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Balancing the Grind with Toby C. Shu, Co-Founder & COO at Stayr

Toby C. Shu is the co-founder and COO at Stayr, Asia’s first and fastest growing property and travel startup dealing with real-time spaces.

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

Half a decade long in the marketing industry, I have done plenty from forging strategic partnerships with renowned companies to overseeing the development of business channels. With extensive experience in this field, I Co-founded Stayr.

I am currently the Co-Founder and COO of Stayr. Stayr is Southeast Asia’s first and fastest-growing property/travel startup dealing with real-time spaces.

We are building a digital ecosystem that empowers space providers by enabling them to manage and grow their business using our technology platform, starting with monetizing their empty assets through the hourly ecosystem.

Prior to starting Stayr, I worked with various local companies and global startups, mainly focusing on growth and marketing, and branding.

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

Carpe diem. Although the nature of my job is quite flexible, I keep a disciplined schedule to make sure I am as productive as possible, making the most of the day. 

I have a schedule of waking up at 8 and being at the office at 10 on more relaxed days where I don’t have early meetings. I will go through the things I need to do for the day, making sure I am as productive as I can be. I am always on the lookout for new opportunities for the company, sourcing new deals and interesting ideas to partner with.

During meal times, I have my quick grab of meals by delivery to save time and then I am back on duty. Although it sounds busy, I do take time out of work for my personal life of course. The balance between personal and professional life is important to me to maintain healthy relationships. 

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

As mentioned prior, the nature of my job is actually quite flexible which allows for remote working, and the same goes for Stayr’s employees. Personally, remote working makes it easier for me to hold meetings as it suits everyone’s schedules without making them give up the comfort of home.

In terms of traveling to work, it does not make much of a difference as my place is just beside my office. But I would say it is convenient for our investors, partners and employees.

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

Work-life balance to me currently means juggling my time between my loved ones and being productive for the company. I hustle when I am in the company but I never neglect those I care for, always making time for them whenever possible.

Respecting the hustle culture in Singapore, it is without a doubt toxic sometimes when done overboard. For example, working when sick or burnout is just unproductive as it is not only detrimental to your health, but work produced might not be up to the usual quality standards.

It is of course more productive to take care of our mental and physical well-being by spending some time with our loved ones all while juggling our work duties.

Although I enjoy what I do and have a huge passion for growing my company, I do also value those around me and would want to cherish my time with them.

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

I stopped hitting the gym due to COVID. However, I am contemplating starting it again soon. So far, I have been jogging or cycling every night around my house, intaking the beautiful night sky and view of the area.

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

The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew.

The late Singapore Prime Minister really inspired me. Despite me being a history geek, I am inspired by the ways he transformed a small town into this current global financial hub. It is amazing and so inspiring, motivating me to grow companies that would be renowned globally someday

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

I love watches and I cannot live without them. I am so into automatic watches and I can blab on and on about it! I would say I am a huge watch nerd but honestly, they are an investment so it is productive to obsess over it haha,

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

Kanye West or Elon Musk. Honestly, I look up to the West a lot. Keeping a family (well the time before the divorce of course) and being the successful genius he is, I want to know how he managed to balance that.

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

I am still learning from others and growing along the way for now I’d say. But whatever it is, always hustle while making sure to also make time for those you care for. As cliché as it sounds, you have your whole life to work so prioritize those before you!

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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.