Si Quan Ong is a Singapore-based Marketing Manager at Ahrefs, a company providing SEO tools and resources to grow search traffic.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m currently working as a marketing manager at Ahrefs, the SEO tool that helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and monitor your niche.
I started working in a wearable tech startup as a marketing intern, and later on as the marketing lead. I then became a content marketing manager at ReferralCandy. In mid-2018, I moved to Ahrefs.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I like to start off the day with a cup of coffee and an hour of reading. A big part of my work is writing, so reading a good book primes the pump, so to speak. After reading, I’ll check social media and reply to people (both personal and professional.)
Then, I’ll work on my one big project for the day (usually a blog post.)
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Given current circumstances, we’re all working from home. But prior to this, we were already allowed to work remotely. Generally speaking, I prefer working in the office, since there is a nice work-rest delineation. But I might work from home (or elsewhere) to change up the environment once in a while.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I don’t necessarily believe in work-life balance. You should like what you’re working on and not seek to escape from it. That said, you should schedule downtime in your life.
For me, this is typically outside the standard work hours. It is impossible to focus your brain on hard, creative, knowledge work problems all the time. You need rest so your brain can function better the next day or connect things together subconsciously.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started/stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I’ve started intermittent fasting. I don’t think it has any huge impact on my life to be honest, but it has been a nice way to disentangle hunger from boredom.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I recently finished Will and Ariel Durant’s book The Lessons of History, which I highly recommend everyone to read. There’s a lot we can learn from history that we can apply to life today.
For newsletters and podcasts, I’m a big fan of Shane Parrish’s work.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I do most of my work on my MacBook, so my MacBook for sure. Other than that, Scribd — the Netflix of books — is my favourite app.
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