Jessica Kinny is the Solicitor Director at Kinny Legal, one of the Australia’s top law firms in aged care and health law.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I own a boutique law firm, Kinny Legal. I started the firm about 6 years ago, and I’m proud to say we quickly became recognised as one of Australia’s leading law firms for aged care and health organisations.
In this role, I perform all the usual duties of a sole director and secretary of a professional services company. I provide legal services to our clients, working with a small team who I manage. And I’m responsible for bringing the clients in so most days involve some business development and broader strategy execution.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I work from home most days. On those days I spend the first 15 minutes reading – usually business or finance related, sometimes fiction. I’ll briefly check my emails and add any personal or work tasks that come to mind to my to-do list. I then ruthlessly hack at that list using the 4 Ds of Time Management technique, so I don’t waste time on things that aren’t truly important.
For those that aren’t familiar with the technique, it’s a game changer and dovetails nicely with the 80/20 Pareto Principle. I take each task and decide if it fits in the Drop, Delay, Delegate, or Do category.
Drop tasks are tasks that aren’t actually important, so I cross them out straight away.
Delay tasks are important tasks that don’t have to be done right now, so I worry about them later.
Delegate tasks are tasks that someone else can (and therefore should) do, so I delegate them to the right people.
Do tasks are the important tasks that do need to get done today, and I’m the one who needs to do them. Those are the only tasks that get my attention.
The rest of the day is spent doing those tasks, spending at least an hour exercising a day (outside, if the weather permits), and connecting with people I care about. I don’t have specific start/end times because I’m fortunate to have total control over my work day and a truly flexible work routine.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Absolutely! I spend most days working from home, and work from the office or other locations when I have meetings, want to socialise with colleagues and friends nearby, or just feel like a change.
The team all works remotely using cloud computing software and communicating by telephone and MS Teams. Most of our legal services can be provided remotely, so there really is no need to work from the office most of the time.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
For me, work-life balance is about being very clear on what your values are and what’s important to you personally and professionally, and spending your time and energy in a way that is consistent with those values and goals.
It is about living your life in a way that supports your physical and mental health and wellbeing, as well as your financial wellbeing. A bad work-life balance happens when you spend your day living a life you don’t actually want which isn’t bringing you closer to what you want.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I try to keep a low (frivolous) information diet. It’s a constant struggle! Social media and most web content (including news) is like junk food for the brain – it’s addictive, it feels good at the time, but it mostly makes you feel worse later on.
So much content is designed to provoke an emotional reaction, like click-bait articles and comment sections. I find it distracting and emotionally draining, if not outright depressing.
Deleting apps on my mobile, leaving my mobile in another room, and time-limit plug-ins have all helped. I find I definitely feel happier and have more energy to spend on more productive and enjoyable things.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
For efficiency and out-of-box thinking, Atomic Habits by James Clear and The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. James Clear releases an absolutely excellent weekly newsletter. It’s free and delivers top quality insights with the lowest possible word count. It’s the only newsletter I read every week. For a quirky fun podcast narrative to listen to on your evening walks, The Amelia Project podcast.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I love my Apple Watch. I have a cellular model so I can leave my mobile at home as much as possible while still being able to text, make calls and listen to music and podcasts. I find it easier to switch off when I don’t have the full functionality of a mobile at my fingertips.
The Activity rings also keep me honest about whether I’m actually achieving a good work-life balance or just kidding myself – running a law firm is high pressure and something I’m passionate about, so it’s easy to under-estimate how much time I’ve spent at a computer.
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?
If you have spent too many days living a life that doesn’t make you happy, you need to understand the real reason you’re unhappy and be willing to do something about it.
I think a lot of unhappiness in work, life or work-life balance comes from either being in “survival” mode for so long you’ve lost touch with what’s actually important to you or not living the life you authentically want to live.
For anyone that is stuck, I highly recommend trying Tim Ferriss’s fear setting technique which you can find in the 4 Hour Work Week or by doing a quick Google search. It’s a great way of pushing past fear to make the big changes that are necessary to live a better life.
It helps you realise that most things are work-out-able, most mistakes can be fixed, and even if you completely fail the worst case scenario is often no worse than the current situation you are trying to escape, so you might as well try.
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