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A Day In The Life: krunch.co's Darren Kirkland

Independent digital marketing agency, krunch.co, combines data, technology and content into measurable business outcomes. Here we talk to its managing director, Darren Kirkland, about how he gets through the day, how he organises his time and how he handles the madness of business.

What time do you wake up?

5:30am on weekdays.

What’s the ideal way to start your day?

Can’t beat a good early start. I take the ferry into Auckland, so get to catch the sun coming up over the city. It’s the best time of the day, hands down, for fresh coffee, thinking and locking in the attack plan for the day ahead.

Do you have any morning rituals?

I buy into the concept of decision fatigue, so I minimise the number of decisions early morning: I have the same light breakfast and long black, a work wardrobe that doesn't require overthinking. I enjoy the freedom of the concept of inbox zero, so I also do a quick review of my inbox. A rapid review to read, action or delegate helps clear decks before I hit the office. Lastly a quick scan of markets and news feeds, sharing anything relevant to our customers with the team.

How soon do you begin doing work-related things, i.e. checking phone or emails?

Normally pretty early. I do a quick check on my phone of email, the day’s appointments and priorities around 6:30am. Getting started early in the day helps set up for good focus on the things that matter most.

What’s your media consumption or interaction like from the morning onwards – do you listen to podcasts, radio, watch videos, read books and magazines, visit new sites?

My media consumption post mornings is fairly limited. I subscribe to a range of email newsletters (HBR, McKinsey), market updates (Morning Brew) and thought leaders (Avinash Kaushik. Google him, he’s brilliant). They’re all great, brief sources of insights and trends. I try to read 6 books a year but only seem to find time to read when travelling.

What kind of work do you do?

I’m the co-founder and Managing Director of a fast growing digital transformation agency called krunch.co.

What’s unique about your line of work?

krunch.co is an independent agency that combines technology, data and content to enable true digital transformation for businesses. We follow a 5-stage process that aims to simplify complexity while maximising measurable business outcomes.

What responsibility does that involve in a typical day? What takes up most of your time?

A typical day consists of spending time with customer senior execs, supporting them through their change agendas, and leading and growing our team and capabilities.

Who do you see/talk to?

I try to get across my whole team on a regular basis to check in and support them.

Where do your best ideas come from?

I’m often inspired after conversations with my team and business partners. This, combined with a number of conferences each year and my reading, is where I get some of my best ideas.  

What are the most important tools or programmes you use for your work?

All the tools we use at krunch.co are cloud-based so that we can ensure best-in-class levels of collaboration across teams and customers. Core to this is the use of Google’s G-Suite, Trello, Slack and OfficeVibe. Personally, I love Evernote (to capture all my meeting notes, presentations, information and thinking) and Wunderlist (world-class to-do lists that we share across teams).

How do you juggle all your responsibilities?

Carefully.

What kind of breaks do you take throughout the day?

I’m probably a little guilty of not taking any breaks through the day.

What’s the most enjoyable part of your day?

Definitely the mornings. Getting stuck in before customers and my team get online is always enjoyable for me.

What about the least enjoyable?

Not sure I really have a least enjoyable part of the day.

Do you procrastinate? Is it good or bad?

No.

Do you measure your accomplishments or productivity? If so, how?

I’ve been hacking my productivity and effectiveness for years. You can’t increase the number of hours in a day, so it’s about maximising what you can get through.

Is there anything you think is unique about your day?

Not that I am aware of.

What’s your interaction with friends and family throughout the day? Can you be both a successful entrepreneur and a good mother/partner/friend?

My interaction with friends and family Monday through Friday during the day is limited. When I’m at work, I work. When I walk in the front door at home, I’m at home. I like Gilbert Enoka’s idea of “be where your feet are.”

Do you get stressed? If so, how do you manage it? Do you practice any mindfulness or meditation?

Yes, I certainly get stressed from time to time. I’m not sure you can push yourself and cut new paths while avoiding stress. I’ve been very fortunate to have had someone invest in me and build skills around resilience and active coping - and I know that I need to get exercise in weekly and eat clean to help manage my body and mind.

What do you do once you get home? Can you switch off?

My ferry ride home helps me clear the day’s action so I can walk in the door (around 7pm) with work done. That allows me to spend some quality time with our 4 fast-growing kids before they crash, and connect with my wife, watch some Netflix and chill.

What time do you go to sleep?

I’m currently fascinated by the application of AI and the use of voice in the home... We’ve set up our Google Assistant to run an auto shutdown of lights around 10:30pm.

Hummingbird keeps the world – and great individuals like Darren – humming.

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