Being able to multi-task professional and personal things during the day is something Dr Siddhant Bhargava misses about remote work. Back in office and travelling for work, the co-founder of Food Darzee says that everyone’s work expectations have gone up and people are finding it difficult to adjust to the fixed hours one has to spend in office even if they have finished their work.
Mumbai-based Bhargava started the venture, which customises nutritional meals based on an individual’s health requirements, along with three of his schoolmates in 2007. It was his first entrepreneurial venture after graduating from medical school. Bhargava is now working on his second venture, a device that helps diabetic patients manage the ailment.
Bhargava speaks to Lounge about focusing on work ethics, not spending too much time on mundane tasks and taking to walking during meetings.
Who do you consider your mentor?
It would be Anirudh Ganeriwal, one of the co-founders of Food Darzee. He’s been invaluable to my career. He is my friend, business partner and mentor. From partnering with a 22-year-old kid, who had gotten out of medical school and knew nothing about running a business, to start a company to encouraging me almost every day to do better, he believed in me and has been a constant support. He taught me everything about running a successful business like building a work culture, managing employees and handling operations.
One major insight you worked on with the help of your mentor's guidance?
I came to know the importance of work ethics from Anirudh. Earlier, in my head, work ethics meant coming to the office, chilling out a little bit and trying to get the work done. But I learnt that nothing gets done till you get it done. The idea has changed my life. I know now that one has to be on his toes till the work gets done.
What does being a mentor mean to you? How do you mentor your colleagues at work?
A mentor should be a good listener. Only after listening to what a person has to say, should a mentor advise; it shouldn’t be unsolicited. You must be approachable, and people should feel comfortable around you to speak their minds freely. This is what I try to follow when mentoring my colleagues. I try to understand their issues, be it personal or professional, and advise accordingly in the best spirit.
What's your morning schedule after waking up?
After I wake up in the morning, I have some water and check on important messages. Then I spend some time playing the guitar and look out of my window, embracing the new day. This is when I clear my mind of all the unwanted thoughts and focus on what needs to be done at work. I usually don’t have breakfast. I follow intermittent fasting so I eat the first meal of the day at 2 pm. I just take my thyroid medication in the morning, and I am good to go.
What's the one positive work routine you have developed during the pandemic?
I have started to walk a lot in between work. While working from home, I used to get up every half an hour, walk, drink some water and then get back to work. It’s a habit I have continued even now when I am working from the office.
What are your productivity hacks or principles you follow?
There are two. One is I work on managing my time efficiently. You need to practically think over how much each task will require. If you do a task too quickly, there is a tendency to switch off. But if you get delayed in finishing a task, you feel tired and fatigued for the next task at hand. So timing each task is essential.
The other thing I do, and it will sound clichéd, is I don’t waste too much time making mundane decisions. For instance, I have a set number of clothes I wear to work to avoid wasting time deciding what to wear. Similarly, I have a fixed routine to reach the office, which means I know exactly how long it will take. All these small routine things are all well-defined for me.
A productivity hack that didn’t work for you.
It would be waking up at 5 am. I tried doing it for about three weeks and it tired me out. It’s good ‘me time’ but doesn’t work for me. I can’t do any networking or check with my colleague about something or work on my secondary start-up at that time. So, a large part of my work happens at night.
What’s your relationship with food? And which food has excited you recently?
Like most people, I have an emotional relationship with food. I binge on unhealthy food when I am happy, stressed or sad. I have eaten most cuisines and styles to a point where it’s become difficult to appreciate good food. Recently, however, I tried pork belly and bacon mocha ice cream in London. It was a bite-size piece and it blew my mind. I think I have been obsessing over mocha ice cream in recent times.
The one food item I feel is overrated is Sushi. I enjoy it but the quantity it comes in is not enough to satiate my palate or purse.
Monday Motivation is a series featuring founders, business leaders and creative individuals who tell us about the people they look up to and their work ethics.