My Working Day – Garrett O’Reilly – CEO at Hearts & Science

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 Garrett O’Reilly, the CEO of Hearts & Science, about his working day.

What time do you usually wake up?

Either 5:30 or 6:30 am, but it depends on the day. I’m married to a personal trainer, so early exercise is mandatory. I’m a big fan of our Peloton, it made this a lot more pleasant during those dark winter months!

What do you typically have for breakfast?

I’ve never really been a breakfast person, which I think is a blessing, largely because I’ve been able to miss whatever the latest faddish juicing or smoothie craze.

What is the rest of your morning routine?

We’re big on hybrid working at Hearts & Science. One of the benefits of the past two years has been the business world finally coming to recognise that balancing work and home is much more than a nice-to-have.

Now, I get to enjoy the school drop-off with my two boys and we chat about their two favourite things: Match of the Day and Taskmaster Bleeped. After that, I’ll either work from home or hop on a train to the office in Bankside, my routine for the latter usually involves catching up with The Guardian’s Today in Focus podcast.

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

Make a coffee. Followed by another coffee. I gave it up for a while because it affected my sleep, but sadly it couldn’t last. I had to admit those two cups are what I need to get my working day started!

How do you prioritise your day’s work?

My two by two box approach allows me to prioritise my workload based on urgency vs importance. One colleague recommended the ‘eat the frog’ approach to me and I’m a convert. I’ll usually find the day’s frog in my inbox first thing and get straight to it.

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

It varies. I have plenty of loose ‘catch-ups’ with key people, which we use to check-in rather than running through an agenda. Other meetings have a formal plan behind them, generally, when we know we need to come away with a specific outcome.

We’ve also introduced a great initiative called ‘HEALTHIER’ Hearts. The purpose behind it is to be more effective in meetings and to protect everyone’s wellbeing. The key letter in that acronym is the ‘A’, which stands for ‘allow five minutes’. This means we schedule meetings in 25 or 55-minute blocks to give everyone the chance to take a break and rejuvenate.

Do you have a working lunch or is it good to take a break?

Another important letter in ‘HEALTHIER’ is ‘L’ because it stands for lunch. We want to ensure it’s protected in the team’s diaries because stepping away for a proper break makes us more effective.

It’s amazing what you can achieve in a lunch break too. As an initiative to get everybody moving and taking their breaks, we collectively walked to Ibiza last year and stopped off in some of Europe’s top cities.

When does your working day finish?

When I work at home, I’m next door to the bathroom, so my sons’ bathtime is my cue that the working day is nearing its conclusion! When the bath is full, it’s time for me to sign off and spend some quality time with my family.

There are exceptions, of course. Hearts is currently expanding its global network and you have to be respectful of people’s working days in other time zones. I’ll try not to get too embedded in work in the evenings, but sometimes there has to be a call with the US or Australian team.

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

I tend not to actively prep for the day ahead unless there’s an urgent task at hand. But I’ll always check my diary and to-do list before I switch off, just to make sure I haven’t missed anything time-sensitive and if there’s anything that’s worth mulling over in the background ahead of tomorrow.

What’s your favourite piece of technology?

I already mentioned the Peloton bike: I may have become a bit obsessed with it…

How do you switch off?

I know not everyone likes getting up early and I’m fortunate to be a morning person – especially with small children. However, I don’t like waking up late and/or stressed, so I think it’s really helpful to be able to bookend the day by keeping a couple of hours free at each end to just enjoy time with my family.

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

It’s really simple: keep on going. Do pause to think about what’s next, but don’t give up.