Arushi Srivastava is the Senior Business Manager, APAC at Adslot, a global provider of programmatic direct technology for premium online display inventory.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I started my career as an ambitious twenty-something undergrad with a Bachelors degree in business, a keen interest in digital marketing, and firm conviction that I could be the next content star in the start-up space. But that belief was short-lived!
After a brief stint as a marketing coordinator at an online gift retailer, I acknowledged that I am better suited as a consumer of content than a creator. A few short courses, extensive research, and countless applications later, I started my career in the world of media and advertising.
Working as an Account Manager at InMobi, enabled me to garner a strong understanding of the media landscape, being at the heart of digital which was a combination of mobile, tech & data. My love for tech and the passion to grow as a commercial leader in the industry landed me my role at Adslot.
In my current role as Senior Business Manager across APAC, I get the opportunity to work collaboratively with our buyside and publisher partners to automate their digital trading workflow, develop and execute commercial strategies to accelerate the growth of our platforms and work with internal stakeholders to drive optimum value for our clients.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I have always really enjoyed having a routine, so I knew I had to quickly come up with an updated routine for the nationwide five-day work from home undertaking. Having said that I also knew that my every day would look very different, a characteristic of my role I thoroughly enjoy.
So I created pockets of routine through the day to give myself the structure I know would help me survive and subsequently thrive. Because the actuality of the situation shouldn’t be overlooked, it wasn’t just working from home, it was working from home amidst a global health and economic crisis, with no end in sight.
Morning – My morning routine really sets me up for the day. With a wake-up time between, 6 -7 am, my day begins with some form of exercise – a run with my dog, pilates or yoga. It is then followed by quickly getting ready because I don’t know about others but I can’t work in my pyjamas.
I then make my breakfast and begin my workday by making my to-do list. I use my mornings to do an inbox cleanse, and prep for any meetings I may have during the day. I had also set up my work desk on day one of lockdown, so I have a way to segregate my workspace from the rest of the house.
Midday – I always take the time to step out to pick up coffee, read an article, do a bit of clean up. Getting some fresh air really allowed me to have a more productive afternoon.
Afternoon – The afternoons, very similar to my morning, is my pocket of productive hours. Apart from meetings, and team catch-ups, I use my late afternoon to make a list of tasks I couldn’t complete in the day. This practice has really allowed me to differentiate between what is urgent and important versus what can wait for the next day – pushing me to switch off at a reasonable time.
Evening – My evenings include taking my dog out for a walk, learning a new recipe, or watching the current favourite on Netflix or prime. Any activity that I know will give my body and mind the much-needed rest, and allow me to be healthy and productive for yet another day.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes, it certainly does, and I appreciate that now more than ever!
Adslot has always cultivated a culture that supports flexible working hours. As a business, it has always promoted a healthy work-life balance and encouraged working ‘smarter’ rather than ‘longer’.
Prior to the lockdown, I did work from home once a week which allowed me to run errands and accommodate meetings across multiple time zones. During the remainder of the week, I had always used the lunch hour to squeeze in a pilates session at a nearby studio.
In addition to that, I have always been a morning person (I know, I am one of those people), I got to start my days early, and get home early so I can take my dog out for a walk. Being able to manage my time in a manner that not just accommodates my day-to-day, but also enhances it, has provided me with an avenue to be my best, most productive self.
At a time where we are struggling to maintain sound mental, emotional & physical wellbeing, having a conscious understanding of smart working has certainly come in handy. I don’t mean to make it sound easy, because it hasn’t been, especially with the lines between home and office blurring (quite literally).
As a recent article in Bloomberg stated, individuals are now working an additional three hours, as the pandemic workday has obliterated the work-life balance. It can be challenging to maintain the notion of a workday when you live where you work.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
As the very wise Elizabeth Gilbert coherently illustrates the beauty of balance – ‘Balance is, and maybe should be a momentary and fleeting condition. We may reach it at certain instances, and it is glorious in those instances. But then the ground shifts under our feet again.’
And that really is the premise I build my practice of work-life balance. I have accepted that on some days I will reach that optimal balance, and topple on the very next day. We are constantly moving, evolving, learning, in a continually changing landscape.
So that is what work-life balance is for me, not having any shame in being out of balance.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Meditation before going to bed has been transformative. I am no master of this novel practise, but it’s the small steps, isn’t it!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I have just completed Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, and Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and I highly recommend them. I am now picking up my next which happens to be Sally Rooney’s Normal People.
If you are someone who enjoys reading weekly articles that spark delight in the form of education, actionable advice, and wisdom that inspires, then I highly recommend following Arianna’s Huffington’s newsletter on LinkedIn.
We live in an era of hyper-connectivity (The irony of the new normal of social distancing is not lost on me) and information overload, so I really enjoy reading books and newsletters that give me an insight into human behaviour and urge me to lead a happier, healthier, more productive and empathetic life.
Also, I am cognizant of the very noticeable women author trend above!
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Would it be too presumptuous to say my yoga mat?
I know I am not alone when I say this, but the only skill set I thought I was coming out of the lockdown with was the ability to exponentially increase my screen time.
So whilst I am wholeheartedly indebted to the creators of Spotify, Facetime, and Pinterest, I have actively tried to convert my screen time into time on my yoga mat, questionable kitchen experiments and watching sunsets.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
SME owners! I am currently drawing inspiration from individuals who are pushing the envelope, creating and implementing concepts with purpose and sustaining businesses in a rather challenging time.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Something I have learnt, and try and practise every day is that your life is not defined by your 9-5. Work is a significant part of your life, and with that in mind, do everything in your life with a slightly slower path, and a lot more love.
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