Anshiqa Agrawal is a Venture Analyst at Wavemaker Impact, the first VC backed climate venture builder in SouthEast Asia.
Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?
I started off as a computer engineering graduate, with experience in product design and an understanding of the intersections between design, tech and society. So, I was always very inclined towards thinking about how we can build solutions to fit the exact problems that the exact communities face.
Additionally, on a subconscious level, I think I had always known that the climate scene is where I needed to be, with my projects consistently revolving around big societal issues – including recycling, natural disasters and airline food wastage.
Today, all of that has led to working at Wavemaker Impact as a Venture Analyst, supporting the build of transformative ventures in the climate tech scene, to abate 10% of global carbon emissions by 2035. This is something that doesn’t just happen by accident, rather by design and being in this field, using my skills to accelerate a more sustainable future is vastly meaningful for me.
We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?
A typical workday often looks like working on multiple different things on the same day, ranging from venture building to design work to getting on a networking call with people in the scene. I think each of these usually add value to our overall goal so, it’s not something that I lament.
A recent workday was quite replete with discussions and focus times for me, which I always take as a big learning opportunity. And getting to work and speak with really knowledgeable people who are equally, if not more passionate about the climate, helps to lighten the day.
Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?
In terms of work-life balance, I mostly keep my weekends dedicated to my friends, personal classes I want to take, movies, reading and other casual things. I think I realised that personally for me, being stressed all the time just lowers my overall productivity, so I try not to stress about all the problems in the world because that really doesn’t help anyone.
One thing I also make a point to do is to finish as much as I can during working hours so there’s nothing I feel I need to do afterwards. This additionally helps because I can go to sleep satisfied about the things I’ve accomplished in the day and have a restful sleep.
Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?
I think the covid lockdown had blurred the lines between working and non-working hours for me, because there was no transition between work and home in a third space, like a train ride. So, I tended to continuously feel like I had to be doing something work-related but that became draining quite fast.
Particularly in college, I would also see some of my friends burning the midnight oil and began feeling a tacit pressure to do the same. Just seeing how I would feel tired in the day and less motivated to do things, was really quite the point when I realised this did not work for me at all.
So last year, I really decided to prioritise my personal time and space by making it a point to close my laptop and sleep early. If I’m working from home, I also generally do something away from my laptop – like exercise, go for a long walk or to the mall with friends to influence a shift in mindset towards more personal and relaxing things to re-energise for the next day.
We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?
Talking about transitioning mindsets for segregating responsibilities at work and towards myself, The Third Space by Dr. Adam Fraser was really helpful to me. It’s a light read yet highlights something super important.
Another one I love is Be a Triangle by Lily Singh, because I feel the advice she gives is very relatable and things that I can do myself, like diy-ing a vision board to keep sight of what’s meaningful to me.
Other than that, I find some quotes really end up sticking in my mind, like this one by L.R. Knost, which put in simple words something I never grasped until then – “Taking care of myself doesn’t mean me first, it means me too”.
Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
These are more insights through observations. I’ve genuinely realised it’s generally good to not follow trends blindly just because everyone seems to be doing it. Because what works for some people may not work for everyone. It’s good to do what works best for you, and if you’re not feeling it, try to change it up!
It’s totally ok to listen to your gut feeling and try new things that enable you to achieve your personal goals for the day. I think understanding and accepting what didn’t suit me, really helped me make some positive changes, so I really believe in that as a great stepping stone.
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