What time do you wake up?
If I’m at home, I’ll wake up around 5 to 5:30AM. My cat makes sure of this by climbing all over me. If she gives me the morning to sleep in then my partner Simon wakes me up around this time anyway, as he gets up to work at 5:30AM each morning. If I’m out of town I like to sleep until 7AM.
What’s the ideal way to start your day?
It would certainly involve waking up in my own bed, I don’t take that for granted. Simon would have managed to sneak out to do some work without waking me (and takes the cat with him). I would look at my phone to see no new messages or emails, so take a few minutes to starfish, before getting up and having breakfast with Simon.
Do you have any morning rituals?
Not really. My mornings can look very different depending on what the day ahead looks like, so no ritual has really had a chance to stick around. When I’m taking a 6AM flight (especially if it’s international) I’ll cut it back to the bare minimum of getting dressed, brushing my teeth and staggering out the door. If I’m already out of town it looks different again, so I’d say those are the only two things I do without fail every morning.
How soon do you begin doing work-related things, i.e. checking phone or emails?
As soon as my eyes are ready for the backlight of my phone, so pretty much as soon as I wake up. That said, only my phone is in the bedroom, so if I need to address something more significant then I have to get up to use my laptop.
Procrastination is just a symptom of a bigger problem, so you’re best placed trying to figure out what that is. Given my past experience in jobs prior to Banqer where I was guilty of it, my guess is boredom, or disinterest.
What do or don’t you eat or drink to maintain your performance throughout the day?
I never got into coffee and am fully caffeine free, which I think stabilises my energy levels throughout the day. The only thing I keep an eye out for is too much sugar, other than that I’m fairly easy on myself in terms of what I eat. Usually it’s just making sure I don’t get caught up in the day and remember to have lunch at a decent time.
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 news sites?
I wouldn’t really do anything like this until the evening, unless there was something super relevant to my space that I needed to be across. For that I have Google Alerts set up anyway, so I’m not going looking for media to consume during work time. Say from dinner time onwards I may listen to a podcast, or go on YouTube. The rest of my news I’d get through social media or someone might send a good article via email.
What kind of work do you do?
I lead an education company which has one product – a financial education platform for the primary/intermediate school space called Banqer.
What responsibilities does that involve in a typical day? What takes up most of your time?
We’re a super small team, so I still do pretty much all the start-up things. That means that a typical day could see me talking to 100 kids in a school, or talking to the CEO orboard of one of our partners, or potential partners, here or in Australia. There is a lot of diversity in my role, but we’re starting to better define who does what as we grow. My work is starting to skew more consistently towards strategic planning, partnership relationships, presentations/events, and some product development work. I’m hoping that in the near future, the majority of my time will be spent on strategic planning and activities.
Who do you see/talk to?
The team, our partners that we work with, Banqer’s educators, students, or parents, politicians, advisors, journalists, the list really seems endless. People make up a big chunk of my day really.
What are your surroundings on a typical day?
We work from a co-working space in Christchurch CBD, so 50 percent of the time I’ll be in there getting work done. If not, I’ll be in a cafe/meeting room somewhere making more work for myself.
Where do your best ideas come from?
I think my best ideas come from compelling experiences or observations. Often, ideas for Banqer are found when I’m visiting a school and seeing the tool in context. It may be we’re actively testing assumptions that the team has made, or they may just randomly present themselves in the moment. The hard thing is recognising them!
What are the most important tools or programmes you use for your work?
For team communication it’s Slack, for task management/co-ordination it’s Trello, for document creation and collaboration it’s Google Drive. Email is still pretty important for us, and for me so is SourceTree, Sublime, and iTerm.
How do you juggle all your responsibilities?
Trello helps a lot with this. So too does my calendar and realistic expectations when it comes to deadlines. Understanding how to prioritise a task makes ‘juggling’ a lot more straightforward too.
Do you use social media?
Yep, but different platforms for different reasons. Linkedin obviously more professionally, Twitter too, but sometimes I blend personal life into my Twitter account – never Linkedin though. Instagram and Snapchat are 100 percent personal so I’m a lot more selective about who I connect with on those platforms. And that’s just my personal accounts - we then have Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram for Banqer.
What kind of breaks do you take throughout the day?
When I start work for the day, I really get into the swing of it and prefer to stay in the zone rather than take too many breaks. I’d use more administrative tasks as micro-breaks rather than stopping for a coffee or whatever. That said, I listen to my mind/body, so if I need to clear my head and walk around the block or change seats, I’ll happily do so.
What’s the most enjoyable part of your day?
There’s not one thing that holds the top spot everyday. The general theme involves people though.
What about the least enjoyable?
Finding a park.
Do you procrastinate? Is it good or bad?
Procrastination is the worst and I pretty much eradicated it out of my life. I now am pretty intolerant to seeing it around me and think it’s super inefficient. Procrastination is just a symptom of a bigger problem, so you’re best placed trying to figure out what that is. Given my past experience in jobs prior to Banqer where I was guilty of it, my guess is boredom, or disinterest.
Do you measure your accomplishments or productivity? If so, how?
Sure, what is measured matters right? Just at a high level though, and to help the team function remotely - no time-sheeting or anything ridiculous.
Is there anything you think is unique about your day?
Probably just the range of people I interact with within a day can be pretty unique.
What’s your best productivity hack?
I’m a believer in inbox zero and to achieve this and still get stuff done I turn emails into tasks/Trello tickets straight away with a deadline and a priority. That means I don’t disrupt my flow, but things aren’t forgotten.
What’s your interaction with friends and family throughout the day?
Unless I’m crashing on a friends couch or out of town, I wouldn’t really talk to friends during the weekday (except for a passive like on Instagram). I save meaningful interactions with friends for the weekend. I’d call family during the week, but most likely it’d only be in the evenings, unless something was up.
I don’t switch off, I’d say I dim the lights though.
Can you be both a successful entrepreneur and a good mother/father/husband/wife?
I’m not sure yet – I’ve been engaged for almost two year so hopefully I can let you know one day soon!
Do you get stressed? If so, how do you manage it? Do you practice any mindfulness or meditation?
I get so stressed. I’m quite anxious by nature, so need to stay on top of it. I’ve done mindfulness in the past, but now I find reading fiction really helps me. It pulls me away pretty quickly so that I’m in a better place to understand where my stress is coming from and try and overcome it.
Do you exercise? If so, what do you do? And for how long each day?
I like to exercise for about 30 minutes four times a week, but that only happens if I’m at home all week. I just have too many excuses when I’m traveling. I just try to cram as much into a workout as possible, so typically I’ll do 15 mins of cardio or weights (skipping or squats etc), then an AMRAP for 15 minutes until I pretty much can’t move anymore.
What do you do once you get home? Can you switch off?
No I don’t switch off, I’d say I dim the lights though. Work certainly comes home with me, just the pace drops a bit, and I actually like it this way. It may be finishing a proposal over a wine, or taking the time to properly review new feature designs. At this stage in my life, it’s not taking away from too much else as I don’t have kids etc. I do make sure that Simon and I have non-work time together too though, and if one of us is stressed about work or needs to fully switch off then we’re respectful of that.
What time do you go to sleep? How many hours sleep do you try to get each night? Any special techniques for a good night’s rest?
I don’t have a hard and fast bedtime, it’s pretty contingent on when I get through the door at night. I like to have time to wind down in the evening and will make time to do that even if it means a late night. I need a lot of sleep to function my best, I’d say in a perfect world I’d get at least eight or nine hours. I barely get that right now but would like to get to that place. But when it comes to quality of sleep it’s easy: no TV in the bedroom, phone on silent, and pretend to read for a bit as your eyes give way.
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