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Balancing the Grind with Sandra Brigitta, Scrum Master at TruTrip

Sandra Brigitta, Scrum Master 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?

Although I graduated as a Biotechnologist, I started my career as a Graduate Trainee at HM Sampoerna (one of the affiliates from Philip Morris – tobacco company), in the IT department. It was challenging as I didn’t have any background in IT at that time so every day I was always learning new things, and thus improving my capabilities to adapt.

At that time too, I began to learn about Agile and Scrum and became interested. I certified as a Professional Scrum Master on my own.

Knowing that the company direction for the IT department was to be more technical and at that time the company didn’t have the role that I wanted (Scrum Master or Project Manager), I decided to resign after 2 years working.
It was already a pandemic era and it took me a few months to land another job.

I joined Serasi Autoraya (one of Astra Group) as Scrum Master for 6 months, before I joined TruTrip now in the same role. TruTrip is my first time joining a startup!

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

Usually, my morning will start with reading or listening to music or any other activity that helps me get in the right mood before work. I usually lead a call with the team in the morning.

Therefore, I want to give the team the right energy to start the workday. We call it daily standup, which is nice because we start the day by greeting each other and talking about our progress and issues. This ensures that the team has enough visibility to each other, what others need, our priorities.

After that, I usually check on our tasks, locate any issues, and work to maintain the team performance. At lunch, usually once or twice a week, I will hit the gym.

In the afternoon, it’s either another Sprint event that ensures the team reaches the goals that we want, evaluating our performance from past sprints or updates from the team. I take time to connect with our team members, gather input on our performance and how we can improve. At this time too, I usually prepare for next week’s retrospective and analyze our past performance results.

In the evening, it’s usually family time or I go out with my friends. I also give myself time to maybe play games and read books. My day usually ends with writing a journal before sleep.
Some days, my team members and I plan workdays where we work together in a common space. This helps to get to know the team better despite working from home.

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

Yes, this is one of the greatest things that I like about my current job. It plays a big role in my life because, living in Jakarta, I used to take 90 to 120 minutes at least to commute to office and it can be stressful.

My current role allows me to work wherever I want, I can sometimes hang out with my colleagues in a cafe while working, and I can be more flexible in deciding my workout and hangout plan. It gives me more time, not only to explore myself but also to give more thought to what I’m doing.

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

I am a believer that work and life can’t be divided. I believe that our work is part of our life too, therefore for me, having a job that motivates me to wake up every morning is important. Thankfully, I landed a job in IT that lets me engage with people too.

We need to remember that our work is a part of our life but not the entirety of our life. I’ve been in that state of mind where work took up all my focus and I neglected my other social needs.

Getting to know my “sweet spot” of when to work, how much, and when to just take a break and enjoy life has been key.

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

I started journaling every day (okay, I sometimes skip this but no more than 3 days) since the beginning of 2021. It helps me gather my thoughts, reflect on my day, how I feel, identify activities that give me energy and those that drain it.

Through journaling, I learn more about myself, how to achieve my goals and give the right energy in what I do.

As a scrum master, because we’re involved with people, I don’t want to give them bad energy when they’re interacting with me. Journaling helps me too to review my mistakes and improve myself.

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

A Woman Makes a Plan by Maye Musk – People might only see her as the mother of Elon Musk, but truly, her great grit and perseverance are something to be looked up to.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb – An easy-to-read and heartwarming book. Reminds me that it’s okay to reach out to people when you’re having trouble and that everyone has the capability to be better.

Podcast by Jay Shetty, I’m a huge fan of Jay Shetty and his work really inspires me to get to know people better. His podcast helps me to be centred, know what I want, how to get through tough times, and how to be true to myself.

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

No specific app, but I think my life would be so flat without music. In this case, I use my phone and Spotify.

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

Tough question, but I would say Jay Shetty. Through the story of his life, I have learned that work-life balance looks different at every stage of life. Right now, my work-life balance involves delivering high-performance results at work while still hanging out with my friends, or travelling.

But I’m sure it will need a “re-balance” when there’s a change in my life, for example when I start a family or take on another big challenge for my self-growth.

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

There are mainly three things that have helped me and I want to share them:

  • I’m exactly where I need to be. No matter the condition you are in, whether optimal or challenging, just believe in yourself. You can get through it and learn from it. One day when you look back, you will be glad you went through the journey and how it prepared you for your next chapter.
  • If you think you will regret not doing something, then just do it! Take small steps at first and if it feels right, go for it.
  • Taking a break and gathering your thoughts is not wasting time. Care for your mental health.

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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.