Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Sukey Xu, Co-Founder & Chief Experience Officer at CHEFIN

Sukey Xu is the co-founder & Chief Experience Officer at CHEFIN, a platform empowering chefs to create unique and unforgettable dining experiences.

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

I came to Australia about ten years ago. After graduating from university, I have worked in a few companies mainly in marketing roles. My last corporate job was as corporate marketing manager for an international brand management company.

About five years ago, I started CHEFIN with a few other partners. CHEFIN.COM.AU is a private chef platform that brings fine dining experiences to private homes and corporate events.

Chief Experience Officer is what my role is called – I look after the customer experience and constantly look into optimizing it, from online to offline.

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

Well, like everyone else, COVID-19 has made a huge change in my life. Actually, without travel for work and unnecessary physical meetings, I feel my day is much more productive.

Now I wake up around 7.30 am, have my morning yoga, dog walk and home-brewed coffee, then I start my day of work.

During my breaks, I take house cleaning and meal prepping to rest my eyes and body. I try to finish work before 8 pm, so I can do a big dog walk with my husband around the home, then from time to time watch a movie or TV series before bedtime. Finally, I love bedtime reading.

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

Of course, that is what a start-up is about – organize your own time and work whenever you need to (basically all the time) and wherever you want, from your living room, bedroom, garage and so on.

You might not be able to afford many material products in the early stage but for sure, you can afford flexibility. I found this wonderful! It should be THE WAY everyone works in this new era.

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

Work-life balance means efficiency to me – be efficient both with work and personal life. We need to recognise we are human so that we need to do what humans do – have a good rest when our body tells us to, and rest our mind so we could be more creative and productive afterwards.

It is easy to say but hard to do. I found out that the most important trick is planning for the day, and then focusing on realizing the plan one task at a time. We also encourage everyone in our team to use time tracking tools, like Toggl. The first step towards a productive day is knowing how you spend your time.

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

Stopped: travel to work and unnecessary meetings.

Started: pick up my piano, I guess.

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

A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari. A great book to learn about human history, the revolutions empowered humans to do something no other form of life has done, which is to create and connect around ideas that do not physically exist (think religion, capitalism, and politics).

If we want to know how everything works in human society, we need to go back to the origin and dig out why we do what we do. This book is a great source for it.

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

Well, laptop and phone, yoga mat, camping gear, my piano, Toggl, BeautyCam.

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

Hmm, my dad. He’s always busy at work but still manages to take care of our family. He’s my hero.

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

The 1st step towards a balanced work-life is to recognise running fast is not always the best solution for work. When you are feeling drained, please stop, breathe and reflect.

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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.