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 Ceylan Boyce – Co-Founder of Academy for Women Entrepreneurs about her working day.
What time do you usually wake up?
In general, I wake up at 6.30 but on a rare occasion I get to sleep in until 7.30am.
What do you typically have for breakfast?
Eating breakfast is really important for me. I usually have eggs, avocado, almonds and of course, tea.
What is the rest of your morning routine before you start work?
I admit that I don’t follow this routine every single morning, but when I do get time for it I do some exercise first thing, meditation and then I set my intentions for the day. All of this takes about 40 minutes in total and when I do it, my days are always more purposeful. However, I am a mum and I run my own business, so I try not to be too hard on myself if that 40 minutes doesn’t happen.
First thing you do at the start of a work day?
Checking my calendar is always my first activity in a work day, then it’s my to-do list. I find it really important to get clear in my head at the start of the day what my whole day will look like. I can then mentally prepare for the meetings or tasks ahead.
How do you prioritise work?
Years of working has taught me the importance of prioritising work. It is definitely a skill in itself. For my work building Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, I have a matrix that I use to do this. Impact on the business is a key part of the matrix and I ask myself: is the impact of that tasks going to be important for the goals of the month or the week? This is where setting tangible goals for your month/week can be vital to enable meaningful progression, particularly when you’re operating and growing a start-up in the way I am.
Another key skill for prioritising work is delegation. My matrix allows me to work out if my personal involvement is actually needed for that task. I ask myself: could someone else do this task and therefore leave me time to work on the things that will have the greatest impact and that rely on me doing them? That way I can delete it from my to-do list!
Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
I love meetings when they are short and sharp and focus on three topics max. Managed properly and with a clear agenda, meetings are a valuable way to propel a business forward and help people connect.
The only meetings that I make time for that do not conform to those rules are a half-day meeting with my Co-Founder every quarter. More time is needed to really analyse and assess where we are and our strategic priorities and then come up with ways we will move forward. We use these as opportunities to align our understanding of the business and give ourselves time and space to think outside of the box.
Do you have a working lunch or is it good to take a lunch break?
I believe that taking breaks from the computer screen during the day is important for both physical and mental wellbeing. It certainly is for mine! That said, I often eat lunch at my desk but then have a walk and a coffee break after. Popping down to the river, here in London, is a way I love to break up my day. I think what is important is listening to your body and taking breaks when it works for you.
When does your working day finished?
That is a good question! I have a 3-year-old daughter so I often have to fit work around my responsibilities as a parent. That regularly means working after she goes to bed. Being up until 11pm or midnight is not unusual. However, I do also take days off completely midweek as I don’t believe in a ‘prescribed’ way of working and have no need to fulfil traditional Monday to Friday, nine-to-five hours. Everyone has their own circumstances. Managing both your circumstances and energy levels is key, in my opinion. So that might mean prioritising, delegating, acknowledging what parts of the day you feel at your most productive and taking breaks when you need them.
How do you prepare for your next day’s work?
A review of my to-do list often concludes my day and helps me think ahead a bit to the next. I also tend to put actions into my calendar, so this means time is allotted for tasks and allows me to look ahead and see what I have planned for the following day. Sometimes I edit these dependent on my circumstances, energy levels etc. It is important to allow yourself some flexibility, even if you are a meticulous planner like me!
What’s your favourite piece of technology?
In terms of software, I am a big fan of HubSpot. Compared to using Excel sheets for CRM, it has revolutionised our business and lives. Another platform I find helpful as a start-up is Canva. It’s really helped us produce visually on-brand communications for our members, which is a vital part of Academy for Women Entrepreneurs.
Beyond that, I am just very grateful for video calling platforms such as Zoom. I know we’re all a bit Zoom-fatigued, but it has allowed important meetings to take place as well as enabling me to take my coaching and training online for the members of the AWE community.
How do you switch off?
Nature, family time, books, podcasts and yoga.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Sometimes when you are stuck and you cannot find a solution to a situation or cannot get inspired, the best thing to do is to drop everything and do something else. Come back to it later. Your best ideas or work never happens when you are forcing yourself. It happens when you give space and time for your neurons to connect differently.