Work Life Balance

Achieving Work-Life Balance With 17 CEOs, Founders, Directors, Managers & More

June 15, 2019

We’ve been very lucky at Balance the Grind to have had the opportunity to have conversations with a diverse range of people from all over the world, in different roles, across a variety of industries about work, life and balance.

From CEOs to Creative Directors, Marketing Managers to Managing Directors, Performance Coaches to Freelance Consultants, we’ve spoken to a number of successful people who manage and achieve work-life balance in their own ways.

Below is a snapshot of how these busy, hard-working professionals manage to balance out their work and life.

Mylan Vu, Managing Director at Hotwire

“Someone once told me that the average agency to-do list starts off full at the start of the day, and ends up being even longer at the end of the day. We laughed about it at the time, but it’s this exact mentality and level of complacency with excessive workloads that inevitably leads to burnout.

Consequently, I generally treat my calendar as a to-do list. I slot in activities – like strategy decks, team update about X, Y, Z, and content creation – as if they were meetings, and I give them ample time to be completed, factoring in the high likelihood of being disrupted by a client or staff emergency 1-2 times a day.”

Read Mylan’s full interview here.

Mandi Barton, Head of Social at M&C Saatchi Australia

“I have increasingly found the need for stillness in my life. I am constantly multi-tasking, whether it be working on several different projects in a day or reading, watching, listening out of curiosity.

So finding a few hours to have no music, no TV, no books and just let my thoughts settle is really helpful. Preferably while staring out at the ocean in summer but the botanic gardens also works!”

Read Mandi’s full interview here.

Nicola Swankie, Founder & Lead Consultant at Swankie & Partners

“It may seem like you have to skip that yoga class at the time to get that scope of work done, but if that keeps happening you quickly end up burnt out and you are no good to anyone, so it’s critical to keep your cup filled up.

We have set times each week in our calendar for wellness (juggling around business and family) and unless something big gets in the way we are pretty good at sticking to those.”

Read Nicola’s full interview here.

Tom Haynes, Director & Founder of Kudos Media

“We are lucky enough to be based in an office 100m from Manly Beach in Sydney. As a keen surfer, I can grab a wave before work or duck out for a surf at lunch. And I can easily go for a run through the bush trails of North Head.

Exercise is a stress buster, and when things get busy in the business requiring me to work 6 long days a week, even a 30-minute burn completely resets me, as well as helping foster creative ideas and providing perspective on problems.”

Read Tom’s full interview here.

Emma Green, Co-Founder of Your CEO Mentor

“Coming from a marketing agency background I got used to multi-tasking and working on five different projects in a day, but I found myself losing focus and not feeling as though I had ticked anything off my list by end of the day.

I heard about batching about 2 years ago and it has changed my life! At the start of each week, I look at the big tasks and the normal weekly tasks and then block out times to do them.”

Read Emma’s full interview here.

Roger Christie, Founder and Managing Director of Propel Group

“Over the past four years, I’ve found exercise during the day has helped me stay energised, release any tension and provide the ‘circuit breaker’ I need before walking through the door.

At the moment that’s Crossfit, but before that it was touch football and cricket. I’m incredibly fortunate my role (and my wife!) allows me the flexibility to make the time for regular exercise, but I’m also determined to make that time so everyone wins.”

Read Roger’s full interview here.

Adam Boland, Managing Director of Bohdee Media

“My friends and I tend to jump on a train most weekends and get off at random stops and eat at random places. That said, I do have some favourite hangouts, like Newtown and the northern beaches.

Every so often, I hire a car and head out of the city to play with my drone. It’s a hobby that I reckon really does calm your mind because you’re so focused on where you’re flying and what you’re filming.”

Read Adam’s full interview here.

Ishtar Schneider, Account Director (Health) at Edelman London

“I don’t like the term work-life balance, I prefer “work-life sway” because you’re never going to be exactly in balance – there are times when your focus will be more on work and you have to put in the extra time and there’s times when your personal life might have more of your attention – and that’s ok.”

Read Ishtar’s full interview here.

Christopher Magick, Founder of Sustainable Valley

“I put a lot of weight on when I started the business, and my eating habits were terrible. But I have recently given up coffee, sugar, alcohol and bread and am feeling so much better.

I now drink a lot of Tulsi tea and am absolutely loving it. So I feel I am getting back on track with my diet. Fitness wise, my partner and myself share days, so some mornings I go for a run some mornings she will do yoga or a class.”

Read Christopher’s full interview here.

Ron Curry, CEO of Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (iGEA)

“Evening meal time is really important. I have a family of 6 and we try to have dinner at a time when we can have the most amount of us at the table, which could be 2 or all 6.

The rule over dinner is absolutely no screens and this applies to everyone, including guests. What this allows for is deep and engaging conversations, generally a lot of laughs and the opportunity to really appreciate the food.”

Read Ron’s full interview here.

Dan Fonseca, Founder of Dental Tourism Colombia

“I rarely work past 7pm and try my best not to work on the weekends, and if I do, I get it out of the way before noon. Having nights and weekends free to live life and recharge gives me balance.”

Read Dan’s full interview here.

Amanda Terranova, Director of Marketing & Brand at Mirus Australia

“I am finally starting to learn the importance of balance across my physical, spiritual and emotional needs and how the responsibility of balance is entirely my own.

I have incorporated swimming, meditation, walking and hiking into my life and I continue my knowledge and education on nutrition and mindfulness.”

Read Amanda’s full interview here.

Anthony Mitchell, Chief Potential Officer of Bendelta

“I have a habitual morning routine. Every morning, I go out for breakfast at 6am and do the Times cryptic crossword, while the world is still quiet.

Not only is this peaceful and fuels both my mind and body, but the important part is that I never do any work until I have completed the crossword.”

Read Anthony’s full interview here.

Chelsey Blount, Marketing & Communications Manager at Consolidated Properties Group

“I’ve been able to find my balance again by getting back into more of a routine. I go to reformer Pilates 3 mornings a week and on the other days try to get out for a walk.

Most weeknights, I’m in bed by 9pm ready for an early start and that works really well for me. On weekends, I spend time with the three great loves of my life: family, friends and food.”

Read Chelsey’s full interview here.

Adam Wise, Co-Founder & Creative Director at Jack Nimble

“I’m a big believer in leaving work on time. I really respect the 6 o’clock finish, which is pretty rare in the advertising industry. It’s not uncommon for people to regularly work back really late in this industry.

I’ve found that often these people are either staying back because they’re unorganised, they’re drowning in work, or they’re trying to impress their bosses. I believe that the first two reasons are in our control and the last is just plain dumb.”

Read Adam’s full interview here.

Dave Levett, Managing Director of Murmur

“There’s going to be times when you do have to pull late nighters, and work to the early hours, but I try to keep those to a minimum.

My wife and I love going out on the weekend morning and grabbing a brunch, and finding the small moments you have with someone so close to connect can be amazing. Some of Murmur’s best ideas, have come from a conversation we’ve had just tossing ideas around.”

Read Dave’s full interview here.

Min Kumar, Digital Editor-in-Chief at The University of Sydney

“Chasing professional wins feels natural and has been great for my career, but at one point, this left me feeling seriously burnt out.

While balance can be hard to maintain, I’ve found prioritising my volunteer work, social commitments and family time the same way I prioritise my work day has made it easier to transition away from my inbox after hours.”

Read Min’s full interview here.

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