Balancing the Grind with Mubin Yousuf, CTO & Co-Founder at Navi Medical Technologies

Mubin Yousuf is the CTO & Co-Founder at Navi Medical Technologies, a medical device start-up that aims to provide solutions for improving vascular access procedures in newborn babies. 

Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?

I am a Biomedical Engineer with a Master’s Degree from the University of Melbourne. My career journey began in 2017 when I graduated. Following graduation, I joined the heart research group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute as a research engineer.

Concurrently, I co-founded a paediatric medical device company called Navi Medical Technologies. In 2018, I transitioned to Navi full-time, where I have been since. Currently, I hold the position of Chief Technology Officer at Navi, where I continue to contribute to the development of innovative medical solutions for children.

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?

A typical busy workday for me can encompass a wide range of activities. It often involves coordinating and meeting with vendors, working on software development, engaging in rapid prototyping, and even visiting hospitals to collect crucial clinical data.

To provide a specific example from a recent workday, yesterday was quite eventful. I spent part of the day coordinating the delivery of our next-stage proposal with one of our product development vendors. Later in the day, I got busy implementing algorithms into one of our products.

In addition, I had the opportunity to pitch a clinical study design to the team that could potentially lead to high quality data generation for regulatory submission in a shorter time frame. This dynamic blend of activities keeps me engaged and driven in my role at Navi.

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

Work-life balance, for me I guess, is about setting clear boundaries between work and personal life. When I’m at home, I disconnect from work-related tasks, and I use a variety of indoor and outdoor activities to recharge.

For e.g. Thursday nights are my guitar sessions and Saturday mornings are either badminton or swimming lessons. Efficient time management during work hours also helps me maintain this balance and it has become quite critical in the recent months as we are getting close to some critical milestones and are juggling greater than usual number of tasks at a single time. Open communication with colleagues has also helped support these boundaries and has ensured a well-rested and productive routine.

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?

As a startup founder, the norm is often to put in extra-long hours, even on weekends. However, over time, I’ve come to realise that while these extended hours may provide short-term benefits, they can have detrimental effects on one’s long-term well-being, often leading to burnout. I personally experienced a significant burnout episode last year, which prompted me to take a month-long vacation back to my home country, Pakistan.

This break was incredibly restorative and allowed me to plan for a more sustainable approach this year. One of the key changes I’ve made is in how I delegate tasks within the team. While it does require an initial investment in time to get team members up to speed on our processes, I’ve found that this short-term effort is well worth the long-term benefits.

Additionally, we’ve introduced more frequent catch-ups/stand-ups to ensure that important information doesn’t slip through the cracks. These periodic check-ins have proven invaluable in maintaining team alignment and preventing miscommunications.

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?

I don’t have a particular podcast or newsletter that I follow for work-life balance guidance. My inspiration largely comes from the people I interact with in my daily life. If I were to choose a notable figure as a source of inspiration, it would be Marques Brownlee (MKBHD).

He’s well-known as a tech YouTuber, but what sets him apart is his dual identity as a professional frisbee player. Although he doesn’t explicitly delve into the topic of work-life balance, his lifestyle serves as a nice reference for me that sits at a nice intersection of two entirely different activities.

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?

I guess, it is important to remember that work-life balance is a personal pursuit and what works with one person might not work with another. The essential factor is discovering a balance that resonates with your unique priorities and values that could lead to a fulfilling and rewarding life both at work and outside.

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.