Designers / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Joanna Grygierczyk, Senior UX & UI Designer

Joanna Grygierczyk is a Senior UX & UI Designer at Bilue, a mobile and emerging technology company, based in Sydney and Melbourne.

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

Like a lot of people in my generation, my career took a few twists and turns before actually landing at where I am now.

After graduating from Design in Visual Communication at UTS with first class honours in 2011, I landed my first role as a designer at a consultancy, freelancing for 3 days a week before it turned into a full time role.

This fulfilled me for the first two years of graduating but started getting itchy feet and felt the need to be part of a bigger creative team, and moved onto freelancing at various design studios conceptualising and innovating new solutions for various brands.

With the growth of tech, I realised the need to focus on designing in the digital space and fell in love with the endless opportunities and growth that technology provides.

This led me to working on various websites and apps for both large and small businesses across multiple platforms.

Now I’m happily working at Bilue – a mobile and emerging tech company that focuses on the design and build of native mobile apps for both consumer applications (eg banking, insurance, media) as well as enterprise applications (mobilising business processes on enterprise applications like SAP and Salesforce).

Using technology helps drive new ideas and build visionary digital products that enable users to create more meaningful experiences.

2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?

My current role at Bilue is as Senior Product Designer. As a product designer my role is split between User Experience (UX) and User interface Design (UI). A project is usually run in a two week sprint cycle where you have set tasks to complete.

No two days are the same. Some days I’ll find myself wireframing, recruiting users for testing and on the street asking customers for insights, creating design systems and transposing that into visual design or prototyping interactions.

The work is always produced within a team and we bounce ideas when ever we feel blocked. We have talented developers who are always helping to push the boundaries in technology which makes the role so exciting and cutting edge.

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

A typical day for me starts at 5.45am when I wake to the alarm signalling time roll out of bed and into the gym. I rarely miss a day as I find it gives me energy and a positive start.

I follow up with a nourishing Instagramable green smoothie. Once at work I’ll have a look at any outstanding task I might have on Jira and prioritise what I need to focus on for the day.

11am is our daily stand-up and we go through updates from the day before and discus any blockers which might sometimes change priorities, but that’s the beauty of an agile workflow. It keeps things interesting.

Throughout the day I’ll collaborate with the art director, fellow user experience designers, developers and with the stakeholders whether it be workshops, or just a tap on the shoulder to ask for someone else’s thoughts.

On Fridays we have breakfast provided alongside a showcase where a team member will share knowledge on a project – this can be insightful and helpful in learning ways others approach and resolve problems.

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4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

I generally use my calendar to schedule a time for everything I want to achieve. I’ll try to make it manageable and don’t back myself up from one meeting to the next and leave time to have a break and get fresh air before continuing on with the day.

Fostering good relationships and trust with clients I find is also important in helping manage workflow. If they need something urgently I’ll try to be flexible and make space in my schedule to discuss the requirements and re-prioritise work if we need to.

5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?

I find a routine really helps me stay on top of my life. From gym in the mornings, through to Salsa classes twice a week in the evenings.

I’ve also learnt that no work after hours is important for my body, mind and life. Weekends I stay away from the laptop to allow space for inspiration and time with my partner as the weekdays for him are always quite intense.

6) What does work life balance mean to you?

As a product designer it’s hard not to live and breathe the work we do on a day to day basis. We’re surrounded by technology and apps and it can be hard to switch off.

So that’s why work life balance means having time away from devices and doing activities like my salsa dancing, catching up with friends and going for hikes to just chill and take in the world’s beauty outside and not within a digital interface.

7) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

As mentioned before, having a regular gym routine helps give me adrenaline for the day. Saying ‘no’ to things and not trying to please everyone is also important for one’s sanity!

8) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

I felt inspired by Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying.

Being a creative I have innate nature to horde things for “future inspiration” but I realised that the clutter ultimately was hindering my space for new ideas.

The more we throw out old things and make space (not for new things- this defeats the purpose) but for space to breathe. So keep things minimal!

9) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Sleep, exercise and nourishment – the trinity for optimal creativity and productivity.

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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.