Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Prashant Mohan, Chief Marketing Officer at Sharesight

Prashant Mohan is the Chief Marketing Officer at Sharesight, an award-winning online investment portfolio tracker used by over 300,000 DIY investors and finance professionals in 100+ countries.

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

My current role is CMO at Sharesight. I have been in this role since May 2018.

My career path has not been a linear one. I studied Engineering in university in India, and joined a software technology company as a software engineer. Since then I’ve worked in various roles across technology and finance sectors, including large companies and brands such as Infosys, Philips. Westpac and Google.

My first foray into marketing was at Smartgroup, a car leasing and salary packaging business, where I worked as the Group B2B marketing manager. Since then I worked at Prospa and now Sharesight – where I’ve combined my skills and experience across the technology and finance sectors. It’s been a fun experience, full of learning and experiments.

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

No two days are alike, but I’ll give it a go.  A Monday morning for me looks like this.

6 am: Wake up and have a coffee with my lovely wife.

6.30 am: Head out for a walk for an hour. During this time, I try to catch up on a podcast or music or many times just listen to the birds and nature to help connect with the world.

7.45 – 8 am: Review the previous week’s metrics to assess how our business is going for the month

8 – 8.45 am: Get the kids ready and drop them off at school (usually by walk as we are fortunate to live close to the school)

8.45 – 9 am:  Breakfast and tea to get ready for the day

9 – 9.15 am: Write down my goals for the day. Think of answering what I would be proud of having achieved for the day.

9.15 am: We have a team stand up everyday at this time so we collaborate on deliverables as a team. Also, connect on a collective basis, have a bit of chit chat.

9.30 am onwards – I start having my 1:1s with my team. I talk to them to see how I can help them achieve their goals and work. I try to stack my 1:1s together so that I can have meeting times and then a block of time when I can do something thinking, writing and planning.

12.30 pm: Take a break for lunch. On a work from home day, if my wife is around we catch up at our dining table during lunch. It’s a nice way to break the day.

1 pm: We usually have a leadership team meeting across the business on Monday afternoons. This is when we all discuss business numbers, work to be shipped and all key elements of our strategic roadmap.

2 pm: I have a catch up with my boss for my 1:1. If possible I try to do this as a walking meeting – ie., I walk with my phone and headset on, he does the same. Getting out and moving helps me think so much better.

Oh did I mention that I drink a couple of coffees during the day as well. This usually involves going to the local coffee shop, and I make it a point to chat with the people there. Again, helps in a big way to talk about something completely different to what we would in the work environment.

By 4.40 pm, we bring the kids back from their after school care, and settle into an evening routine. Sometimes, my kids have sporting activities – we are all into basketball, so we need to drive them around wherever the practice is happening.

As a busy working family, we are always juggling between multiple tasks, and it does get overwhelming at times. But the important thing is we support each other emotionally and physically in handling all things associated with family.

We have dinner by 7.30 – 8 pm, and then start winding down for the day. Sometimes, my wife or I need to log in and finish up those niggling little tasks that remained incomplete from the earlier part of the day.

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

Yes, we allow flexible working at Sharesight. We typically go 2 days a week into the city, and work from home the rest of the time. It gives a nice mix and balance of high productivity, social contact, family needs and nurture.

Every morning I wake up with a lovely wife and we have coffee together so we can get some time together before the day starts accelerating. She is an Exec manager at a large Australian bank, so between the two of us, we have our hands full at work and at home.

The days I work from home, I go for a morning walk. The walk is brisk, and helps me start the day with the birds chirping. It helps me connect with nature at a deep level, and witnessing the early morning Sun rise is a beautiful way to start the day.

I then get back home and help get the kids ready for school. I usually walk them to school and my work day begins with a catch up for a morning stand up with my marketing team. We are spread across multiple cities, so it helps us all align our days and also consider any dependencies that we can help each other sort out.

I then have time to catch up with each of my team for 1 on 1s and also many of my peers. There’s a lot of work that needs prioritisation, discussion and negotiation – both internal and external. Achieving alignment is a key step in achieving a state of flow in work.

We make sure we get some time to eat lunch. With work from home being the norm, we get to eat warm to hot food everyday, even if it’s a quick one. I also try to make a habit of having walking meetings over the phone whenever possible. This helps with being in motion, and helps me think clearer. Walking is a really good thing for the mind and body too.

I also make sure to block off some time in my calendar for focussed work. This is really important so that I’m able to achieve uni focus. It takes much less time and we achieve better outcomes when we do one thing at a time. Multi tasking is great from an efficiency point of view, but you end up wasting a lot of time in just switching from one task to another.

In the evening, one of us then picks up the kids, and then we get on with family routines. For example, my older son is into basketball. So it usually means he would have training in the evening, and I drive him to these training sessions while my wife takes my younger son to piano practice. It’s a juggling act for a professional couple with no family here in Sydney.

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

I wouldn’t say that work and life balance as if they were two separate spheres of life. They intertwine into each other and it’s about finding the natural flow between the two parts of your life. Hence I strive for a work life flow. It’s also about focusing on productivity, creativity and family. All families today are juggling with a number of activities and pursuits.

An important activity that we as busy professionals might forget is the concept of self-care. There are soul nourishing activities that help with this. In my case, I play basketball with my mates, and try to do it 2 times a week. If I’m able to achieve that along with a few walks during the week, I feel like I’ve been fair to my family and to myself. To care for others, you need to care for yourself first.

Nurturing relationships and friendships is also very important in this day and age. Some are online relationships – with a thought leader, an author, a course make or that business leader you really admire. There are others that are more in your neighbourhood – the next door neighbours, the people at the coffee shop and restaurants. We need to make time to say hello and have sei-serious conversations. That’s what it is to be human.

The entire world went through this synchronised lockdown and into the world of virtual meetings on video. As we come out of it, returning to and appreciating the small pleasures is important. All those things we missed during the peak of the pandemic – we need to appreciate those same things now that we can actually do those things. Like traveling, meeting friends, and being social.

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

That’s a great question. I think the pandemic and the lockdowns have definitely influenced our lives in many ways. I would say in the last 2 years, I certainly have walked a lot more and a lot more with intentionality.

Incidental walking and exercise is always a great thing – but to complement it with intentional walking, observing nature and the slower things has huge benefits to us all. It constantly reminds me that whatever drama is going on inside my head, if I zoom out, it’s a tiny spec. I hope to keep this going and I am sure the benefits compound themselves over time.

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

My top 3 favourite business books: How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp, Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller, and Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

My top 3 podcasts: Hidden Brain by Shankar Vedantam, Not Boring by Packy McCormick, How I made it by Daniel Burstein

My top 3 newsletters: Grit Capital by Genevieve Roth-Dector, Lenny’s Newsletter by Lenny Rachitsky, The Marketing Analytics Intersect by Avinash Kaushik.

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

I love Evernote. It is my favourite way to take notes, and also take pictures of my physical notes.  I love my Jabra headphones which help deliver all the amazing content from podcasts and audiobooks straight into my ears, and hopefully my brain.

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

I get a feeling not too many people are doing this well. I would love to meet other people who are doing exciting and different things in life.

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

My main message to your readers and even to myself is to be more intentional about life. I am trying to achieve it, but there are so many distractions out there on the internet.

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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.