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3 Pro Tips to Juggle Your Personal & Professional Life

Written by: Mira

12 April 2021

QA

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3 Pro Tips to Juggle Your Personal & Professional Life

For this week’s ‘Day in the Life’ series, we sat down virtually with our resident QA (Quality Assurance Specialist) Ilhaam, to discuss how she juggles QA with life; and to find out whether the two bleed into each other, especially during remote work.

Finding that balance between your work and personal life is key and often requires a great deal of multitasking in order to prioritise what really matters. So, how do you juggle when there’s a lot on your plate? Especially when there’s a buffet! 

 

Ilhaam, who is outnumbered at home with two sons and her husband, essentially works two jobs whilst studying a Selenium WebDriver With Python course through Udemy. Today she shares three integral tips on how to ‘automate your life’ by prioritising what’s important. 

 

Tip 1 - Prioritise your day 

Tip 2 - Upskill continuously 

Tip 3 - Celebrate with your team

 

Ilhaam was initially shy to share her story as she felt she learnt predominately on the job working within the field as opposed to having any prior formal education. We discussed her process, unpacked what remote learning means to her and a few tips to juggle your life appropriately to ensure there’s a balance between your personal and professional life. 

Tip: 1  Prioritise Your Day 

Start the day by setting up a list of tasks you would like to complete, with the most important tasks prioritised near the top of the list.

Here is an example of a proposed structure:

  1. Most important tasks
  2. Tasks that require my feedback urgently
  3. Tasks that don’t require my immediate attention 

“I have a chalkboard in my kitchen with columns and  days of the week where I literally write what tasks I need to get done to even load the dishwasher.” - Ilhaam 

Ilhaam says she finds ‘endless satisfaction’ in being able to cross off tasks on her list. This motivates her to accomplish what she’s set out to do. Concerning work, Ilhaam has found it easier to do household chores during her lunch break, which eases the pressure she would usually feel if she were at work. 

Life is unpredictable, you may deviate and not be able to get to a task you set your mind to. Try to be realistic when you jot down your top ten tasks and remember to stay on track. If for some unforeseen circumstance you’re unable to complete all the tasks you’ve listed, don’t fret, move it across as one of the key tasks you need to complete for the next day and schedule the required amount of time aside to complete it.

“Focus on what you can accomplish for the day and stick to the list.” - Ilhaam

 

Remote work does have its numerous benefits, including convenience, however, the con is that you are inundated with meeting requests. With so many meetings during the day, when do you get to do the work? Ilhaam explains that the only time her work-life may bleed into her personal life is when she needs to complete coursework or ship a feature. Being the lead on the Android side of a leading fintech application does come with its fair share of being on stand-by.  

 

Remember: 

 

  • Creating a vision board and a weekly plan goes hand in hand. 
  • The real challenge is creating a list of tasks to complete realistic to the effort required to complete it. 
  • Completing all the tasks you’ve set out to do in a day can ease stress and make you feel you’ve got everything under control. 
  • Give yourself some breathing room with the last tasks, so that you don’t get overwhelmed.  

Tip 2: Upskill Continuously

Investing in your professional development is integral to your growth within this dynamic industry and can help you streamline your processes by learning from predecessors. Always try to expose yourself to new technology available so you can automate tedious manual tasks that would previously weigh you down. 

 

“We can focus on additional features and eventually automate those things as well. So that’s the goal. Hopefully, by midyear, we will all have completed our assignment and completed our course.” - Ilhaam.

 

Learning online has many advantages in managing your time and being flexible when you need to be. However, you can feel as though you’re missing out on having a peer support group you would’ve been able to form if these classes were hosted in person. Being able to rely on team members within the company for tips, or feedback as you learn technical skills can help propel your ability to work with sophisticated software. 

“We’ve got so many projects, and more projects are coming in. We are a lean team, so we need to find long-term processes that can help us go forward.” - Ilhaam 

In a room full of experts with extensive knowledge and experience, you can feel intimidated to share your opinion. Sometimes the fear of scrutiny is more overwhelming than asking that self-perceived ‘dumb question’. There will be teammates within this industry who have a natural aptitude and although you feel as though you can never measure up, give yourself kudos for being brave and pushing through. Also, put that ‘imposter syndrome’ that ever so often creeps up on ice. 

“I can read code, like, I can read it, and I can understand which is an enormous accomplishment on its own. And we’ve only been doing this course since January.” - Ilhaam 

Remember: 

  • Balance is key, celebrate your achievements and work harder when assessments feel out of your depth. 
  • Growth is an uncomfortable process, so continue to dive into material that challenges you.
  • To code or not to code, that is the question. Sometimes it’s best to stretch yourself to learn things you initially found complicated and overwhelming. Once you realise you can learn something new, there’s a gratifying feeling of validation that can help you continue to challenge yourself. 

Tip 3: Celebrate with your team

In an agile team, each team member’s contribution helps get meaningful results. Finding that go-to person you can lean on when you’re unsure is a great way to troubleshoot problems you’re experiencing, especially if you haven’t been working in a role for several years.

“Karen, my teammate, has my back and I’ve got hers. We used to work together at our previous company and were in the same team then as well. We built a great work- relationship and now we’re friends.” - Ilhaam 

It’s important to establish strong relationships with your colleagues, as you will ultimately spend more time with them than some of your family. It’s also amazing to have someone in your corner who understands what you’re going through and is rooting for you.

Having a mentor in the space can also help you develop confidence in your role, especially when you’ve set the benchmark of where you would like to be with someone you truly admire and respect. 

 

“Davin, I look up to him so much because he’s the PO and is just so hands-on, and he knows what he’s talking about. You can ask him the same question 100 times and each time he will answer the question to help you understand. He’s got so much patience, knowledge, and is a true team player. He’s able to decode code to everybody.” - Ilhaam 

 

Juggling is difficult, we’ve included a list of our favourite free and paid task management tools that can help you plan your diary to get the desired results you want.

 

  1. Asana 
  2. Google Calendar
  3. Monday.com
  4. Trello

Schedule and block off time so you can leverage your time, don’t forget to schedule 15-minute breaks to help keep you motivated. Enjoy a cup of coffee, stretch your legs, walk outside and get fresh air. It’s amazing how these brief breaks, spread in between completing your tasks, can help rejuvenate you. 


If you would like to join a team that will help you fast-track your career with a leading fintech application. Please view our current openings and join the team.