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Balancing the Grind with Rowena Baulch, UX/UI Designer at ED.

Rowena Baulch is a UX/UI Designer at ED, an agency made up of strategist, artists, coders and design enthusiasts with offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.

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

I started out as a brand designer, focusing on typesetting and print based material. However it’s pivoted over the last few years, becoming more digital focused. Now my role is almost entirely digital – currently working as a UX/UI Designer for an agency called ED.

I enjoy the richer problem solving aspect that comes with UX/UI design. I still get to work on branding projects from time to time and I’ve found that having both skills has been extremely useful. I’m super grateful that I can do both. 

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

Glad you asked, I’ve recently had a complete morning routine upgrade, which I can now flex. 

I usually wake up around 8am, I’ll meditate for 10 minutes and while I have breakfast I’ll read a Medium Article or two to help inspire me for the day ahead. The routine might sound a little cliche, but since trying it, my energy levels have been up and I feel as though I have clearer intentions for the day. I don’t use any apps for meditation, just silence and concentration. 

Once I start work I usually already know what I’m doing as I plan the evening before, but if not, I’ll use handwritten notes to plan out my day. If it’s looking really hairy and I’m needing clarity, I’ll plan my day out by the hour.

I’ve recently been experimenting with outcome based tasks vs time spent on tasks- I’ve yet to find out which one works best. I’ve found that setting time goals for tasks keeps me more accountable but outcome based comes with little rewards along the way of a larger project. 

If I’m working from home I’ll break the day up with a walk around the river or reading (I’m currently reading Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell which focuses on tragedies of miscommunication).

Once I’m done with the day I’ll head to the gym and continue to work on my MVP. I’m a little ashamed to say it and it’s not at all healthy but I do often work till 10:30-11 most nights so I can, a) see my partner after he comes home from his shift and b) get both my UX/UI work done and get some work on my MVP done. It’s something I shouldn’t do and need to get better at. 

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes! And I enjoy the flexibility to have both. It’s been a game changer for me and my level of productivity. It allows me to get those mundane tasks like cleaning and cooking done during work breaks.

However when I want to catch up with work colleagues in the office I have the opportunity to. By making the decision to go into the office, I find that interacting with colleagues in person suddenly becomes more meaningful and I find myself being more attuned in conversation with them. 

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

Currently work-life balance is something I need to get better at, not necessarily my approach to it, but I think my eyes are too big for my stomach, at the best of times, when it comes to workload.

Outside of work, I get excited by ideas and ventures and I like to explore them (as I’m doing currently). Sometimes I like to take more time on certain jobs, in order to do better at them and perhaps I could get better at prioritising tasks. 

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

Apart from the morning meditation and additional time spent reading I’ve also set a limit for screen-time on my iPhone.

I give myself an hour and a half a day on apps like Instagram and Facebook – this might seem like a long time, but the minutes quickly add up. I’ve been stunned at how much time I get back from just being mindful around my phone usage. 

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

I’ve just finished reading, Trail Blazer by Marc Benioff and Monica Langley, which was a good read around creating an impactful platform for change. I enjoy reading Medium articles most mornings. 

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Apart from the obvious phone and two laptops (hehe) My handheld coffee frother, my Google home and my salt lamp. 

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

Salvadore Dali – mostly because he seems like he’d be an interesting person to follow on a daily basis, I’d also love to get some mo styling tips. I feel like his work-life balance might be a bit erratic, but whatever he did there was definitely some genius to it. 

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

I would say, take the time to set yourself up to work smarter not harder. Setting up for an efficient work flow is always better than scrambling and being reactive. Set boundaries with people as well as setting boundaries with yourself and take relaxing as seriously as you take the grind!

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.