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 Donna Bulmer, Managing Partner of Haines Watts in the North East & Yorkshire, about her working day.
What time do you usually wake up?
I usually wake up at 6.30am so I have enough time to start the day calmly without having to rush around.
WHAT DO YOU TYPICALLY HAVE FOR BREAKFAST?
Most importantly, my day has to start with a strong espresso. I usually have yoghurt and fruit for breakfast.
WHAT IS THE REST OF YOUR MORNING ROUTINE BEFORE YOU START WORK?
I work out with my personal trainer three times a week in my garden. I’ve had the same trainer for over a year now and I love training outdoors – working out in my garden rather than at the gym saves me time and allows me the flexibility especially when I have early morning travel commitments with work. I’m quite often on the 7:05am to London so squeezing in a PT session when I can is really important to me. I do the school run whenever I can too.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU DO AT THE START OF YOUR WORKING DAY?
The first thing I do is check my calendar to see what I have booked in for the day. I rely heavily on my calendar as it tells me where I need to be, who I need to see and at what time. On a Monday morning, I’ll look ahead to see what’s coming up that week. I’ll then go through emails and set my plans for the day.
HOW DO YOU PRIORITISE YOUR DAY’S WORK?
My day’s priorities are often dictated by my diary. I’ll always book some time in my diary to work on or prepare specific things such as meetings. Blocking out time to work on and prioritise individual tasks helps me to stay organised.
DO YOU PLAN MEETINGS OR ARE THEY A WASTE OF TIME?
Having too many meetings isn’t a great use of time; timings of meetings should definitely be restricted and adhered to. The best meetings are those that are chaired effectively and focused on decision making and action points. It’s important to plan meetings and have agendas set out ideally a week in advance, with minutes and actions noted. Alternating the chair, when appropriate, gives others a chance to lead in meetings too, changing the dynamic.
DO YOU HAVE A WORKING LUNCH OR IS IT GOOD TO TAKE A BREAK?
I always have a lunch break and very rarely eat at my desk. I do have a lot of working lunches but this will be during internal catch-ups and less formal meetings. I enjoy interacting with people so if this means having a working lunch I still feel as though I am taking a break.
WHEN DOES YOUR WORKING DAY FINISH?
Officially my working day finishes at 5:30pm, however I am often travelling to and from London, Edinburgh, Leeds and elsewhere across the UK so sometimes, including travel, I won’t get home until gone 11pm.
HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THE NEXT DAY’S WORK?
I don’t often spend too much time planning for the next day other than to check my diary; I do what’s needed for that day and then relax and switch off. I usually action what needs to be done the following morning.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY?
My Fitbit – I love how it reminds me to keep on moving if I’ve been still for too long and it helps me to make sure I get enough sleep!
HOW DO YOU SWITCH OFF?
Spending time with my family and chatting with my son about how his day at school went is my downtime. My husband is an excellent cook, so having dinner and a glass of wine with him helps me to switch off. Family time is so important to me and it’s the perfect way to unwind after a day’s work.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
It’s an Oscar Wilde quote that someone once said to me: ‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken’.