Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Christine Nguyen, Co-Founder & Head of Product at ReciMe

Christine Nguyen is the Co-Founder & Head of Product at ReciMe, a free social cooking app for anyone to share and save recipes.

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

I am one of the co-founders and Product Lead at ReciMe – a startup on a mission to democratise the cooking industry and to build the largest cooking community in the world.

We launched ReciMe in Nov 2021 and the community has now grown to 12k+ users, spread across over 100 countries. Previously, I worked as a management consultant at BCG; and before that I did a short stint in investment banking.

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

My day typically starts with a morning walk with my dog Luna. I’m a big advocate of hybrid working, and I typically work from home Mon-Thurs and co-locate with my co-founders on Fridays.

At 8:30am, I have my first meeting which is a brief check-in with my co-founders. We use the time to discuss our priorities for the day, as well as any help we might need from the rest of the team.

After that, my daily schedule really varies depending on what’s going on with the business.
Some days I will spend hours in and out of meetings with users, team members or advisors – other days are dedicated to the product backlog, where I might spend hours in Figma, JIRA, Trello etc. More recently, I have been spending my days pitching to angel investors for our pre-seed raise.

In the evenings, I make sure to put time aside to cook and enjoy a meal with my family. Sometimes I might have meetings later at night after dinner (particularly as our software engineers like to work late!), but otherwise I try to finish work by 9pm so I can spend my last waking hour reading a book or watching a TV show.

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

In our early days, our team wasn’t so great at work-life balance, but we definitely figured it out over time.

What that means (at least for me) is scheduling time away from my laptop to do things I love – and actually being held accountable to it. For me, a balanced life involves spending quality time with friends and family, cooking, reading, and watching TV.

To ensure we actually stick to this, we have rules that prevent us from scheduling meetings past a certain time on weeknights, or at any time on the weekends. We also have a slack channel where we all list out our commitments at the beginning of the week (e.g. date nights, exercise, time off etc.) so we can collectively ensure everyone can achieve their goals.

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

Things I’ve started doing:

Spending 10 mins every morning to write out my daily to-do list with pen and paper (physically crossing off a to-do item is way more satisfying than moving a trello card!)

Going for a walk in the mornings to clear my head

Making sure to schedule in ‘hang out’ time with the team that doesn’t involve just talking about ReciMe – whether it’s a walk to get a coffee, or showing up to Friday night drinks, this really helps to remind me why we started ReciMe in the first place – to solve a very real problem for cooks around the world and to build an awesome product with people I love

Things I’ve stopped doing:

Spending my free time listening to / watching / reading about startups. As inspiring as founder stories are, I found that by consuming this type of content, I would start to feel stressed that my ‘hustle’ or my daily schedule wasn’t ‘enough’ – which is a really dangerous mentality to have!

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

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson – guaranteed to put into perspective just how random and coincidental our entire existence is.

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

Honestly? No one’s. It might be interesting to read about, but I’ve learned the hard way that ‘copying’ someone else’s idea of a good routine will never work.

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

As long as you’re honest with yourself about what truly makes you happy, you’ll find your balance!

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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.