Balancing the Grind with Kiranpreet Kaur, Head of Client & Strategic Services at Archibald Williams

Kiranpreet Kaur is the Head of Client & Strategic Services at Sydney independent agency Archibald Williams.

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

I’ve been a dedicated agency-er so far, from my first internship in DDB in Canada to my current role as Head of Client & Strategic Services at Archibald Williams.

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

I live in a household of early risers, including my husband and our 2 year old. Around 6:30, once I’ve got the little one going on some activity of his and some cha (not chai, because I’m Punjabi) in hand for myself, I’ll check my emails to see if there’s anything I want to get ahead of me for the day.

Before I “officially” start for the day, I’ll get my son ready for day care and hand him over to his dad for the drop-off.

Then, realistically, the day is a mix of zoom calls, writing emails, working on proposals or strategies, and putting out fires (the non “hero” types that don’t require any physical fitness).

Recently, I started a new rule at the agency of no meetings more than 45 minutes, and no scheduling back-to-backs. This has meant that I have breaks to fill with all the fun stuff like toilet breaks, refilling my water bottle (after constantly feeling guilty for not drinking enough but then considering not drinking any so I don’t need the aforementioned toilet breaks), bothering my husband while he’s working for a little chat, or when the break’s longer, taking one of the dogs for a quick walk.

On most days, I’ll clock off at 5:20, and my husband and/or I will go and grab our son from daycare. Then, it’s an evening of fun (or tantrums) with the little one, and sometimes our dogs, until the little one is off to bed.

I’ll jump on once before bed to check emails once again and reply to whatever is absolutely necessary only. I’ll also have a quick look at my calendar for the next day so I am mentally aware of what the day ahead is like.

When we’re not in lockdown, I spend 3 days a week in the office, so add in the commute back and forth on Sydney’s incredibly-reliable public transit system, where I’ll likely work on my laptop for a majority on the way there, filling my team’s inboxes with my ramblings before they even see me for the day. They love it. I promise.

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

As I said, I’m only in the office 3 days a week. As someone who doesn’t live close to the office, this gives me back a great deal of commute time.

Working from home or the flexibility around start/end times and days really just means I have some extra time to either do that extra load of laundry, hang out with my family a little bit longer or do the daycare drop-off/pick up when possible.

Essentially, it’s an immense help for me in not losing control over my personal life and my sanity.

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

I naively decided to raise 2 (very large) puppies at the same time, both of which cannot be walked together without pulling my arm out of its socket. So, I eventually learned that I had to start walking them individually, which has obviously affected my routine.

I’ve also gotten on the smartwatch bandwagon, mostly because the start of lockdown became dangerously immobile.

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

I recommend the Disney Cars series and Minions the Movie, especially if you watch them repeatedly over months.

And I’m not a big podcast person – strangely, I like to not listen to anything whenever I have a break, drive or go for a walk. Maybe because I live with a musician, so I balance that out with the quiet in my alone time?

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Solitaire on my iPad before going to bed. No, this is not a joke – you can join my husband in making fun of me for it. Every night.

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

Any 8-year-old kid of a top executive. Oh, the perspective.

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

In my opinion, it’s not all about work-life balance, really. As in, I don’t think it’s about the number of hours you work or don’t, but it’s about making sure you’re filling your days with what you enjoy. And that could (and arguably should) even be the work you do – whether that be what you’re working on, the team you work with, etc. That being said, I think physical health is so key – and the motherly part of me is going to say, exercise and eat your vegetables, folks. Seriously.

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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.