Balancing the Grind with Ania Kubiak, Country Manager, ANZ at Lucid

Ania Kubiak is the Country Manager, ANZ at Lucid, a research technology platform that delivers programmatic access to first-party survey data.

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

I began my career in London working as a project manager for a data collection company on the delivery side of the business. However, my passion for sales and new business led me to sales, which has been an area that I’ve enjoyed and thrived in. 

I moved to Sydney 11 years ago and have worked in senior sales and leadership roles in both global and local ANZ companies.

Over the past 15 years, I’ve worked in the online data collection space which has seen many changes including more recently, the development of research technology, or ResTech a term for the software, tools and technology that help brands and agencies target, deliver and analyse their insights.  

I joined Lucid, a research technology provider, as the company’s ANZ Country Manager in 2018.  I was the company’s first ANZ employee at the time. Since then, we have grown to 10 employees and expanded into the Asia Pacific region where we’re continuing to see strong growth in this sector as organisations are looking for quicker and more cost effective ways of implementing market research.

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

I’m a morning person and I love early mornings as I feel there’s so much that I can achieve in my day with an early start. I’m typically up at 5:30am. The time on my alarm hasn’t changed in over 10 years although I rarely need it as I’m usually up before it rings. 

Before lockdown I would start my day with a 6:00am outdoor Ybell Bootcamp class. But with the lockdown currently in place this has been replaced with an online class in my living room. 

Straight after training, I walk my dog to my favourite coffee shop to grab a coffee, check my calendar and plan my day. 

I have an 18-month old toddler, so between 7:30 to 800am is when I drop her off at daycare . As I work with colleagues in other countries, I sometimes need to start my work day early, but generally the time between 5:30 to 7:30am is my ‘me’ time. I look forward to it everyday.

By 9:00am, I’m back home, at my desk and starting work. Most of my day is spent attending internal meetings or talking to clients and prospective clients. I’m also actively in contact with my team using collaborative tools like Slack which to easily work across teams.

Working from home during the pandemic is not always ideal as it can’t replace the experience of meeting someone face to face, whether it’s a new team member, a client or a new contact. 

Building new client relationships and pitching for new business is also not ideal but that is what’s happening currently and we’ve had to pivot to doing this more online. This has become my new normal.

While there are some downsides to remote working, I’ve found that it also has a few benefits — it can facilitate a better work-life balance if you are disciplined.

For this reason I make sure I find the time to switch off work and focus on my family and personal time throughout the day as I sometimes have to balance this with working early and late at times, or even on weekends to ensure that I meet my deadlines.

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

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, our team has been working remotely. Although meeting clients is not possible at the moment, on the whole, remote working has worked really well for us.

Working from home can be more productive with no office environment interruptions around and I’ve been able to stay efficient and motivated by taking small breaks during the course of the day.

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

One thing I’ve noticed is that work-life balance means different things to different people. For me, working from home  has enabled me to find a way to have moments to be productive and also switch off when I need to.

While this means starting  early and finishing late (often dictated by regional and international work timezones), it also allows me to find moments in between for family and personal time which I consciously prioritise.

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

I’m very lucky to be living by the beach in Sydney. Bondi is great and we have lovely coastal walks within minutes of my home. Since the pandemic hit and being in a lockdown, I try to get out for a quick afternoon walk around 3:00pm and take in some nice scenery. 

This has replaced my second afternoon coffee break which I used to leave the office for daily when we weren’t in lockdown. It’s a win-win as I get extra exercise and cut down my caffeine intake. I normally walk with  my dog, partner and daughter which allows me to spend extra time with family.

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

Some podcasts that I recommend include:

  • The Tim Ferriss Show – great thought leader on a broad range of subjects ranging from productivity to tech, health and wellbeing
  • Freakonomics – well rounded points backed up by data
  • The Economist: The Intelligence – interesting global perspectives on what’s going on 

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

I can’t do without my AutoSleep app which is a sleep tracker and Evernote, a cross platform notes software which is great for creating interactive to do lists.  

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

I would be interested to read an interview about work-life balance on Elon Musk as the amount of things he seems to be able to achieve is unbelievable in the time that he has.

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

Having the routine and discipline to get in the things that are important to you in your day such as personal exercise and family time enables you to then properly focus on work. 

I also find that creating lists is incredibly helpful. The significance of including small achievable tasks and the satisfaction of ticking it off when it’s completed gets your momentum and mojo going each day, no matter how minor the task may seem. 

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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.