Designers / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Sam Perryman, UX, UI & Product Designer

Sam Perryman is a UX, UI and Product Designer, currently working as a UX/UI Designer Consultant at Hypothesis, a digital company focused on designing, delivering and entrenching human-centric technology solutions and agile environments.

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

So my career actually started in construction as a project manager. Initially on construction sites as a labourer and then worked my way to be managing projects which were a lot of fun, but never really felt like it suited me.

I did that for about 6 years before I figured out what I could actually do next. A friend of mine introduced me to UX and sent me home with his mini mac because it had Sketch on it. I was managing construction projects during the day and teach myself to design at night. After 4 months of that, I quit my job and threw myself into UX.

That was about 18 months ago and I’m loving it. Honestly felt like the walls of a box fell when I moved and I’ve never been more motivated and passionate. There just an endless amount of opportunity and it’s awesome!

I work as a freelance UX/UI designer and work for a consultancy called Hypothesis as a UX/UI designer during the day.

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

I’m a morning person so I’m usually up by about 5:30 am and will make my way to CrossFit (yes, I do CrossFit).

I prefer to go first thing in the morning because it sets me up well for the day and I feel like I’ve already accomplished something before I get to work. Then I jump back home and get out of the door as quickly as I can.

I usually try to grab a coffee on the way into the office and spend a few minutes just sitting with the coffee and being still or reading for a bit. I love when there’s not many in the office and it’s quiet. I’ll try work on some client work or if I have nothing on I’ll try learn something – right now I’m learning to code.

As the team filter in I’ll switch over to work for Hypothesis. Every day is a little different. Sometimes it’ll be travelling as our client is interstate, sometimes running workshops with our stakeholders, though at the moment it’s a lot of UI work and user testing because we’re in delivery at the moment.

Post work unless I’ve got client work, I’ll try relax and defrag from the day do some cooking and meal prep for the next day. But there’s also a lot of Netflix.

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

Yeah definitely. It’s such a change from construction. I always felt like if I wasn’t in the office by 7:30 am it was like a subconscious “you’re late.”

So now having that freedom just means I’m not worried about when I’m in and where I’m working from. Generally, I actually prefer to be in the office because I like being around people and it can be helpful to just grab someone to chat through stuff.

However, sometimes it just makes more sense to be working from home so it’s super helpful just to be able to jump on Slack and be like “WFH – see ya at standup.”

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

I write everything down. Apparently even as a child, I was very task orientated in that whatever my tasks were I’d immediately grab a piece of paper and make a list. So now I have notebooks everywhere and they all have Hitlists.

They’re all categorised into the area of my life they relate to and for me, that works. I’m happy to admit that I should probably investigate leveraging technology more to manage my workload.

However, I also really enjoy writing my plan for the day, being able to glance quickly at my open notebook and then tick things off as I go. Anything that I didn’t get to for the day will probably go on the list for the following day.

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

I’ll be honest, this is something I’m still learning. I can very easily get caught up in wanting to push myself and just go go go. I’m not always great at switching off. For me, it’s the freedom to rest.

Knowing that I can clock off a little early or come in a little late if I need to do something or have been putting in the work for a little while. Just gives me that confidence to say “hey, It might be a good idea just to take this evening a little easy so you’re sweet for the next little while.”

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

In conjunction with getting up early, I LOVE coffee. I really look forward to going for coffee by myself sometimes. I’ll take a notebook, something to listen to and often just sit, think and write.

Sometimes about how I’m feeling or what’s been happening in my life. Other times aspirations for who I want to be or what I want to do both personally and professionally. It’s constantly evolving and helps to keep me in check.

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

Yeah heaps. I go through periods where I do a lot of reading and others where I do little to nothing. Though these are the ones which have been most influential.

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding With People by Vanessa Van Edwards

Now this book is awesome! Vanessa is a really fun writer and she’s got heaps of really practical tips on how to have successful interactions with people. This has helped me to understand and relate to people better, network better, work with people better and just be a more captivating person.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C Maxwell

I’m a bit of a leadership nerd. It’s an area I really enjoy reading and learning about so this was a really great book for that. Full of awesome lessons and tips on how to better lead people.

The Richest Man In Babylon by George Samuel Clason

Probably one of the best books I’ve read on money management (however I really haven’t read that many…). I love a book with a good story and a message and this both.

The One Minute Manager Series by Ken Blanchard

This one was recommended by my Dad and probably one of the first books I read. Again, great storytelling, really short, really easy tips to follow and each book in the series comes from a different angle so it was great.

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

Probably getting up early and getting to the gym which I’m generally pretty good at. If the rest of the day is horrible, at least my morning was a win.

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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.