Vishnu Pillai is the Co-Founder of MANHAT, a deep technology startup based in the United Arab Emirates; focusing on “natural water distillation” patented technology for sustainable water and floating farm solutions.
Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?
Upon completing my post-graduation studies, I launched my career as a researcher and was fortunate to have worked with research centers and universities across the globe, including France, the UK, India, the UAE, and Australia. Following my tenure as a research engineer in the UAE, which spanned nearly 6 years, I embarked on a startup journey, which has been my primary focus for the past two years.
Recently, I was granted an Australian Global Talent visa, which has enabled me to explore opportunities in Australia. Currently, I am situated in Victoria, where I aim to leverage the country’s favorable intellectual property (IP) laws, advanced research facilities, and know-how in the Agtech space to accelerate our research and development (R&D) efforts. We have already secured a patent for our technology in Australia, and our goal is to establish an office here to further strengthen our presence in the region.
We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?
After recently relocating to Melbourne with my family, I am currently dedicated to furthering my research career and establishing our startup in Victoria. In pursuit of these goals, I am engaging with various stakeholders across Australia to identify potential opportunities for accelerating our operations in the region.
Furthermore, I am interested in utilizing my connections within the MENA region and startup ecosystem to explore additional opportunities during my stay in Australia. By leveraging these resources, I hope to further strengthen our position in the local market and establish fruitful collaborations that will drive our startup’s growth and success.
Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach to maintaining it?
For me, work-life balance means having the ability to manage my work responsibilities while also being able to spend quality time with my family, engaging in hobbies and personal interests, and taking care of my physical and mental health. To achieve this balance, I have developed a few strategies that work well for me.
Firstly, I set clear boundaries between my work and personal life. I prioritize my tasks and ensure that I complete my work during designated hours, allowing me to dedicate my free time to my family and personal interests.
Secondly, I practice effective time management. I plan my day in advance, identifying the most important tasks that require my attention and breaking them down into smaller, manageable chunks. This approach helps me stay on track and avoid procrastination, enabling me to complete my work within a set timeframe and freeing up time for other activities.
Finally, I make sure to take care of my physical and mental health. This involves getting adequate rest, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and engaging in activities that help me unwind and reduce stress.
Overall, I believe that maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for our well-being and happiness. By prioritizing our personal lives and investing time in the things that matter most to us, we can lead fulfilling and productive lives both at work and at home.
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?
Change is an integral part of life that is inevitable and necessary for personal growth. Accepting that change is a constant factor can be a significant realization for individuals, as it can help them embrace new opportunities and adapt to changing circumstances more easily.
By embracing the idea that change is constant, individuals can make lifestyle modifications that can significantly improve their work-life balance. For example, they can learn to prioritize self-care and ensure they dedicate enough time to leisure activities and spending time with loved ones.
As someone who values personal growth, I enjoy experimenting with various lifestyle changes and incorporating new practices that can help me achieve a better work-life balance. One such change I have made recently is incorporating meditation into my daily routine. While it is still a new practice for me, I have already noticed positive changes in my mental and emotional well-being.
Meditation helps me focus on the present moment and reduce stress, allowing me to approach my work and personal life with a clear and calm mind. Overall, embracing change and making intentional lifestyle modifications can greatly enhance work-life balance and personal growth.
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?
While reading is not my preferred method of gaining inspiration, I have found that motivational movies and talks by Sadhguru have been instrumental in keeping me motivated and centered. I find these resources to be highly valuable, as they provide me with new perspectives and insights that help me to grow both personally and professionally.
Moreover, I believe that talking to people and learning from their experiences is a great way to gain new insights and broaden my horizons. Whether it’s having conversations with colleagues, mentors, or family members, I always try to actively listen and learn from their stories.
In particular, I have found that talking to older individuals and learning from their life experiences has been incredibly enriching, as it allows me to learn from their wisdom and apply it to my own life. Overall, I believe that staying open to new resources and experiences is key to achieving a balanced and fulfilling life.
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?
One of the most renowned scientists and former President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam once said, “The interest of the client is important, and so is your family. Always make sure to leave the office on time.” Personally, I find this quote to be incredibly inspiring and strive to follow it myself.
Dr. Kalam’s quote underscores the significance of maintaining a healthy balance between professional and personal life. It emphasizes that while it’s vital to fulfill the demands and expectations of clients or employers, it’s equally important to prioritize the needs of one’s family and personal life. By leaving the office on time, individuals can achieve a sense of equilibrium, leading to improved job satisfaction, productivity, and overall well-being.
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