My Working Day – Emma Hutchison – co-owner of Sweet&Chilli

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? Business Leader spoke to Emma Hutchison, co-owner of Sweet&Chilli, about her working day.

What time do you wake up?

7 am on weekdays & whenever the sunlight stirs me at the weekends.

What do you typically have for breakfast?

I always start the morning with a coffee before I do anything… but during the week I’m not a big one for breakfast. At around 10 or 11 the appetite will kick in though and I’ll grab some granola & yogurt or porridge with seeds & blueberries.

What is the rest of your morning routine?

Well, I have two cats – Fudge and Pickle – and they usually keep my mornings pretty entertaining. They can be pretty high energy in the mornings (cats.. eh?) so they’re usually bouncing around the place and I’ll be trying to save a plant pot or two. Some mornings I’m lucky enough to get a cuddle out of them, and most mornings I’m almost certainly looking for one or both of them as they are masters at hiding.

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

Before I open the inbox, I always try and kick start the day getting a few tasks out the door.

How do you prioritise your day’s work?

My day-to-day is never the same! In any given week I’ll be bouncing between client meetings & checking in with our design team or our Drinks Consultants. Whether we’re working on a product launch or venue opening, directing a photo shoot, or designing and building a festival space for one of our brand clients, it’s always different, so there’s no one particular way for me to prioritise my working day.

However, we have some regular meetings throughout the week, such as our company-wide catch-ups on Monday which give an overview of the week. From there, I tend to spend time every evening before I shut down for the night just thinking about what’s on for the next day just to make sure I’m on top of it all and in the right mindset.

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

Yes, it’s essential – in today’s world where we’re connecting online a lot of the time it’s easy to let the day slide by jumping from Zoom call to Zoom call. Time is precious to us all, so every meeting needs to be valuable, and you can only ensure this by planning ahead!

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

I’m definitely guilty of working through lunch but I try a few times a week instead to step away from the desk and go to a yoga class during lunch. For me it’s much more valuable to totally take myself out of the working environment for that 30-40 mins & focus on another activity – it allows me to reset, to return feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

When does your working day finish?

Being in the hospitality industry, this job doesn’t exactly work with fixed hours. Part of my passion as an individual, and our passion as a company, is being at events and seeing our life come to work, as well as networking, meeting media and hanging out with clients at our cocktail bar. It’s all part of the job and it can take up extra time, but it’s way much more of a joy than work – I wouldn’t change it at all!

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

I tend to give myself half an hour or so the night before on what’s coming up in the day ahead. I just have a think about what needs to get done and the most effective and efficient way of making sure everything runs smoothly. Again, with this industry, there can be some last-minute changes, but as long as I’ve got my head in the game the night before I’m always ready for what the day ahead has to offer!

What’s your favourite piece of technology?

I’m actually going through a bit of a retro phase – I’m in love with whiteboards and markers!

How do you switch off?

A bloody good margarita or, failing that, a large glass of wine.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve got a pretty diverse mix of professional backgrounds and past experiences – my path to this place in my career has been pretty unconventional, but I genuinely think this is what has served me so well. So, when I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted to go with my career I think the best piece of advice I’ve received, and would like to pass on, is to not be afraid to explore new things – you never know where it may lead you!

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