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My Working Day – David MacDonald – CEO of Cullen Eco-Friendly Packaging

Closeup opened big carton box full of blank hermetic white packages

As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example and 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? We spoke to David MacDonald, Owner and CEO of Cullen Eco-Friendly Packaging, about his working day.

What time do you wake up?

Usually, I’ll be up and ready by 7am. However, with customers in 34 different countries, and travelling a great deal for work I tend to operate in multiple time zones. So that can change my working – and waking – hours. It means that I adapt my wake-up schedule to whatever is best for the time zone I need to be in.

What do you typically have for breakfast?

I’ve found that I’m more productive without breakfast. Throughout the night and the following morning, I fast for a minimum of 18 hours. That seems quite extreme but it’s counter-intuitive: it actually gives me more clarity and energy than I would if I ate frequently, and that’s hugely beneficial for running a business.

What is the rest of your morning routine?

I like a morning run around Glasgow, which, more often than not, will involve getting soaked by the rain. Whether it does or not, I’ll follow this up with a cold shower, which sets my mind and body up for the day ahead.

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

If there’s time, I’ll walk to the office, using this slower commute to make any calls before getting to reception.

How do you prioritise your day’s work?

When I’m in the office, I prioritise doing in-person activities. So I use my on-site time to catch up with the team and deal with any pressing new matters. Having face-to-face conversations, whether it’s something structured like a brainstorming session or just informal water cooler chats, is extremely beneficial. In fact, during office days I usually only turn on my computer in the late afternoon, sometimes as late as 5pm.

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

I’m a fan of face-to-face, but I’m also an entrepreneur, so meetings are fundamentally important but we don’t do them just for the sake of it, they cannot be wasteful so have to be productive.

Do you have a working lunch, or do you take a break?

I’m usually still fasting during the afternoon, but might have the odd coffee break or a 15-minute walk and a breath of fresh air.

When does your working day finish?

It depends. I have a flexible approach to when my working day ends. However, whichever time zone I’m working in I leave no later than 8 pm local time. I don’t feel the need to force myself to stay at work slavishly. Instead, I do what needs to be done, and leave accordingly.

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

I’ll take my time walking home, reflect on the day, make some notes, plan for the next and most importantly, clear my head and give my brain a rest.

What’s your favourite piece of technology?

My fitness app is extremely helpful. It’s accessible, smart and very addictive.

How do you switch off?

To be honest I truly love what I do and I am extremely passionate about what we can and have the potential to achieve. So, the excitement and determination I have pushes switching off to the side. After all, I love to problem solve and some of my most innovative solutions come to me when I’m not at work.

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

“It is better to travel than to arrive”. The journey or process is more important or more enjoyable than the destination or end result.

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