facebook
Close

hummingbirdcoffee

A Day in the Life: Wolf and Fox's Toss Grumley

Toss Grumley is a business advisor at Wolf and Fox. He shares 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?

I wake up at 6am each day; even with no alarm set, almost to the minute.

What’s the ideal way to start your day?

I like to start the day with exercise. Most days I start with a run, do callisthenics on a playground, or once a week I do EMS training. Days when I don’t exercise, I’ll spend the first thirty minutes of the day reading.

Do you have any morning rituals?  

After exercising, which usually finishes about 6.30am, I check my devices to see what’s in store for the day. Around 7am, playtime starts with my 18-month-old daughter. We tend to get about 45 minutes of play time (me being bossed around) in each morning, before I head off on my walk from home to my office.

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

I’ll usually assess my day and do any preparation needed around 6.30am from my devices, but I generally don’t touch emails until I arrive at work.

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?  

I try to spend as little time as possible on media consumption. I may occupy around 10-15 minutes over lunch looking at news sites and reading online articles. I make a conscious effort to read for 30-45 minutes every evening and mix that up between fiction and non-fiction.

What kind of work do you do?

I’m a business advisor/mentor/coach (everyone calls me something different). I basically help people to be successful in their business.

What’s unique about your line of work?

I spend all day getting to know people and their businesses. It’s an intense line of work, and I consider it a real privilege to get to see people’s triumphs.

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

I aim to spend seven hours a day client facing, so basically, I sit all day talking shop with people. Business is my passion and it’s awesome to be able to talk about it every day. Some of the actions I help clients with in a typical business day could be creating plans, working on strategy, talking through issues, keeping people accountable or doing forecasts. It varies from day to day.

Who do you see/talk to?

Ambitious business owners. Most of my clients own awesome businesses and are eager to grow, learn and keep on the path of continuous improvement.

Where do your best ideas come from?

My best ideas come when I take time to breathe and reflect. Generally, just after a holiday or after a few days off, I will have ‘big’ ideas which can substantially change my lifestyle or the way I operate my business.

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

I’m quite simple – I religiously time block with my calendar, I use Todoist to liaise and set tasks with my wonderful VA Anna, and I use Boomerang to block my emails, so I’m not distracted from the task at hand, and only get the emails in breaks.

How do you juggle all your responsibilities?

I try to stay away from admin tasks and things I don’t enjoy. I also try and remove distractions. My focus is always on my clients and being present in the moment, everything else is secondary or can be handled by someone else.

What kind of breaks do you take throughout the day?

I generally run back-to-back meetings all day and have a rest at lunch. I’ll walk down to the Herne Bay shops to get lunch and I try not to use my device for the walk, to give my mind a rest. I’ll read the newspaper or articles at work when I get back and then clear emails before I jump back into the fray, with clients.

What’s the most enjoyable part of your day?

All of it. I’m working with people I really like all day, every day. But, I do really like getting home and opening the door to hear ‘Dada’. I’m generally getting dragged around the house by the hand before I can even get changed.

What about the least enjoyable?

Anytime I’m on my emails. It’s my least favourite thing to do. Face-to-face interactions are so much better.

Do you procrastinate? Is it good or bad?

No, everything is always in my calendar, or being moved from the task list quick fast. Occasionally, I will set deadlines to put pressure on myself, but that’s self-imposed. Getting the important stuff done in a timely manner is what will get you ahead.

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

Absolutely, I make sure my calendar is fully stacked every day and that all tasks are cleared from task lists when I have said they should be. I take time to reflect each month; I check my P&L for the month and forecast the next. I also look through the month and review my client meetings to think of ways I could improve my interactions with the business owners. It’s important to take time to appreciate what you have accomplished; we are always thinking about what's next as humans, and not expressing gratitude for how far we have come. If I’m ever not content, I like to think, ‘So what would 18-year-old you think of you now?’ It makes me reset and be grateful for my journey so far.

Is there anything you think is unique about your day?

I think always being client-facing. People always comment ‘you’re in your own office, don’t you get lonely?’, the answer is ‘Never, I’m actually constantly with people.’

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

Absolutely. The trick is to be present in whatever you are doing. When I’m with my fiancé, Sere and my baby, Inti, I’m completely present. Having a baby completely changed my views on this and I do believe there is a balance to be had. It’s not black or white, it’s about merging your worlds successfully. The rest of my family may argue that as my phone is on 24/7 divert to my VA, I don’t answer it, but hey! Come see me in person, visit your granddaughter (and take her away for a bit, haha!), have a chat with me.

Do you get stressed? If so, how do you manage it?

I have a saying, if you have a good business you are stressed 20 percent of the time, if you have a bad business you are stressed 80 percent of the time. I really do think that’s true; I have my moments where I’m stressed, as we all do, but if my business is managed correctly and I’m responsible with cash flow, the stress is not an issue. Lots of stress for people in business is their own fault – not managing cash flow effectively, not setting expectations with clients, bad hires or bad management, it’s so often self-imposed. Exercise and taking my vitamins and minerals are the cure for stress for me, just taking care of yourself.

If I’m ever not content, I like to think, ‘So what would 18-year-old you think of you now?’ It makes me reset and be grateful for my journey so far.

Do you practice any mindfulness or meditation?

I think being present is a form of meditation and I try and mould my whole day around this. While walking or outside, I will keep my mind clear and really focus on the details and being present, it’s a good feeling.

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

Once home, I spend time with my loved ones! I do switch off completely, it’s very rare you’ll find me doing work in the evening at home. I generally finish everything before I leave the office (emails answered or moved to a task list). Life is so much better when you can go home and relax. If you use your time effectively during the day and work with purpose, you shouldn’t need to take work home.

What time do you go to sleep?

Don’t laugh here, but I have an alarm that goes off at 8.20pm every evening to get ready for bed. I then tackle a book for 30 to 45 minutes, so I’m generally out cold by 9.00pm or shortly after. I need 8-9 hours of sleep to function properly or I’m absolute toast by the end of the working day.

See Wolf and Fox's website here

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).