Lucy Kippist is a lifestyle editor and journalist, currently working as the editor at Flying Solo, an Australian community of over 100,000 solo and micro-businesses.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m the editor of Flying Solo, a website for people running their own business. I’ve worked as a journalist for the past ten years, mostly in the parenting and lifestyle space including News Life Media and Kinderling Kids Radio.
I’m really passionate about my role at Flying Solo because I am constantly inspired by the ambition and willingness of people to back themselves and follow their dreams.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
A regular day at work for me depends on what day of the week it is. I am fortunate enough to work for a company that values flexible work and that means I work from home two days every week. This allows me to work around my two sons, 3 and 6 and also adjust my weekly tasks to fit the environment I am working from.
On my in-office days (3 x times a week) I focus on meetings, planning and producing. On my work from home days I focus on strategy, ideas, concept creation and writing and recording my weekly podcast.
Regardless of this, I wake up and do 20-30 minutes of meditation every single morning using Insight Timer. I switch the mediations around, but always do them lying down.
As soon as I wake up I stick in my earphone and off I go. I repeat this at night just before sleep (often don’t make it through the first 10 mins!). I credit meditation (started 18 months ago) with a renewed clarity in all aspects of my life. I literally can’t live without it now.
After that I get up, make myself breakfast and do an hour of work between 5:30-7, depending on the time I get up. I am a natural early bird, and find it easy to tick off lots of tasks at that early hour, before my kids wake up.
This helps me feel ready for the day so when I arrive in the office at around 9am (after school drop offs) I feel like I am not behind the eight ball. Finding the power in this hour has literally changed my life.
My kids wake up around 7 and that’s where the fun begins! Breakfast etc for them before out the door to school around 7:45-8:45am depending on whether I am working at home or in the office.
Office days are based around meetings, scheduling content, communicating with other members with the Pinstripe team, collaborating on projects and writing a bit. At home I am focussed on writing, strategy, creating concepts and recording my podcast.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes it does and I thrive with this balance and don’t take it for granted. My work from home days means my kids get shorter days at school as I can pick up and drop off at regular times.
The balance means I can maintain my energy levels quite well and an overwhelming life with two very active kids, feels a (little) more controllable! I couldn’t do all that I do without this flexibility at this point in my life.
4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?
I am by nature quite a reactive person which can be great in my industry but also wreak havoc on my energy levels! So I am learning to become mindful of using my most productive or focussed time of the day for particular tasks.
Last year I had an amazing opportunity to work with time management expert Kate Christie on balancing out my week and my daily tasks, with my energy levels. Earmarking certain days of the week for certain tasks has also helped.
My to-do list is a Word document with each day of the week’s top tasks listed at the top. This really helps to focus (and remind!) me of what the priority task is for each day. I then set reminders in my Outlook calendar and am sure to double check that every morning on the train into work.
5) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work-life balance means structuring my day and week to best fit my energy levels and the needs of my two young boys. This is no easy feat! But getting very ‘real’ with myself last year in terms of productivity and output and when my natural energy levels peak and level out has been fantastic for this.
A great day for me is a day that allows me to work in flow with my energy levels, connect meaningfully with the Flying Solo community and be present at home with my kids.
6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?
Having a real respect for my health is something that came into full focus for me after having my kids. I think that’s because I realised that there is only a finite amount of energy each day (particularly for the several years I ran on 5 hours or less of sleep a night!).
I have always loved exercise and eating well for managing stress, but have found that paying attention to when my body feels energised has flowed into my working life and am continually learning to adapt and change the way I work because of that.
8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Meditation in the morning and exercising after work as much as I can and working out when my most effective times are across the day. Meditation has been a key priority for me for the past 18 months and I can’t live without it now! The clarity and peace it has brought to my very busy mind has been invaluable. I hope I never lose the habit.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I don’t think there is ever a perfect balance but I am really passionate about aiming for it. Fundamentally I think it’s about getting real with yourself about your values and your energy levels and where you’re at in your career.
Once you have those things clear, it becomes easier to either find the right employer or have the right conversation with your current employer. Be honest about your life, your goals, what you can bring to your workplace (and any areas or skills you need to improve).
It can be tempting sometimes to feel the need to talk yourself up or over-commit out of fear that you will be overlooked for certain jobs or tasks. But doing that always fails in the end.
If you can get really clear on what you can do in the parameters you’ve been given and outline what could be achieved with flexibility – that’s a conversation worth trying to have.
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