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Balancing the Grind with Kirby Carabana, Head of Customer Experience at Lawpath

Kirby Carabana is the Head of Customer Experience at Lawpath, Australia’s largest online legal platform for businesses and individuals.

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

I’ve worked in the SaaS industry for 10+ years now, across a variety of products that help people in the HR, Talent, Compliance, and Risk sectors. I started my career working in level 1, phone and email tech support.

I then progressed through to consulting and software implementations before leading support and implementation teams. Eventually, I found my passion for leading and scaling customer-facing teams, in particular, for organisations with noble ambitions. This has led me to where I am now, as Head of Customer Experience for Lawpath.

Lawpath is Australia’s leading online legal platform for businesses and individuals. We use technology to offer a new type of legal platform, one that can provide quality legal solutions – for a fraction of the time, cost and complexity of the traditional system. What this means is that we’re not just helping businesses and individuals get access to legal services but most importantly making it super affordable for those who need it.

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

So my typical day starts by picking up some breakfast before heading into the office. I work through any outstanding emails from the previous afternoon/evening and update my task lists (for the day and the week).

After organising this I’ll take a look through my calendar prep for any meetings and then really start from top to bottom smashing out my to-do tasks. A lot of the work I need to focus on and complete gets derived from OKRs and company goals, so it’s clear for me to know what to focus on and the best way to make an impact.

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

Absolutely, my role allows for flexible and remote working. Right now I’ve spent a lot of time in the office to connect with team members and get up to speed with processes (I’m still quite new) however the team has been especially accomodating to me as an expecting father and offer flexibility as standard practice.

Like many organisations, they’ve followed health directives from the government and made sure people could work effectively, remotely but they continue to keep the focus on helping people find any balance they are seeking. As for how this fits with my life and routine, it’s incredibly important.

Rather than just think of this as finding a “balance” I like to think of it as integrating my passion for work with my love for spending time with my family. Some weeks I’ll want to be at home more with my family and others I’d like to be closer to my team, and these could be both for either positive or negative reasons.

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

Work-life balance is important but it’s maybe the foundation that needs to be established to get to the goal. Which for me is integrating my life and work. Balance implies that you’re focusing on putting something in a position where it does not fall.

Of course, I don’t want things to fall, in my life or in my work. So rather than think of this as a traditional balance of time, where succeeding in one means failing at the other (or not being truly successful in either) I want to find a way to integrate these two areas to support each other, so they allow me to be the best at both.

To be the best father, the best husband at home and then conversely the best leader, manager and individual contributor in the workplace. I’m working to achieve this by demonstrating how a focus on operational hygiene and high calibre communication practices can lead to results far exceeding targets, regardless of a person’s place of work.

Similarly, at home, I want to ensure I’m there when it’s important and that I am a parent and husband that lives in the moment, and is “present” for them.

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

Yes, I started a couple of things, first was literally kicking myself out of bed as soon as I woke up. I lift my leg, get it out of the covers and I kick! It gives me the momentum to get myself upright but it also makes me feel awake and ready to start the day.

I don’t lie in bed, waiting for my mind to ramp up and since then I’ve found it way easier just to get out of bed and start my day. The pace of my day often is dictated by my morning so this simple change has helped me start the day with momentum to move forward.

The second thing I’ve started is adopting a “do it now” mentality. I used to live and die by to-do lists, logging and tracking everything that needed to be done, but at some point, you end up needing to-do lists just to manage your to-do lists.

In organising myself to do work I realised that at some points the work can feel endless. Just doing it when you realise it needs to be done has left me with smaller to-do lists and a steady feeling of progress throughout the day.

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

I like the newsletter and blogs from the Zendesk Luminaries program as well as Trends.co, there’s so much happening in business technology and it’s been difficult to sift out the noise and find valuable content so these have both been invaluable to me and what I do.

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

Workona (Google Chrome extension) for getting your tabs in order and in workspaces. Also Notion! It is so great at organising your work and personal information.

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

It would be Robyn Denholm, Chair of Tesla and Tech Council of Australia. She’s an incredibly successful business person and I think she’s found the key to success both inside and outside the workplace.

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

You make time for what’s important for you, that’s key to know because you do this whether you intend to or not. It’s also just one side of the coin, the other side is that people see what you make time for.

This is true for business and your personal life, be aware of it. In the workplace, it’s what makes leading by example so important and at home, it helps show commitment to your loved ones. In both cases, it is how you show that you care for those who are important to you.

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.