Paris Young is the founder of strategic design agency Pascal Satori, where she consults with businesses, providing practical and strategic solutions.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m the founder of the strategic design agency Pascal Satori. My career background is quite unspecified, with stints in everything from design, retail, manufacturing, warehousing, construction, and marketing. I’ve always loved trying anything and everything if it means learning new skills and being able to understand something on a deeper level.
I started out designing little projects in my teens for extra cash, then started working in the family business – which at the beginning probably felt like the easy way out but definitely didn’t pan out that way!
I took on the role of design and production manager for our golf-wear label, and was responsible for everything from marketing, to range planning and design, manufacturing and distribution – the lot! It was an amazing hands-on experience which I didn’t really understand at the time, but now I look back and realise how amazingly valuable that was. It was my first time learning how to run a business.
I then had a couple of other roles, mainly in customer service and management before returning to our other family business Storepro, and learned more and more about business fundamentals and running a small business.
After a couple of years, I felt pretty stuck. I had a degree and lots of random hands-on experience and skills, but no idea on what a career could look like. I found a post-graduate program in the states at Parsons which brought together a lot of my passions; design, human behaviour, and business.
It was there that everything clicked, and since then I’ve built several businesses including Pascal Satori.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I think I can only really plan out about 50% of my day for certain, something always comes up or changes and I feel like it is important to stay flexible.
I usually wake up around 6 and (as bad of a habit as this is) I grab my phone. My team sends me ‘tasks for P’ emails at the end of every day for anything they want me to review or things that they need responses to urgently. I address these each morning at 6am and it’s super helpful, as it means by the time they’re online, everything is ready for them to go.
I then check my calendar, emails, and my to-do list and prioritise my activities. Then I’m up for a huge walk with the dogs (Bonnie and Winnie) for about an hour and a half. This is my time to think, listen to podcasts, books etc. I’m a moving meditator – I always find that I think better when I move.
By 9:30 it’s time for our daily WIP, and we go through the work required for that day, as well as a general team catch up and chat. This is essential when working remotely, as everyone can connect and shake off the loneliness or any anxieties that can come from working each day on our own.
From there it could be anything from meetings to designing websites, writing proposals and processing admin, this totally depends on the day and what projects we have one.
At about 4pm I will check in with the other businesses that I run with my husband, to see if there is anything that urgently needs addressing or resolving by the end of that day, to ensure it is completed as a priority.
I try to switch off from work at around 6pm to make dinner and unwind. I will then revisit anything that needs completing work-wise before heading to bed.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
At Pascal Satori we are 100% remote, and I have purposely built the business that way over the last two years. It can be super challenging at times, especially when onboarding new employees or working creatively, but I’m so grateful that I get to keep doing what I love no matter how the world changes.
I have my own studio at home at the back of our house, a deluxe converted garage, so every morning I make snacks and grab all of the items I need, and head out there to work. It is the perfect little Zen space to get my creative thinking cap on.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
For me, I think work-life balance is making sure the right things are prioritised at the right time. It’s about looking at everything holistically and identifying which areas need more attention at any given point in time, and ensuring that you’re working towards something ‘bigger picture’ at all times.
I don’t think it’s realistic to say that you’re achieving work-life balance all the time. Sometimes you have to put in the hard graft, to complete a big task or challenge yourself, and knowing when you need to schedule in more self-care time.
It’s about really tuning in and being present, making adjustments to suit and identifying these moments in time. Knowing when you need to chill out and schedule some time for yourself is an art form, and something that many business owners and entrepreneurs find difficult.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I have started to have a long walk each morning, and this has been the best change. My days are often very unpredictable, and heading to the gym can sometimes mean wasting precious moments in transit, as well as missing out on a good dose of nature for the day.
I have found that while almost 2 hours of walking is a large time-chunk from my day, it actually helps me to think, learn and process (plus get my phone calls done) and my ability to manage stress or feelings of anxiety has improved one million times over.
One thing that I have stopped is using a television program to get to sleep. I used to believe that it was the best way to switch off my mind before bed, but now I read instead. My quality of sleep is much better as a result, which has a roll-on effect to the quality of my work output during the day.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Books wise, Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits by Debbie Millman is brilliant, as is The Brand Gap, How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design by Marty Meumeier.
Some other favourites would be Shoe Dog, a memoir by the creator of Nike, Phil Knight, FUSION How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World’s Greatest Companies by Denise Lee Yohn and Sapiens: A brief history of humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I confess that I may sound like a predictable millennial here, but my phone is something I can’t live without. I work from my phone just as much as I do from a computer and my screen time never reports a reduction!
Every system that we use has an app version, so I can do 75% of my work from there. My AirPods, iPad and laptop all come in second – I’m a shameless Apple junkee.
Products and apps that I can’t live without would be Audible – I often listen to books while I walk – Spotify, Moon App, CoStar and of course, my calendar.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Elon Musk. I love to see others who see work as a hobby and passion talk about the work that they do. Elon Musk’s commitment level is off the charts, so I would love to hear how he considers his work-life balance.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
In order to really nail work, life and balance is that you have to start with what truly makes you happy, rather than what everyone else is telling you is the ‘right thing to do for you’.
You need to know yourself and your working style, and be well acquainted with your goals. Once you have ticked these two boxes, you need to then accept that in order to reach these goals you must be flexible and kind with yourself. It is an ongoing practice that will change, and that’s OK too.
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