As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example, 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 Huib van Bockel – founder of TENZING about his working day.
What time do you usually wake up?
What do you typically have for breakfast?
A bowl of cold oats soaked in oat milk and topped with blueberries.
What’s the rest of your morning routine before you start work?
After my 6:45 wake up, I have 10 minutes of hug time with my 12-year-old twins in bed (if I am lucky) – it has to be the best moment of my day! Then we sit down and enjoy breakfast all together which is then followed by a 25 minute run along the canals.
Once I’ve returned home I jump into a cold shower for 3 minutes.
What is the first thing you do at the start of the workday?
Since lockdown began last year, I’ve found that I really have to make sure I focus at the beginning of each day to ensure I prioritise and complete all my tasks. Only now (after 20 years of working life) have I fully adopted the to do list! It is now my morning ritual.
- Sharpen my pencil
- Open my black Moleskin
- Write my “to do’s” of the day. I make sure to put everything in there, every tiny little to do, work-related or not. It always starts with: “Tidy Room” and even includes tasks like: “bring a snack to my kids”.
- Even when I have done something that wasn’t on the list, I make sure to put it on afterwards and cross it out. I think in lockdown it’s important to get a sense of workload, progress and gratitude and I’ve found this process really helps.
I am one of the least organised people I know (bar a couple of friends), but this new morning routine has taken my organisation to a level I’ve never reached before.
How do you prioritise your work?
As a team, we use Trello where each of us list our tasks for the week as well as our commitments for the month, quarter and year. Each month we detail out what we have to make happen and then I base my daily to do list with action that will help me achieve these. Quite often, additional tasks and requests arise from the team (like this interview) and so I make sure I leave some time in my day to complete these. Having implemented this process, I complete my daily tasks 99% of the time.
Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
I am not a fan of meetings for the sake of meetings, I try to minimise them. If they are needed, we make them as fun, engaging and as productive as possible.
When does your working day finish?
This varies hugely. Sometimes I can finish at 5pm once the kids are home from school, sometimes I can be working into the late hours of the night. Having contemplated this question, what I did realise is that I never really finish my working day on a high, it’s made me realise I need a better end of working day routine. Thanks for the inspiration!
How do you prepare for your next day’s work?
Zero preparation. It’s all about the morning prep.
What’s your favourite piece of technology?
I have to go with some tech that we created ourselves. We’re a team of keen runners, then in 2019 I read an article that running in London could be detrimental to your health because of the poor air quality. At that point I thought, well if runners could find cleaner places to run in London, then maybe that could help? This article had been based on data from King’s College London, so we got in contact and with their help, created an app that shares live pollution data and syncs it with activity tracking app Strava.
The TENZING Clean Air Tracker now allows Londoners to pre-plan clean running routes, as well as an air quality score after each run. It was voted the no. 1 app that will change your life by Men’s Health in 2020; not bad for a plant-based energy drinks company that built this on the side. Google “TENZING Clean Air tracker” if you want to run in fresh air in the big smoke.
How do you switch off?
Running (it’s been key to helping me switch off throughout the pandemic), family movie watching, skateboarding and gaming with my kids, reading, chatting with my wife.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I’m a believer in micro advising vs. big sweeping advice. I love speaking to people and discovering what I can learn from someone else. I guess the key is being confident to ask questions – be curious – that would be my advice! I am pretty sure that on average I ask a lot more questions than people ask me. If I was to choose the best piece of advice, it would be from my grandfather (who I was named after), I always looked up to him. He said: “Huib, it does not matter what you choose to do in life, as long as you become the world’s best in it.” I don’t know if I’ve achieved that, but I am pretty sure he would have been proud of me nonetheless.