Rebekah Bek is a UX Writer at SEO tools and resources company, Ahrefs, where she previously wrote for the company’s blog and marketing content.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’ve always been a writer, but the specifics of what I write kind of evolved with the times.
I started out in creative as an advertising copywriter and braved two global agencies, twelve brands, and probably (definitely) way too many sleepless nights before making the switch to content writing and strategy client-side for a couple of years.
In 2017, I sent a thousand word email to this cool startup called Ahrefs that makes SEO tools called, and got hired. I happily wrote for our content blog and did marketing stuff for two years before moving into a UX writing role, and that’s where I am today.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I’m writing this during the COVID-19 lockdown, but my days pre-‘rona weren’t too different.
Before the workday begins, I try to get in a 20-30 minute yoga session to stretch out and wake my body and mind up. I’ve noticed that I’m always in a better mood for the first half of the day if I manage to get this in.
The first thing I do each morning is take stock of what happened since I logged off the day before. This gives me a good idea of what’s going on with everyone else – if anyone needs an urgent copy review because their feature close to completion; which task seems like it’d be blocked or make life difficult later on without some copy input, etc.
Since we have many designers and only one writer, I’m essentially doing copy triage a lot of the time. Based on this, I make a to-do list for the day and bump things down if something high-priority comes up.
If I notice that I’m not being particularly productive, I make the switch to different type of work or take a break (I slip lunchtime exercise classes a few times a week). Also, I tend to disable all notifications when I’m doing deep work. Nothing is worse than being interrupted and completely losing your train of thought!
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes! Even pre-‘rona, I was spending most of my week working from home. I’d head into office once in a while just for a change of environment (plus the cafe near my workplace makes amazing iced coffee, just saying.) I have full control over my schedule as well.
I honestly can’t remember how life was like before I had this flexibility. I love it and will never go back.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
That’s interesting, I’ve never had a personal definition for it. I guess it means that I never have to sacrifice something I value in order to enjoy challenging, fulfilling work: whether it’s quiet time or time with people I love, hobbies, travel, or even just sleep.
It’s really important because my personal growth and happiness outside of work definitely makes me more motivated and inspired coming back to my job.
5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?
As cliched as it sounds, finding an exercise that I enjoy. Having something besides work to be passionate about is good for everyone involved. Also, endorphins + somewhere to channel excess energy and emotion = great way to clear my mind and disconnect or reset from work.
Another thing that’s less of a routine is doing periodic check-ins with myself to see if I’m content where I am.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’m a fan of Brain Pickings.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
I want to give you an inspiring answer, but the truth is 100% “drink coffee”.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Somehow only fictional characters come to mind right now.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
This short exchange from Alice in Wonderland has stayed with me since I was a child:
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
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