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Interviews / Product Managers

Balancing the Grind with Iana Guzhyk, Product Manager at Merch38

Iana Guzhyk is a Product Manager at Merch38, a New York-based startup helping businesses and brands profit more by selling personalised merchandise.

We’re looking to partner with companies that share our passion to promote healthy work-life balance around the world. Get in touch with us!

1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

My name is Iana, I’m a Product Manager at NYC based startup Merch38.

I was born and grew up in Ukraine. Graduated from Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture. My profession is an Engineer of water supply and sewage systems and unfortunately or fortunately I didn’t practise the profession even one day.

At that time I did not find myself as an engineer and started simply finding what I would like to do in my life. I was developing communication skills, learning languages, trying different courses and growing a personality.

I believe that nowadays people should be multifunctional: it’s not enough to be cool in only one industry, know just one language. Those tasks and the flow of information that we encounter every day requires completely different skills and abilities from us.

Today I work for a company that has a cool mission: bring a personalization and customization into the merchandise world.

It’s a time for people to express themselves through the merchandise with personal messages, not with branded slogans. We also strive to reduce all-consuming consumption and consume only according to our actual needs.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I love to wake up early. I’m a morning person and it’s the most productive time for me. Every day starts for me from a glass of water, morning exercises and delicious breakfast with reading the news portal.

I always start the work from the most important things to do: it’s a multitasks process: work with clients, discuss new projects, work for a content, check merchandise production, etc.

Those who worked for a startup know that it’s a huge mass of information and endless flow of process and tasks that you have to work with. But the main thing is to enjoy your job and find your own work-life balance.

I am always glad to find time for a walk and evening training. Perfect relaxing evening for me is a good movie with good company or a beloved one (I hate watching a movie alone).

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

I’ve been working from home for over two years and must admit that working in pyjamas and creating my own schedule is the most challenging things about working remotely.

Over the years, I’ve worked out some useful tips on how to set myself for a productive workday that I would be happy to share with you.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

If you have the same issue and struggling with balance while working from home, here are my best been-there tips.

Make your workday work for you

It’s time to establish boundaries and create work rules for yourself. An at-home workday can roll into an all-day workday if you aren’t making proper goals for yourself.

Check your personal habits

Healthy work-from-home habits are the same as any healthy habits. Time to take care of yourself (regular breaks, go on a walk, get social, make exercises).

Create a healthy workspace

One of the easiest ways to create a work-life balance is to segment physical space for each activity. Be sure to shut down and put away your work laptop so that you can relax and changeover easily into the non-working hours.

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?

Today’s world is so fleeting and it’s always difficult just not to lose yourself. I have a simple secret, just follow your desires.

Give yourself some time just to stop and listen to yourself with full attention. Don’t waste time on something that doesn’t make you happy.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I love reading since my school years. I live in the moment and believe that books come into our lives just when we need them. Now I’m reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Harari, Yuval Noah and would definitely recommend it. The podcast I liked recently is by Naval Ravikant.

7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

I think it’s going to be a laugh or smile. I love to laugh. I want to believe that laughter extends your life, while it certainly only brings wrinkles on my face. Life is full of incredible amazing and not so good moments, we are surrounded by success and failures all the time.

If we don’t treat everything with a little irony and humor, it would bring us a lot of pain and difficulties. Take it easy, life is one and it is given to you only once, so don’t spend it by focusing on the problems and more focus on opportunities and success.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

I would read an interview about the work-life balance of everyone. I don’t think that someone works less or more and it is so interesting to have a look at each life: super mom, office clerk, programmer, politician, musician, housewife, student, blogger.

By the way, Hao, what’s work-life balance for you? (Editor’s note: this article is incoming!)

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Enjoy even your most ordinary day. Don’t put off your life, dreams and even little things that make you happy. Always believe in yourself!

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About Author

Balance The Grind gives me a platform to talk to these people about how they're achieving their ideal lifestyle. I'm inspired by the passion, the work ethic, the hustle; and these conversations motivate me to live life the way I want to live it.