Arun Maharaj is the CEO of HashChing, one of Australia’s fastest growing digital loan platforms allowing consumers access to home loan and business loan deals.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m the CEO of HashChing, Australia’s leading mortgage broker and digital loans platform.
My role as CEO is focused is on leading and motivating our talented team, democratising access to financial products, and creating a truly competitive lending environment in Australia.
I’m a chartered accountant with previous experience in financial services and software development. Working in large corporate banking environments, for example at PwC, provided me with the perfect insight and background knowledge to now be leading an Aussie FinTech company operating in the property space.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My days are generally pretty jam packed.
I’m an early riser and always up by 6am. Between 6 and 7am is what I call “me” time. It’s the one hour in the day where I’m completely free of devices and the outside world. Some of this goes to meditating. I was brought up in a family that really encouraged me to practice mindfulness – it’s an important part of my lifestyle.
I’ll then catch up on emails before doing some sort of physical activity – usually a brisk walk. I try to always sit down for a proper breakfast as I find it helps to really set me up for the day.
By 9am I’m in the office. My days are typically full of meetings. A recent work day consisted of a strategy meeting first thing, followed by an interview with a potential new employee, and then straight into a meeting with our software developers to discuss our tech roadmap going forward.
After a quick lunch break, I had a board meeting, followed by end of year reporting discussions, and then a presentation to a potential new investor.
I attend events in the evening, however as you can imagine, these have been non-existent since the outbreak of COVID-19.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
We’ve always been proponents of remote working at HashChing. Many of our employees already did this on a regular basis, and of course with the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone transitioned to working from home on a full time basis.
We’re now starting to come back to the office, but only where it suits employees and they feel comfortable doing so.
While I enjoy working remotely, and find that it gives me more of an opportunity to experience a level of work-life balance, I am very much looking forward to having regular days back in the office.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
It means setting boundaries, time management, and keeping track of what’s going on around me.
I think it’s so important to really love what you do, and for me, having a health work-life balance gives me just that. I love my job and the work that I do, but I also value having down time to reflect on what I’m passionate about and how I can be even more efficient with my time.
While I put a lot of work into achieving a healthy work-life balance, I don’t always get it right! It’s an ongoing process.
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’ve developed the ability to be patient, and to not let expectations deter my progress, which I think is critical in today’s climate.
I’m also a big advocate of taking ‘mental moments’. We look after ourselves by going for a run, or to the gym, but what I don’t think we do enough of is take mental breaks throughout the day. Sometimes you have to pause and let your mind take a breather. Doing this helps me with productivity, and also to relieve stress.
Finally – live a little. Life is too short to live each day consumed by a job. I don’t ever want to feel like I’m existing rather than living!
6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
One that has always stood out to me is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
I first read it about 15 years ago on a flight back to Sydney from LA. I remember finishing it three hours after take off, and absolutely loving it. It was a profound book for me. It taught me that life isn’t just about getting to a destination – it’s also about the journey.
Another I have to mention is The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma. It’s about how you balance everything in life. I highly recommend it.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
No matter how hectic the day seems, I always take the time to have breakfast. Doing this psychologically charges me up for the rest of the day and I feel in control.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
It would have to be Jeff Bezos. I can’t imagine he has the best work-life balance, however I’d love to know how he manages his time.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Work-life balance is a very interesting topic. It means something different to everyone, and depending on where you are in your life and career, the priority you put on it will probably change.
I think it’s important that you identify how important it is for you, and not compare yourself to others in the process. Social media can be deceiving – you see people having perfect days, gliding through work. Don’t let your goals around work-life balance be too affected by what you see online.
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