My Working Day – Andy Cockburn – co-founder and CEO of Mention Me

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 Andy Cockburn – co-founder and CEO of Mention Me — about his working day.

What time do you usually wake up?

I’ve had three kids since co-founding Mention Me, so my wake-up time has changed over the past few years. I wake up when they wake up, typically around 6am. I haven’t needed to set an alarm for a while.

What do you typically have for breakfast?

Moma Porridge, every day. It’s all about slow release energy and not needing to snack.

What is the rest of your morning routine before you start?

I’m with the kids until 7:30 then, since working from home, will try to get in some exercise and meditation before starting work. Lockdown has its perks! I’ll run, cycle or, preferably, swim. Swimming in open water in winter is one of my favourite things in the world.

What is the first thing you do at the start of your working day?

I’ll look at my diary and to-do list to decide what I’m going to achieve that day. I try to finish everyday with a real sense of having made progress.

How do you prioritise your day’s work?

I try to identify what’s urgent and only I can do. If others in the team can do something on my plate, I’ll try to pass it on. As CEO of a scaling technology business, I view my role as empowering others to make decisions and drive us forward. Anything that comes to me means I’m a potential bottleneck, so the less I need to sign off on, the better.

Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?

Meetings are important for getting the right people together to make decisions. The challenge is making sure that they really are necessary and well structured so you get an outcome. A day of back-to-back zoom meetings is a form of torture that I try desperately hard to avoid.

Do you have a working lunch or is it good to take a break?

It’s always good to take a break. Another perk of lockdown has been lunchtimes with my family. I don’t always manage it but I know I’m more effective if I take half an hour out of the day to eat with them. There’s nothing like a chaotic lunch with three little ones to bring a smile to your face!

When does your working day finish?

Working from home means I can get involved with the children’s bath and bedtime from about 6pm. It’s an opportunity that won’t last forever, so I try to make the most of it. Some evenings I’ll log on for another hour or two, but I’m trying to do this less than in past years. I’m finding the need to have downtime at the end of the day is important to keeping me sane, especially in lockdown.

How do you prepare for the next day’s work?

At the end of each day, I’ll make sure I’m happy with the plan for the next day and that I’ve done everything I need to prepare for it. For me, feeling prepared for what’s in store helps with switching off and relaxing at the end of the day.

What’s your favourite piece of technology?

It may be very old tech, but I love my bike. The technology in modern bikes amazes me. To create a ride that allows you to travel under your own power at such speed and over such long distances, I think is phenomenal. Whether I’m exercising, commuting or running errands, it always puts a smile on my face.

How do you switch off?

The best ways I find to switch my brain off is to spend time with the kids or do sport. They also both have the added benefit of tiring you out so much you get a good night’s sleep.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Enjoy the journey. In all things in life, it’s easy to fixate on the end goal, whether that’s finishing a marathon or building a successful business. But the reality is it’s the experience of getting there that’s more important. When we started Mention Me, we set ourselves the goal to enjoy coming to work every day and create an environment where the team did too. Keeping this front of mind is really important to me.