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 Ash Ramzan – Founder of Woodley BioReg — about his working day.
What time do you usually wake up?
I’m an early riser, so its normally about 5am, although I have been known to get up and start work from around 4am, especially if I need to make calls to business contacts in westerly times zones such as China and South Korea.
What do you typically have for breakfast?
I think that breakfast is the most important meal for me, so it’s seeded sourdough toast with a little butter and marmalade – or two eggs scrambled with cheese – and a big mug of tea.
What’s the rest of your morning routine before you start work?
I usually check emails and address any urgent action required and if I need to, I’ll re-plan my day around any changing priorities. I get ready for work and leave home by around 5.45am, usually aiming to be at my desk by 6 to 6.15am.
First thing you do at the start of a work day?
I switch on my laptop and get on with sending and responding to emails, or preparing for the day’s meetings. I’ll then settle in to some in-depth client work such as preparing and reviewing documents during my most productive part of the day which is typically 6.30am to around 10am – and after 5pm if I need to.
How do you prioritise your work?
Given the international nature of our work, I need to prioritise Chinese and South Korean clients early in the day and move on to dealing with matters concerning EU / UK clients and the United States later on.
As a consultancy it’s important that we are present and available when our clients are, so we can collaborate in real time. Meetings and client commitments come first and I try to get my admin out of the way first so I can concentrate on operational matters.
At least, that’s how I aim to plan – things don’t always end up being that structured. I also have inhouse management responsibilities, and business development matters to think about, in and among the other stuff.
Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
I always think carefully about meetings and put together a plan for them. Different clients have varying attitudes to meetings, and often we’re driven by the way they like to operate.
We’ll typically get together in meetings for a number of reasons – it might be to provide strategic advice to a client, or it could be to tackle a specific subject, such as preparation and review or regulatory documents or defining and developing quality management procedures.
Do you have a working lunch or is it good to take a break?
Given my early start, I like to have lunch at 12 noon. I normally watch BBC news. On Wednesdays I like to watch Prime Minister’s Questions which is always entertaining. I follow the news keenly – especially as life sciences are currently front and centre of political public consciousness.
I’m very interested in how the pandemic is being communicated to the wider public, and what the UK Government is doing now, and in terms of planning for the medium and long term.
When does your working day finish?
Recently my working days have gone past 7pm – like tonight, as I am writing this! I’m trying to bring things back under control and be able to leave closer to 5pm.
I try to split my business management tasks away for from projects and consulting activities but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to address all of the needs, all of the time. I try to use the quieter periods at the start and end of the days to catch up on whatever seems to be falling behind. Ideally, there needs to be two of me!
How do you prepare for your next day’s work?
Before I leave the office, I prepare for the next day’s planned meetings by compiling any notes and information in a time-ordered fashion, on the left-hand side of my desk. Yep, it’s that ordered and structured!
How do you switch off?
Hill walking, usually around 15 to 20 miles, and road cycling, normally 35 miles or more.
I’m currently completing the Pennine Way in manageable, circular walks, so I have an ever-growing list of favourite places to hike in. Stepping out in remote areas means no road noise and no phone signals. It just helps to slow the pace a little.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Do what you enjoy, and enjoy what you do.