Leaders Who Thrive//

“There are No Shortcuts to Any Place Worth Going”: Tejas Parulekar

The banker-turned-entrepreneur on handling the pressures of her 24x7 job

Tejas Parulekar (Photo: Nilesh Dighe)
Tejas Parulekar (Photo: Nilesh Dighe)

Tejas Parulekar, who co-founded vacation homes platform SaffronStays in 2013, believes that entrepreneurship liberates women from the “shackles and stereotypes of the corporate world”. Tejas, a former banker, worked at ICICI and HSBC before starting her company. And although entrepreneurship is a 24×7 job and work-life balance a myth (according to her), Tejas says one can make the journey easier by prioritising what’s important, breaking down tasks into smaller ‘wins’, and not being afraid to ask for support when one needs it.

Working the occasional graveyard shift and responding to 3 a.m. emails are all part of her job, but Tejas believes that such things are a problem only if they become a regular part of one’s routine. The mother of two also values her evening unwinding routine. An early sleeper, Tejas avoids the overstimulation of Netflix or television and reads a book to prepare herself for a full night’s sleep. Her other recharge mantras are speaking to a loved one, watching a movie or going for a swim. Here’s more from Thrive Global’s interview with Tejas Parulekar.  

Thrive Global India: Are crazy schedules and lack of work-life balance inevitable for an entrepreneur, or can these be managed?

Tejas Parulekar: I do not believe in the concept of work-life balance. At any point of time, one is always outweighing the other. As long as you know what’s more important in a particular moment and prioritise that aspect of your life, you will be at peace with your decisions. As an entrepreneur, work is 24X7 and permeates everything you do.

TGI: Have you ever felt burnt out? How did you cope?

TP: No. But I feel close to it many times. At such times, I fall back on things I like to do, like swim or read a book. Watching movies or just meeting friends and family has a very positive effect on me.

TGI: Do you have a productivity or motivation hack for when your to-do list gets overwhelming?

TP: I like to break my to-do lists down to simple, achievable, quick wins. It gets easier then. I also seek help from colleagues, co-workers, friends in getting some tasks done. I like to say that taking support is not a sign of failure.

TGI: What’s your favourite movie or book, and why did it leave an impression on you?

TP: Well, my favourite movie is Andaz Apna Apna simply because there’s a dialogue for every situation in life in that movie. Among serious movies, I love Shawshank Redemption, as it depicts the power of hope and triumph of the human spirit against despondence.

TGI: What is your personal policy towards gadgets when working or at night-time?

TP: I try and not work on Sundays by not checking the phone. Since I am an early sleeper, I tend to keep data off and sleep soundly.

TGI: In the 24×7 global workplace, how should a business leader deal with midnight teleconferences or urgent 3 a.m. emails?

TP: As long as urgent 3 a.m. emails or midnight telecons are only to deal with emergencies or tight deadlines, it’s fine. If they become ‘business as usual’, you are clearly doing something wrong.

TGI: How do you combat self-defeating thoughts and stay positive?

TP: You are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with. As an entrepreneur, one goes through extreme states of euphoria to despair, all in the same day. So I call a friend or my parents, and their voices calm me down. Even mundane discussions about things like “What did you eat for lunch today?” help. In difficult times I tell myself, “This too shall pass”.

TGI: If you could give your younger self any life advice, what would it be?

TP: The best is yet to come; hang in there.

TGI: How does sleep (or the lack of it) impact your productivity and energy levels at work?

TP: I absolutely need my sleep to recharge. If I miss my sleep for long durations, I tend to be snappish and not easy to be around.

TGI: Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve your sleep.

TP: I avoid watching Netflix/TV at night. The tricks I used on my babies to get them to sleep, work on me now! Read a book, take a soothing bath and don’t watch TV to avoid over-stimulation.

TGI: Your favourite work-related philosophy is __.

TP: “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going”.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- Marcus Aurelius

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