As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example, to lead and inspire a team of individuals to achieve a series of business goals. But how do these business leaders go about their daily routine?
Business Leader spoke to Alex Beardsley – joint managing director at ABL Business — about her working day.
What time do you usually wake up?
I am an early riser, and always have been, so you’ll definitely find me up by 6am. However, I am guilty of making a brew and heading back to bed to read my emails, check LinkedIn, and browse the latest news.
What do you typically have for breakfast?
My choice of breakfast usually depends on my mood – I do like to mix things up. Egg and avocado, porridge, and muesli are a few of my favourites, though I have been known to eat leftover curry too. Yum!
What is the rest of your morning routine before you start work?
As I said above, I’m guilty of getting back into bed with my first cup of tea of the day. I then like to check online and keep up to date with what’s happening within the finance industry or check if there is any breaking news that will have a direct impact on the economy. It always feels like a struggle to pull myself away, especially from a really interesting article, so I’m then hard pressed to get a shower, dressed, and out the door on time — it always feels like a rush.
What is the first thing you do at the start of the workday?
First things first, I make sure I’m included in the tea round. We drink a lot of it at ABL — and it has to be Yorkshire Tea — so it features a lot throughout my day. We always joke that ABL is powered by the stuff.
How do you prioritise your work?
A lot of what we do at ABL feels like the top priority, businesses need cash to survive. I’m still learning, even after seven years as joint managing director, however I do find writing a list useful. It helps to get all the jumble out of my head.
Another tool that helps not only me but the whole ABL team with prioritising work is the systems that we use. Our CRM is fantastic and has really supported us to stay on track of everything. I have dashboards that show snapshots of the business, customers, suppliers, finances – you name it!
Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
I really don’t understand why people say meetings are a waste of time. They’re only inefficient if not properly planned for a specific reason, such as to explore a new subject, set goals, or iron out details. If you’re experiencing sessions that get nowhere then you’re not asking the right questions. There is so much you can learn about people and their businesses in a meeting. This alone should inject ideas on working together and supporting one another.
When does your working day finish?
I think when you own a business in some way you are always working. I wouldn’t say I have set hours, sometimes I might finish at 2pm others it might be 10pm. No two days are the same and it depends on what is happening that week.
How do you prepare for your next day’s work?
I write a list. Having a pre-prepared list with the tasks that haven’t yet been completed helps me to stay on top of what needs to be achieved the next day. It’s also important to talk to my team, finding out where they are at with their tasks and how we can work together.
What is your favourite piece of technology?
I have all the normal tech stuff that’s needed to run the business – laptop, phone, software etc. But, I feel like I have ‘new tech’ fatigue lately and am being more and more often drawn to non-tech related items. I find myself leaning towards pretty things that are beautiful to look at. We recently updated our office, to fit in with our rebrand, and we tried to focus on making it beautiful and peaceful space for the team to be in.
How do you switch off?
I choose activities that I can lose myself in. These include things such as reading, where my imagination can take over, and running in nature, which is a true mindfulness activity. I also used to really love cooking, but now that I can’t go out to eat — thanks to the pandemic — I have found this has become more of a chore than an activity I can switch off with. I’m already dreaming of all the nice meals I’ll have out once this lockdown is over.
Best piece of advice you have ever received?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received, and that I still live by to this day, is to just be you and do your best, that is all you have in your power to do.