Designers / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Lisa Jacquiot, Product Design Lead at Airwallex

Lisa Jacquiot is a Product Design Lead at Airwallex, the leading financial technology platform for modern businesses growing beyond borders.

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

I am currently a lead product designer at Airwallex. In other words, I design financial software and work with a team of product managers and engineers to deliver awesome experiences that solve our customers’ problems.

I haven’t always worked in product design though. After college, my career started in product localisation at Glassdoor. At this stage, I was supporting their product launch in various French-speaking markets and working closely with a couple of product designers internally.

The product designers’ job seemed way more fun than what I was doing at the time, and I eventually decided to go back to school and get a degree in User Experience design.

Eventually, I transitioned into the product design team at Glassdoor, and later joined a start-up in the retail software space to set up their design team, before joining Airwallex.

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

I spend lots of time in meetings and on Slack. Product design is a cross-functional role, so I regularly sync up with my team, leadership, or customers to get feedback on designs, follow progress on upcoming features, or identify interdependencies in our work. There is a lot of context switching, but that’s what keeps the role interesting. 

I try to carve out an hour or two for design work. When I can’t, I’ll usually take a break in the afternoon and get back to work when everybody is offline later in the evening. On the weekends, I try to disconnect completely and make time for friends and fun.

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

To me, work-life balance is all about making choices that help me lower stress and anxiety levels. With experience, I learned that I need a lot of sleep and regular exercise which I make sure to prioritise as best I can during the week.

Of course I can’t always do that perfectly – some days I can’t have a proper lunch break or I work late. Similarly, some days I have to step away from the computer to run personal errands or hit the gym to clear my mind. Instead of focusing on having a good work life balance over 24 hours, I try to look at my work life balance over a couple of weeks and reassess my schedule if needed.

I also feel extremely grateful that Airwallex supported my move from Melbourne to Far North Queensland, and that I’ve been able to work fully remotely for almost two years now. Being close to nature is where I’m happiest, and I’ve since developed a healthy obsession with scuba diving. There is nothing I love more than floating around with beautiful fish to give me energy during the work week.

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

There are a couple of things I have done consistently over the last few months that have helped me:

  • Morning walks near the beach, usually with a takeaway coffee. I find it’s a gentle way to wake my mind and body up before sitting down for a day full of meetings. 
  • I have deleted Tiktok from my phone and have generally tried hard to stop scrolling through apps at night for better sleep. It’s hard!
  • After work, I have picked up beach volleyball a couple of times a week to get out of the house and have a fun break with friends.

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

I love Brené Brown’s podcasts Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead. I find her podcasts incredibly inspiring and relevant, particularly on topics such as authenticity at work, failing and learning, building team culture, and building trust with others.

Otherwise, I’m a big fan of fiction. The last book I couldn’t put down was Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

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

This might sound cliche, but I would love to read an interview with my mom. She has had a successful career in partnerships at Nokia all while raising my sister and I. I know she was a big proponent of power naps, but other than that, I’m not sure how she did it.

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

Managing perfectionism at work can help a lot with work-life balance. Ironically, I have found my own perfectionism often leads to procrastination (if it can’t be perfect, I don’t want to do it), and more time spent at work. Learning to accept “good enough” and the potential for failure, as well as being more self-compassionate has been great to switch off from work and disconnect when needed.

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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.