Arthur Zargaryan is the co-founder at Parcel Tracker, a cloud-based internal package tracking app that uses AI to reduce parcel management time.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I built my first company in 2015 while studying Computer Science and robotics at King’s College London for a BSc. We had recently graduated from the International Baccalaureate. We had gained lots of insights students only tend to do towards the end of the program.
We wanted to package this knowledge and make a product we could sell, so with a friend, we decided to put together an eBook and website. After about a year of running this business, we sold it to a tutoring company.
With some cash on my hands, I decided to start a tech company; that’s how Parcel Tracker was born. We saw with my new co-founders how much time front-of-house/reception staff at our accommodation spent managing deliveries, we saw an opportunity to save them time and decided to build a mailroom management system to automate the delivery handling.
We launched Parcel Tracker in 2016, it took us a long time to get it off the ground as we really didn’t know what we were doing. In the early years (2017 to 2018), we joined the Kings 20 accelerator program. We met lots of amazing people and embedded ourselves into the start-up community, where we learned a great deal from the community.
After graduating from Kings College, I studied Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering at Imperial College London for my MSc, all while running Parcel Tracker.
My role at Parcel Tracker touches upon everything. I work on product management, research, sales and operations. A bit of a jack of all trades.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My day always starts the evening before; I plan the day ahead of me with a prioritised todo list of my business and personal goals/todos.
The next day I’ll fight myself out of bed, wondering why I went to be so late. I’ll stumble my way to my desk and have my first stand-up of the morning with my co-founders at 8:45. After which, I’ll grab a coffee and have my second stand-up of the day with the sales team. I rarely work out of the office and usually do WFH.
I’ll then spend 30 minutes answering emails and then focus on my P1 work done before Lunch. I usually continue working and rarely have meetings unless they are sales calls I’m attending throughout the day. We try to minimise encounters to maximise time for deep work.
Between 5 and 7 I try to complete a unit of exercise, usually Tennis, GYM, or Jiu Jitsu. I’ll then have dinner and go back to work until I go to bed. Before heading off to sleep, I plan the next day and take the time to reflect on the current one. I log my expected performance vs my actual performance and write a mini 2-3 sentence diary entry. This is my way of meditating/journaling and grounding myself.
My days are broken down into 3 parts during the week: work, eat and exercise. While this type of day to day lifestyle might be conducive to burnout, exercising daily helps one last in the long run.
The instant release of dopamine after a session of exercise can offset the long periods of hard work that yield no results while running a business. Working all day long would also be difficult if you have a family and children.
Working hard during the week leaves my weekend to me. Sometimes I choose to work, usually, my weekends are reserved for friends and BBQs.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
In my opinion, the work-life balance is not a metric of how much time you have off. Instead, it’s a measure of how much you can work, remain healthy and not neglect non-work related things.
Staying healthy is a multifaceted challenge. It includes both mental and physical health. Mental health is constituted of how much time you spend with friends, family and what type of psychological strain you put on yourself.
Physical fitness consists of how much time you spend moving and being active. Sleep also comes into the mix, as it can impact your health in a very holistic manner.
The real metric for me is: “how much can I work while feeling well”. I try to sleep enough (this still needs a lot of work), exercise, eat well and stay mindful not to stress. This allows me to work more, have a balanced life and not feel guilty when I take time off work.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I’ve worked hard to improve my mindfulness regarding stress and keeping in mind that running a business is a marathon.
I’ve also started leaving my phone in the bedroom. I’ve offloaded all business calls on the Aircall on my computer, so no need to have any distractions around me.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
My favourite books:
The E-Myth Revisited: Entrepreneurial myth explores the myth that technical expertise in your domain would make you good at running a business in the said domain. Instead, the book focuses on explaining how building systems are the key to operating a business well.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: A book about entrepreneurship and the insane stuff you will have to go through. It’s motivating and will increase your threshold to adversity just knowing what some people go through.
What You Do Is Who You Are: A book by the author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things. Explores how to build a culture at your company using some less than obvious historical examples. A fabulous read for anyone building teams.
Acquired Podcast: Best business podcast out there. Ben and David do some of the best research I’ve ever seen and go over leading companies, their business models and how they’ve become so iconic!
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
- Krisp: Removes background noise when on video calls such as Zoom.
- Mail Tracker: Email tracking tool that shows you when emails have been read, much like WhatsApp style and shows you when others send tracked emails. Great to see if people are ignoring you or haven’t received the emails yet, a cornerstone of my inbox.
- Calendly: Most likely the number one tool in my portfolio. It’s for booking/scheduling demos and even internal meetings.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I’d be curious to read one from Julius Caesar or Napoleon. Particularly a comparison between their daily routines in peace vs wartime.
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 different for everyone, it depends on their motivations, interest in the work they do, the momentum their work has and the stage of life they are in. Try not to stress and compare yourself to others, stay healthy and godspeed with your ventures.
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