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Balancing the Grind with Kiran Sidhu, Growth Manager at TruTrip

Kiran Sidhu, Growth Manager at TruTrip, a platform combining travel technology with South East Asia’s travel ecosystem into a travel management solution for businesses of all sizes.

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

As an accounting and finance graduate, I started my career in the treasury department of an international bank. Early on, the connection just wasn’t there and I knew that it wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my career. 

After I came up with a plan 2.5 years in, I went back to school, worked part-time, learnt new things and renewed my perspective. Because of my love for human stories, I looked for writing opportunities and landed a role in tech journalism in 2018. 

In 2021, I was ready for a new challenge and joined the marketing team at TruTrip as Growth Manager. My current role involves content management, SEO, PR outreach and lead generation.

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

I start my day with a shower, and then some news and social media to find out what’s new in the world. Every Monday, I typically set out a sheet with all the tasks I aim to complete for the week with a catch-all section for new ideas too. As the week progresses, I use this sheet to stay on top of my work and prioritise as needed. 

9 AM: On top of articles on business travel management and the future of work, the TruTrip blog also covers the latest travel updates. I create content briefs for our writers based on the interesting updates and other relevant content ideas that I have previously researched. This includes keywords and backlinks.

10:30 AM: Coffee or breakfast snack. I feel better once my workday is in rhythm and have my breakfast to get going.

11 AM: Edit and upload previously completed articles for the blog, post on social media and boost for engagement. 

12PM: Read, reply and send out emails. This ranges from responding to media, seeking content partnerships, scheduling meetings and talking to writers and translators if any content revisions are needed.

1 PM: Lunch break and some family time. 

2PM: Non-process related tasks and ideation. Looking at our goals and milestones, I look for opportunities for growth. This can include audience research, looking at our Google Data Studio for patterns and opportunities and SEO optimisation. 

4PM: Team check-in and update. 

5PM: Wrapping up tasks for the day. I also prepare for the next workday by highlighting 2-3 of my next priorities. 

After 6PM, I try to get some exercise in, shower, have dinner, watch TV or read. Now that movement restrictions have eased, it is also nice to have weekday dinners out or visit friends.

I also spend some nights focusing on my personal goals. Or I edit articles – I know this might seem like a strange way to wind down but I truly enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of a well-written piece. 

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

Yes, in fact, this is my second full-time remote work role. 7 years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined a flexible working arrangement like this one. It has been life-changing for me – I no longer dread long daily office commutes and I’m more driven than ever to give my best at work.

However, having worked remotely for some time now, I also see the benefits of being in the same room with colleagues.

It’s just easier to check in with each other and huddle around the same computer screen to problem-solve. I think the best arrangement is somewhere in the middle combining work from anywhere with timely team meetups. 

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

The work I do is a defining part of who I am and separating that from social conversations or my alone time is next to impossible.

Work-life balance to me is mainly about feeling good about how my time is spent as a whole – this could mean more time spent on work some days and balancing that with downtime on other days.

Planning my weeks, recognising how I feel, and making changes when I need to is my way of getting the right balance. 

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Yes, I started working out regularly and reduced my sugar intake about a year ago. What I like most is that I feel like I’ve unlocked a new side to myself. I used to talk about my low fitness level as if it were a personality trait, but I now realise I was just avoiding change or inconvenience all along. 

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

I gravitate mostly towards fiction when I read – it gives me rest, inspiration and I enjoy creative storytelling. But here are two non-fictional books that have left me with lasting impressions:

  1. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie: Title seems cliche and I picked this up half expecting to be bored. But I was pleasantly surprised at how much I could apply to my own life at the time (I had just lost my mother unexpectedly and felt anxious about my future). I still go back to the learnings from this one every once in a while. 
  2. The Gene: An Intimate History, Siddhartha Mukherjee: Great storytelling and condensing of past research to shed light on our origin story and addresses questions I am curious about but don’t think to ask every day.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Tough one, I probably could live without it all if I tried, but I do rely on my phone a lot. It is how I stay on the ball with work messages, stay connected with friends, spot trends on social media, listen to music, jot down and do quick research when I think of ideas.

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

I would say the average middle-class working mum who is juggling a full-time job, taking care of kids, while achieving non-family-related personal goals. We see women that fit this profile often but hardly hear about their stories, tough decisions and thought process. 

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

Here are just some things I remind myself of when it comes to personal development: 

  • Sometimes, the only difference between Person A staying stagnant and Person B achieving greatness is that Person B said yes and grabbed new opportunities. 
  • In an ever-competitive world, intelligence and skills are not the only ways to differentiate yourself from others. Kindness, work ethic and being easy to work with can go a long way too.
  • Reaching new heights doesn’t matter if it isn’t actually where you want to be. It is important to self-reflect and recalibrate every once in a while.

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.