My Working Day – David Gallagher – Chief Executive of NCFE

My Working Day

As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example, to lead and inspire a team individuals to achieve a series of business goals. But how do these business leaders go about their daily routine?

Business Leader spoke to David Gallagher – Acting Chief Executive of NCFE, about his working day.

WHAT TIME DO YOU USUALLY WAKE UP?

I usually get up at around 6.30am. I have two young boys who are full of energy so it’s rare I’ll sleep later than that.

WHAT DO YOU TYPICALLY HAVE FOR BREAKFAST?

If I have time I’ll have cereal and fruit but more often than not, or if I’m in a rush, I’ll grab some toast and go.

WHAT IS THE REST OF YOUR MORNING ROUTINE BEFORE YOU START WORK?

I don’t really have a set routine, usually just shower, help to get the boys ready and then head to work.

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU DO AT THE START OF YOUR WORKING DAY?

I start the day by checking emails, catching up on sector news and taking care of urgent calls.

HOW DO YOU PRIORITISE YOUR DAY’S WORK?

It’s tough but I usually start on a Monday by getting a feel for the week ahead, making sure to schedule time with my direct reports and then prioritising tasks accordingly. People come first so I ensure to make time for colleagues and regularly check that all of our business leaders have what they need to get the job done.

DO YOU PLAN MEETINGS OR ARE THEY A WASTE OF TIME?

I do plan meetings but I’m much more about having real conversations with purpose rather than lots of formal meetings.

DO YOU HAVE A WORKING LUNCH OR IS IT GOOD TO TAKE A BREAK?

Breaks are really important but for me but that doesn’t always happen at lunchtime. If I’m having a stressful day, I like to take 10 minutes to catch up with my wife and my boys, it instantly de-stresses me and I feel much better for taking time out, it makes me better and more focused for the rest of the day.

WHEN DOES YOUR WORKING DAY FINISH?

It varies massively from day to day but I really champion the importance of a good balance between work and my home life.

HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THE NEXT DAY’S WORK?

I like to have a scan of my emails and check my diary so I know what the next day will bring. It helps with the mental gymnastics of a busy day and also ensures that I’m prepared for the logistics of the day ahead.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY?

It has to be my phone. I couldn’t do without it. I use it for emails, news, communication and it means that I can always be aware of what I need to know when I’m running from meeting to meeting or offsite at events.

HOW DO YOU SWITCH OFF?

Spending time with my family and finding that balance between work and home is what alleviates stress for me. Taking time on an evening to cook with my wife and spend time with my two boys helps me keep a good perspective and value what is most important in life.

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

My dad gave me the best piece of advice when I was younger and it has stayed with me my whole life and that’s to leave things better than you found them. I’ve really taken that with me and applied it to as much as I can both in work and general life, and I hope to lead by example and pass that to my own sons too.

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