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The one-third rule and how it helps Smita Jatia in her life

Smita Jatia, the vice chairperson of Westlife Foodworld on how she manages time

Smita Jatia, vice chairperson at Westlife Foodworld.
Smita Jatia, vice chairperson at Westlife Foodworld. (Courtesy Westlife Foodworld)

Before she joined McDonald’s India, Smita Jatia had her hands full as a young mother of two. Then arrived the opportunity to start a career at McDonald’s, which she fondly refers to as her “third child” today. 

“I was both excited and slightly nervous because I had never worked before and this was going to be an additional responsibility. Since my children and the business both were at a nascent stage, it required a lot of nurturing and attention,” says Jatia, vice chairperson at Westlife Foodworld that runs the McDonald’s chain across west and south India. 

While Jatia initially assisted her husband Amit, chairperson at Westlife Foodworld, with organizing events, she joined the business and led marketing after a suggestion from a partner. It was in the early days that she learned the importance of efficient time management. With her family’s support, she also pursued an Executive Management Program from Harvard University.

Also Read: Jayant Rastogi on why he left the corporate life 

The initial challenge when she joined as marketing lead was to add a local touch to the globally-established restaurant chain. Jatia considers the introduction of the McAloo Tikki Burger to be a significant turning point that struck a chord with the Indian palate. Nurturing the next generation of leaders is what Jatia considers her biggest achievement during the various roles, like strategy, operations and HR, she’s adapted to at the organisation.

“I’ve learned how to break mental barriers, embrace resilience and stay focussed on my commitments. Ultimately, I emerged as a happier and more confident individual, contributing to growth at work while raising two wonderful children,” she says. 

Jatia talks to Mint Lounge about the significance of balance in her life.

Who do you consider your mentor? 

Learning is a continuous process and I take inspiration from everyone. While I look up to advice and guidance, not having a role model lets me explore my own boundaries and capabilities. Each individual is an outcome of their own environment. 

What are some of the productivity principles you follow that have made your life much easier? 

I believe one-third to be a significant fraction in life. We should dedicate a third of our time each day to work, personal responsibilities and ourselves, respectively. For me, this number stands for balance in every sphere—physical, mental, and spiritual.

What’s the one positive work routine you have developed during the pandemic? 

Managing time is essentially for consistency in life. I ensure that meetings start and end on time, which keeps everyone focussed. This respect for time streamlines my workday, and helps maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

Also Read: Shakedeal's Santosh Reddy on how to maintain a good work-life balance

Any book or podcast you would recommend about mentorship and growth? 

I personally find great wisdom and guidance from the Bhagavad Gita. Its profound teachings infuse a growth mindset, provide real-world perspectives and offer insights into life’s dilemmas.

Monday Motivation is a series in which business leaders and creative individuals discuss their mentors and their work ethics

Shail Desai is a Mumbai-based freelance writer.

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