346 - Aaron Poe
Aaron Poe is a strategic Creative Director with over 17 years of experience, branding and launching natively digital companies.
His passion is building brands that are simple and timeless, striking the right balance of emotional connection and functional design.
He is currently the Head of Creative at Zapier, where he leads a multidisciplinary team of brand and interactive designers within the global Brand Studio.
Inside Aaron's Workspace
Aaron was previously featured in edition #114 of Workspaces. This is his updated workspace in 2023.
- Studio Work Pod by Autonomous.ai
- Desk by Autonomous.ai
- Bar Stool by Industry West
- Desk Lamp by Vipp
- Microphone by EPOS
- Mic stand by InnoGear
- Wireless charging desk mat by Journey
- Leica D-Lux 7 by Leica
- Mini audio sampler by Teenage Engineering
- 16" MacBook Pro by Apple
- 5K Studio Display by Apple
- Black wireless Mouse by Apple
- Magic wireless Keyboard by Apple
- Monitor stand by Satechi
- Adjustable laptop Stand by Lamicall
- Cable management box by D-Line
- Electric roller shades by The Shade Store
- Bluetooth speaker by Cyanovox Audio
What is the most useful item in your workspace?
The most useful item in my workspace (besides my design workstation) would have to be my AC unit because it can get very hot in the studio.
What does your typical daily routine look like?
These days, I wake up naturally around 6:30am. First thing I do is feed Rafael and Misu, my two Siberian felines, then brew a pot of strong coffee (Phil's Silken Splendor) and begin my daily self-care routine. I have a Tonal in my home gym, which I use 2x daily. First, I use the meditation courses for 10-15min to set my intentions for the day, followed up by a 20min workout – either a core workout or HIIT. I wake up my daughter around 7:15am so she can get ready for school. I make her breakfast and we chit chat for a bit before heading to school. After that, my workday begins. Typically, I'm online at 9am sharp. I average somewhere between 4-6 meetings per day and put focus time blocks on my calendar so I can get stuff done. My wife is a freelance apparel designer who also works from home, so we get to have lunch together nearly everyday. We usually take a 15-20 min walk outside after lunch to catch up on things and break up the day with some vitamin D. Around 2:45pm I hop in the car to pick up my daughter from school, and I'm back online around 3:15pm to wrap up the day. Typically, my day ends around 5:30 or 6pm depending on how busy the studio gets. It's nice to have a routine, it helps me divide the day into 2 parts and allows me to balance work productivity with family life.
How do you manage work-life balance?
I purposefully separate the two. I'm passionate about what I am blessed to be able to do each and every day as a creative. Truly, designers today have it pretty good. However, I don't self-identify with my career any longer. I'm a family man first, and being the best husband, father, brother and son is my real purpose in life. I see being a creative director as a distant second. Some healthy techniques I've adopted to ensure a work life balance is to remove work tools like Slack and email from my phone. I'm also very deliberate about leaving the laptop closed once I log off for the day. On the occasion an idea sparks or a new task on my to do list arises, I will email myself a reminder and get to it on the following day. It reminds me about something Rick Rubin once said in an interview..."Maybe your purpose in life isn't related to your job. Maybe your job is your job, and the job is the thing that supports you. And then the rest of your waking hours are devoted to your purpose.Whatever that is."
What did you change from your first workspace feature and why?
So, my wife's father was diagnosed with cancer in February 2022. And he fought very hard to beat it. Around December 2022, it became clear that he wasn't getting better and it had gotten worse. So we made the decision to move my in-laws from Hawaii to California, to be closer to us. We found them a place about 10min away so we could help him with doctor visits and for emotional support. Long story short, we anticipated that once he passed away, her mom would need to live with us. So I moved out of my previous home office (which my daughter moved into) and installed a prefab studio by Autonomous in our backyard. That freed up a spare bedroom for my mother in-law.