Guadalupe Lazaro is the co-founder at Ease Healthcare, a venture-backed digital health startup focused on revolutionizing access to women’s health by making it more convenient, affordable and discreet.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I studied anthropology with a focus on gender and sexuality at Singapore’s Yale-NUS college, and have been in the country for the last 6 years.
I’ve always been an activist for women’s rights and women’s health, and have volunteered at various organisations back home in Argentina. One stint I particularly enjoyed was working on campaigns related to sexual and reproductive rights with Amnesty International.
Post-university, I worked as a marketing consultant before launching Ease Healthcare with my co-founder. Setting up Ease was inspired by our own experiences of facing stigma and barriers when trying to access sexual and reproductive health services in Singapore.
This often ranged from uncomfortable encounters at clinics to spending hours of our day in line at the clinic for a birth control refill. Through Ease, we want to address these gaps in the industry and transform women’s health in Asia for the better.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I usually start my day at around 7am, get ready and head straight to the office. I start my day by reviewing work from managers at Ease, answering emails and Slack messages. This goes on until about 1pm, before I take a break and grab lunch outside of the office. Oftentimes, my lunch breaks are spent brainstorming with my co-founder, Rio.
After lunch, this is when I usually schedule meetings with partners and colleagues. From 5pm onwards, I like to focus on my own projects such as presentations for new partners or brainstorming new business verticals.
I have dinner at around 9pm and usually either read a book or watch a show. I’ve also been trying to exercise more often, and tend to have more time for this at night. My days end at around midnight or 1am. I try my best to catch between 7 to 8 hours of sleep everyday to function well.
3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
As a founder, it’s admittedly challenging to fully disconnect from work, even during my off days or after working hours. But work-life balance for me is about being conscious of my limits, listening to my needs and challenging myself to incorporate positive changes until they become a habit (like sleeping well and getting 7-8 healthy hours of sleep).
Doing this has allowed me to take breaks when I need to and prioritise things like my mental health and incorporating healthy habits, such as running, into my routine to disconnect.
4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Last year, I challenged myself to wake up at 5am for a few months to extend my working hours and have more time to myself for exercise and to destress. This unfortunately backfired as I ended up sleeping only between 4 to 5 hours per night. I found that my productivity decreased as I was tired by 4pm.
I did, however, start making the most out of this tool called Trello. I started listing down my to-do list on a Trello board, regardless of priority. This ranged from more pressing matters such as high-priority meetings and completing urgent tasks at work, to smaller tasks such as writing to or emailing someone.
I started this because I have a lot on my plate, and sometimes at the end of my day, I feel like I didn’t really accomplish much. Looking at my Trello board reminds me of all I’ve accomplished within the day, and it also serves as a reminder that I can only realistically get a certain amount of tasks done per day.
5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Some of my favourite podcasts are Freakonomics, The Diary of a CEO, and People I Mostly Admire. For books, I would recommend Hooked by Nir Eyal for those in the product-building scene, and The Crux by Richard Rumelt for all the leaders looking to level up on business strategy.
6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I don’t think work-life balance is about forcing that balance but about being conscious of your actions and how they impact your health and wellbeing. Being conscious means regularly evaluating your priorities and wellbeing to assess whether things are working for you or not. Then, it’s about being able to make conscious changes to fix those things in order to achieve a more balanced routine.
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