Designers / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Aaron Aalto, UX Designer at Industrious

Aaron Aalto is a lifelong artist and is currently working as a UX Designer at Industrious, the largest premium flexible workspace provider in the US.

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

I’ve been drawing all my life. I studied Industrial Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I interned in Copenhagen for 8 months working on products such as the Beoplay E8 Wireless Headphones.

From there, I had a few odd jobs after my internship and transitioned to digital product design. I’m now a UX Designer at Industrious.

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

My mornings start with a design-stand up where I share updates with my team. The rest of my day consists of meeting with members of my team to improve our member portal, the system that lets our customers book reservations for co-working spaces.

I have to work cross functionally and understand what they care about as well as what is best for our customer then translate that into accessible design. In the evenings, I sketch for fun. And now I’m taking care of a new puppy!

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

Yes, I am currently working remotely. It’s allowed me to save time because I don’t have to commute anymore. It gives me peace and quiet. Plus, it’s given me the flexibility I need to get a puppy.

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

To me, I see work-life balance as taking breaks and making time for yourself. That being said, I think about my work all the time. I try to learn as much as I can and have a lot of ideas, but I don’t see it as work.

I see it as my opportunity to make something out of my life and help someone in some way, even if they don’t notice. I make time for myself by sketching in the evenings, reading, doing yoga, sitting still, and going on walks to the supermarket. One of my goals this year is to take more aimless walks.

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

I stopped caring about wanting to impress others. Instead, I want to do things for the right reason.

One way that I’ve done this is by taking a step back from social media to recalibrate my focus. I’ve also been writing more about the ordinary moments in my life. Was it a great day? Was it cold? Did something extraordinary happen?

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

East of Eden. The Book of Disquiet. The Art of Thought. These books have all shaped me.

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

The Things app, iPad, Apple Pencil, and Procreate.

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

Bob Dylan, Picasso, or John Lennon.

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

Don’t forget to have fun.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.