Lily Khin is the Head of Creative Strategy & Video, Content at Tigerhall, a global social learning platform where real-world insights upskill organizations & teams for real business impact.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I come from a family of artists and creative people, so I like to believe that creativity is built into my DNA (very scientific, I know). I started my career in digital publishing, where I spent many years developing various skills around digital content creation.
I then took a short break, during which I fulfilled my lifelong dream of working at an indie bookstore, after which I wound up at Tigerhall, a social learning platform. What a wild ride (of the best kind!) it’s been.
I’ve seen the team grow from a handful of people to a thriving business with employees across the world, and a product evolving in beautiful ways. I’m currently the Head of Creative Strategy & Video within the Content team, where – among other things – I have the ever-interesting job of helping senior business leaders shape their insights into actionable, bite-sized videos. It never gets boring around here!
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I’m at my best in the mornings, and my mornings are my own. I make sure to give myself at least an hour (usually more) at the start of the day to focus on the things that keep me well – exercise, breathwork, journaling, tidying up, maybe taking a walk outside to get a second cup of coffee – before diving into work and meetings.
My work day begins at around 9.30am, and I begin by making a list of 6 key tasks I will focus on for the day. The first half of my day is dedicated to high impact tasks or team meetings. Shortly past noon, my partner and I will usually prep and cook our meals for the day.
There’s almost always some dancing and lots of laughter involved. Afternoons are for meetings, other key tasks, and occasionally to create content for my personal socials. Of course, I take little breaks to look outside, stretch, paint, or just rest.
We’ll usually take a walk outside before dinner, and then it’s usually catching up on a show I’m watching or reading. A few times a week, I’ll take calls later at night, so I’ve had to be extra mindful about winding down and dialing my energy back to a restful state after I’ve wrapped these up. Otherwise, I’m in bed by 10pm.
3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
If I’m honest, I don’t think about work-life balance as much as I think about the various areas of life that are important to me – health, community, work, service, exploration, creation, for instance – and how I want to contribute my time to each of these.
It’s a calibration that’s always in flux, depending on the season of life I’m in and what my priorities are at the time. I’ve had to practice consistent self-inquiry and the ability to listen compassionately to my body to do this.
4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
About a year ago, following a lower back injury that left me unable to move without pain for almost 6 weeks, I started doing breathwork for the first time. I felt immediate relief from my anxiety right after my first session, and it was only five minutes long!
It’s amazing that the simple act of breathing consciously can create physiological change. And after consistently practicing breathwork daily for the past 12 months, I can say that it’s made such a huge difference to my day-to-day experience.
If I’m feeling anxious or stressed out, I now have the tools with which to tune out my thoughts and focus on the sensations in my body, shifting my mental state to one of peace. It’s so empowering to have found a healing modality that works this well for me. If you’re interested, check out Breathe with James.
Another simple change that isn’t recent but has been transformative has been to cut out carbs for breakfast. Nowadays, I opt for a coffee with MCT and coconut oils, and a protein shake after my morning workout. This way, I don’t feel the post-meal slump, and my energy levels are stable throughout the day. When I first tried this, it felt like a fog had lifted – it’s really that powerful!
Lastly, I’ve been taking myself out on ‘artist dates’ (I got this idea from the book The Artist’s Way) where I visit museums and take copious notes on everything that speaks to me in the moment. Later, these impressions return to me as sparks of inspiration, sometimes as starting points for a piece of writing or a photo.
Sometimes it isn’t art, it’s just going out somewhere and sitting quietly with my thoughts, or wandering around a bookstore by myself. It’s important, especially for creatives, to fill our own cups and balance creative input with output.
5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
On finding balance and staying connected to what matters, I have a couple of great reads to suggest. One is How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell, a beautifully written reflection on how to shift away from the productivity discourse, develop a relationship with the earth, and redefine what it means to live well.
Then there’s 4000 Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, which, happily, doesn’t suggest ways in which to get more done in less time but rather flips the script completely. In the mysterious ways that these things work, I found these books during seasons of life where I most needed to hear the perspectives in them.
Both are timely reminders of the fact of mortality, and thereby the urgency with which we must be more intentional about how we choose to spend the limited time we’re given.
On the creative process and womanhood: Deborah Levy’s Living Autobiography series. Things I Don’t Want to Know is a favourite, a brilliant exploration of the ideological weight, meaning, and tension writing holds for women.
As for podcasts, I enjoy For the Wild, Monocle24: The Menu, and of course, Tigerhall!
6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Jia Tolentino, because I’d read anything she writes. With writers and indeed all artists, the boundaries between work and life aren’t as clearly delineated, offering interesting new ways to unpack this term.
7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
All of us hold a sense of intuition, an inner knowing that will guide us to a state of balance and harmony with everyone and everything – a kind of spiritual homeostasis. Yet this is often clouded by the various tasks, anxieties, and responsibilities that take our attention.
Consciously craft pockets of time where you wade through the noise and sit with yourself in stillness. You’ll find that this gives you more clarity on what you need more of (or less of) to feel well.
Before you go…
If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here