María Mallorquín is a Senior UX Technical Writer at Atlassian, where she works closely with designers, analysts, developers, and product managers to provide users with a great user experience.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m a senior Content Designer at Atlassian. Specifically, I work in Bitbucket Cloud, a Git repository management solution owned by Atlassian.
Even though I have a mixed education background (Humanities, Translation and Business), my love for tech lead me to start my career as a QA intern, providing testing solutions and testing strategies for telecom companies. I loved working with developers, learning Agile methodologies, and discovering cheeky bugs.
Over time, the linguistic side of me bubbled up just when the company needed to develop a strategy for their documentation.
That’s how I first started to learn about technical documentation, technical writers, Information Architecture, and how it affected the products and users.
Over the years I found that my execution-driven personality and my organisation skills where a fantastic fit for the role I took on.
I’ve audited and designed countless documentation sets, I’ve worked incredible teams and more recently I’ve been learning about product analysis, applied metrics and how understanding the user journey, your product personas and the ever-changing competition can be affected by a good in-product documentation experience.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I work remotely and my teams are distributed across multiple locations around the world so I tend to combine sync and async work-streams.
1. The first thing I do is checking all my Slack channels to see what happened over night across the different geos and teams.
2. Go to my email and check all the Jira And Confluence notifications to get the new assignments and check the progress across projects.
3. I block at least 3 hours of solid focus a day where I refuse meetings and distractions so I get work done regardless of meetings and projects planning.
4. I usually have a few meetings a day.
5. Before I leave for the day I check the next day’s agenda to see whether I need to prepare some material in advance.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I’m very fortunate with Atlassian. They’re remote-friendly and I tend to work from home many days. I am a huge advocate for full-time remote work since I feel it improves my performance, well-being and mental state.
I always say remote work is the future. There is no reason in 2020 for a tech company to keep an office space. To me, it makes no sense. Forcing workers to stay closer to urban areas where they have to commute for hours every week and pay higher rents is simply not necessary any more.
Remote work allows me to visit family, spend more quality time with my partner and friends and even to eat better since I can save the commute time and use it for better purposes.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Just to be clear, for me mental health and family goes first. Quite often I find myself chatting with workmates that are stressed and struggling with anxiety.
It’s easy to get carried away by the intense work tech environment. I try to be strict with my time in the office and outside the office. It’s easy to put in long hours bu in the end you only end up burning out faster. It’s important to be diligent with work but also with your rest/disconnection time.
I always have the same office schedule and when I’m out, I don’t bring my gadgets with me. I do sports, have dates with my partner constantly just to chat over a nice meal, I also try to socialise a lot by going to concerts and movies with mates. It’s important to unwind and laugh. It’s the best anti-depressant.
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?
I put a lot of effort into planning my weeks in advance so I don’t find myself swamped with daily surprises. On Fridays, I plan what’s going to happen next week so when I get in on Monday knowing exactly what I need to do. Investing time in organising your duties and documenting your work pays off in the long run.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Work-wise, I I enjoy catching up with my fellow UX experts in online forums and check out their experiences but when It comes to books, I devote my free time to literature.
As a matter of fact, I’ve published my first book in Spanish! When it comes to podcasts, I mostly listen to mystery and history podcasts: The Catch and Kill, Serial, Death in Ice Valley and Milenio 3.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
I keep a positive mindset and try to have fun regardless of the challenge or the pressure. If you lose the ability to enjoy and see the positive aspects of a situation for too long, you’ll burn out.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I’m curious about how a day looks like for Neil Gaiman. Creative writing requires a lot of focus and time. He is constantly writing scripts for television, has a big family and manages to release awesome book with a relative high frequency. I’d be interested in understanding his organisational skills.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Have fun at work, and take care of yourself.
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