Apurva Chiranewala is the Chief Development Officer at Sendle, a shipping service designed for small businesses, and Australia’s first 100% carbon neutral shipping service.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’ve been very fortunate to have had a wide variety of experiences across multiple industries including software engineering, strategy consulting, eCommerce and now logistics.
I have built my own start-up, worked for multinationals like eBay, and led teams at high growth tech start-ups like SnapDeal, Catch and now Sendle.
Working for companies in key markets like India, the US, Singapore and Australia has made me a global thinker. I have been incredibly lucky to meet and work alongside some wonderful people which has made my journey truly rewarding.
In my current role at Sendle, I work with a team of impact driven individuals who are passionate about simplifying shipping (parcel delivery) for small businesses.
Shipping is one of the most invisible but critical aspects of eCommerce success when you’re running an online business.
My team and I spend our days and nights collaborating with our global partners, and we work hard to understand and solve the shipping pain points for our small business customers by using our continually evolving technology.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I have always struggled to conform to the nine to five work day, so I don’t follow a strict schedule or have many daily rituals.
Given the nature of my work and our business, no day is ever the same. Having said that, there are certain activities I try and get to interchangeably at least twice or three times a week, including:
- Listening to a 10 minute summary of world news on Bloomberg while making a cup of morning tea.
- Catching up with my Australian and US team over a video call.
- Fasting until 1:30pm while kicking-off a series of meetings, emails and calls.
- Breaking for a smoothie or a quick bite to eat.
- Going for a 30 minute walk in the park or switching it for a 30 minute mid-afternoon nap.
- Spending a couple of more hours on meetings, emails and calls.
- Tending to my little urban garden or stepping out for a short drive to the harbour front.
- Listening to an audiobook, podcast or music.
- Free time for some chores – cooking, family time, laundry and Netflix.
- After dinner, getting back to work calls with our US team or US partners (they happen early morning US time).
- Winding down with light music or 10 minutes of Vipassanā meditation.
Admittedly, it has taken some time but over the years I have learnt to embrace some of my natural traits. For example, I’m a night owl and I get bored of routine so I need to keep changing things up to stay motivated.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Sendle has been a remote first workplace from it’s very inception six years ago. Our remote first policy has been one of our big propositions for attracting some of the best talent, and creating an efficient and future ready workforce.
Personally, I love the idea of working from home or remotely because it allows me to follow my own irregular routine.
Flexible working has the potential to positively impact the environment by reducing our carbon footprint (via reduced office space, daily commuting, traffic congestion, and work related consumption activities) and shaping better long term habits.
However, the flip side of zero in-person interactions is that it can be very limiting and isolating. I think this new working from home phenomenon will change the way we form interpersonal relationships and do domestic and international business.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I believe there are two critical things one must focus on to achieve work-life balance.
Physical and mental well-being: developing a deep understanding of your own body and mind, and doing what’s needed to keep them both relatively healthy and balanced.
Actively seeking purpose: we often start a role or career with a purpose in mind. Over time, that purpose and its personal significance can wear off and we can feel stuck and eventually it may lead to misery. I feel it’s important for me to question why I am doing what I am doing ever so often to ensure I remain motivated and content.
Needless to say, both these actions are easier said than done and I am still on my personal journey to get better at maintaining this balance.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Because I find it hard to form habits in the truest sense, I would say that making some big changes like becoming more diligent with my 15 hours, fasting, taking afternoon naps, and switching to a more fruits and fibre based diet on most weekdays have helped me adapt my routine during COVID, especially now that I’m no longer travelling for work all the time.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I know it’s not cool to say this in the knowledge industry, but I struggle with ADD and have never managed to finish reading an entire book. Listening to audiobooks and podcasts work best for me. A couple of notable ones I listen to:
- The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
- How to Change your Mind by Michael Pollan
- Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
- Defiance by Peter McCormack
- Marketplace by Kai Ryssdal
- The Third Industrial Revolution: A Radical New Sharing Economy
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
There is nothing man-made I can’t live without. However, I do prefer to have my MacBook and phone with me most of the time. I have a couple of favourite apps:
- Pocket (saves articles to read or listen to later).
- Blinkist (summarises non-fictional books into 15 minute audio files).
- Deepstash (self-improvement and micro-insights).
- Evernote (note keeping and my back-up brain).
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
An interview on work-life balance with Donald Trump would be a good laugh I’m sure. I would read it and then pretty much do the opposite.
But on a more serious note, Doctor Devi Shetty is one of the world’s most respected cardiac surgeons and has performed over 15,000 heart operations. His insights would be invaluable.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I think Mark Twain summed it up best – “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Working hard on something you don’t care about is stressful but putting your efforts towards something you really enjoy is always fulfilling.
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