Balancing the Grind with Yasar Ahmad, Vice President – Talent at HelloFresh Global

Yasar Ahmad is the Vice President – Talent at HelloFresh Global, one of the world’s leading meal kit company founded in Berlin.

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

My name is Yasar Ahmad, over the past decade, I have helped FTSE 500 to DAX30 companies scale and grow. My career is mainly focused on the people side of businesses. I am currently the Global Vice President of Talent at HelloFresh.

I helped the company scale during the pandemic. HelloFresh is a sustainable meal solutions company with over 25,000 employees globally, and last year alone, we delivered over 1 billion meals to customers. 

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

Typically, the day starts very early with my 3 children as my natural alarm clock. I’m up and ready for the school run before I step into work mode. By working from home, I’ve built a robust routine in place.

I introduced a rule to my team and to myself. 4 hours a day. This means I need to ensure every day, I have 4 hours free during my work day. This is so I can focus. I usually plan my 4 hours a day a month in advance and actually block out the time, so it looks like I have appointments.

This allows me to be more in control of my diary. There is a business saying; “Pay Yourself First” well, time is money. So I always prioritise my focus time first and well in advance.  

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

For me, work-life balance is about distributing your energy. If you put in 100% at work, then what energy do you have outside of work? I feel like knowing that work will take 50% of my energy allows me to plan better.

I no longer think of work as the most intense part of my day. Instead, I see it as an opportunity to utilise up to 50% of my energy. This helps me avoid burnout. 

4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits from changing your life?

Relentlessly prioritising has been a key focus for me over the past 12 months. Being able to focus on things that matter and postponing things that don’t. When I receive an idea, work or even if there is something going on outside of work.

I always ask myself, does this make sense to do now? Is it going to be impactful? That might sound a bit weird when you think of personal life. But if we think about spending time with the family over the weekend or writing that book, I’ve always wanted to.

I have to prioritise at that precise moment in time what’s going to be more impactful for me. This has helped me significantly be happier, content and fulfilled with what I do every day. 

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

My favourite newsletter is the Curiosity Chronicle by Sahil Bloom, and my favourite website for passing time and learning is Big Think. Both provide incredible insights and paradoxes in work and life that have really helped me come to terms with my perspective on many things in life. 

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

Definitely, Satya Nadella. He comes across as a compassionate and thoughtful human being whilst running one of the biggest companies in the world. He had 3 kids, and unfortunately, his son Zain who was legally blind, and quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, passed away this year. As a father, I can’t comprehend that it’s heartbreaking. Thinking about the pressure Satya faces in balancing work and family is inspiring. 

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

This may sound a bit bleak but thinking about death weekly helps put things into perspective. What matters most is a healthy mind. Death reminds us that we don’t have an unlimited clock, and we need to remember there is more to life than work. 

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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.