed by 9.30pm.

Read more about how Christopher balances the grind.

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