Clo is the founder of This Too Shall Grow, a one-person UX studio & coaching practice that offers mindful UX consulting, UX research, and digital wellness coaching.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Sure! I studied digital business and first started working as a web project manager. I fell in love with UX as soon as I discovered it, but thought that because I was in business school and not in design school, it was too late for me to switch fields.
I remember telling myself “I will just work with designers instead of being one”. Pro tip: it’s never too late to switch, and certainly not in your early twenties. I then made the move both towards UX and self-employment.
I founded This Too Shall Grow, where I offer mindful UX consulting, UX research, and digital wellness coaching. I also write articles and a newsletter on these topics. So you could say I went from digital business to digital wellness.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I usually wake up around 7:30, make tea, and put calm music on. At the moment I enjoy this lofi playlist. I love that everything still feels quiet at this hour, so I use a good block of time, from 8 till 10am, to do deep work on one specific project I can really focus on.
Then, I stop working around 10 and head to the gym where I do weight-lifting (and sometimes cardio when I try to be reasonable). When I get back home, I love cooking something healthy & tasty for myself.
I get back to work around 1:30 or 2pm, and the afternoon is usually not for big focused chunks of time like the morning, but instead for various calls and smaller tasks. I try to keep one day per week without any call, it’s almost a rest day for me. I stop working around 6 or 7pm, to have time for non-work activities and to wind-down in the evening.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Being self-employed in my field, I am very flexible and I have the luxury of being able to work entirely remotely. This allows me to organise my days as I want, and gives me a lot of freedom to travel. I’m regularly on semi-holidays, travelling somewhere to see friends and visit, while also working.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work-life balance in the sense of not letting work overwhelm me is essential. Neglecting it only puts me in an unhealthy, unsustainable position. That being said, there are many people with whom I feel I have both a close personal relationship with, and a professional one as well.
We know we can count on each other to evaluate new ideas, share long-term strategies, and simply to co-work together. In that sense, work and recreation are beautifully and fruitfully melded together, which I love.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
One of my favourite recent habits is co-working in pomodoros. In video calls of maximum 4 people, we set a 25-minute timer during which we work on our respective projects, with microphone off but camera on.
In-between pomodoros, we share our progress and help each other out if we can. It brings me back to university days, studying together at the library, exchanging ideas and support during breaks.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
These are the two I read the most regularly.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Yes! I can’t live without good audio devices, headphones and speakers. The Spotify app is essential for me. So are Daylio (to track mood and activities) and Strong (for my workouts).
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Yes: experiment! Try different routines and habits, and see what works best for you. Maybe you’ll find out that 4pm is the ideal moment for you to do deep work, or that you prefer creating your daily to-do list the night before rather than in the morning.
Maybe you’ll discover you prefer using a paper calendar than a digital one. Maybe you’ll find out you enjoy working from a café or library more often than you thought. Be deliberate about trying new ways to live, and see what sticks.
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