Designers / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Kristy Donaldson, Product UX Designer at Binge

Kristy Donaldson is a freelance product designer, currently working as a product UX designer for Australian streaming services, Binge.

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

I started as a graphic designer working specifically in brand and digital for pubs, bars and small agencies across Sydney. It wasn’t until I was working on some pretty amazing brands digitally that I realised I loved the UX side of work and being able to deliver purposeful projects.

I have worked as a freelance Product Designer now for two years and have been lucky enough to work on the launch of Australia’s newest entertainment service; Binge.

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

Typically, I will do some form of exercise be it, surfing, yoga or a morning run and then take a long commute from the Northern Beaches to the office for an 8:30-9:00 am start. With COVID hitting, however, I have more time on my hands.

This has allowed me to get my exercise in at the same time and start work a little earlier due to a long list of jobs to be done in the lead up to launching Binge.

Throughout my day working remotely, I constantly engage with my peers through Slack and Zoom as well as have all Android, iOS, TVOS and Roku TV devices at the ready to check all the work that developers have been doing.

Lunch calls and I always try and take a break from the screen as my eyes cannot handle looking at devices all day long. Being present at lunch is super important for my mental health as well as for my focus in the afternoons.

My workday typically ends around 6 for family time and my time. As I often rise pretty early, I am in bed early as well. Sleep and repeat.

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

Definitely. Pre COVID not so much as it was a very face-to-face role, however, the way we work has shifted. We are the first VOD (video-on-demand) service to launch remotely and successfully. I think having a dedicated space and making sure we are always available is vital in us achieving success.

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

As I touched on previously, being present in your work as well as your own time makes you better at everything you do, on and off the screen. Exercise helps take me away from any procrastination I have in my day to day life and helps me focus on working to achieve certain goals, no matter how big or small.

This could be the focus on perfecting sourdough as a millennial in isolation (lol) or helping me handover features out to developers with cleaner concepts and documentation.

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

If anything, I have tried to continue the same routines that I was doing pre-COVID. I have made sure I don’t get lazy working from home, rather pushing myself to try hobbies that I would not have done before.

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

Podcast – Conversations by Richard Fidler is amazing. You learn about amazing people with incredible stories, it helps take you away from whatever you are doing.

Books – Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe looks at the colonial accounts of Aboriginal people with fresh eyes. A true eye-opener and a must for anyone who has grown up in Australia.

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

Slack is an app I could not live without during the pandemic, it has helped be collaborative with people in different teams, no matter what time zone we are in.

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

Probably Emily Weiss, CEO and founder of cosmetic brand Glossier. A 35-year-old woman who built a makeup empire from scratch that is now valued at over $1.2billion – an inspiration and someone who seems to have it together, always.

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

If you love your work as much as I do, it can be at times, hard to switch off. Do your best to find a hobby and learn to love it. Whether it be baking, meditation, running, find your thing and want to do it is as much you can. It helps balance everything out.

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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.