My Working Day – Katherine Hudson – Founder of Arabian Tent Company

My Working Day

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 Katherine Hudson – Founder of Arabian Tent Company about her working day.

WHAT TIME DO YOU USUALLY WAKE UP?

It depends on the time of year – running an events company is quite seasonal, so in the summer when we’re really busy and I have lots going on I wake up at 5am to get in a couple of hours before my family wake up, and in the winter, I allow myself to hibernate and wake at 7am.

WHAT DO YOU TYPICALLY HAVE FOR BREAKFAST?

I don’t! I fast each day from dinner the night before until lunchtime the following day – for at least 16 hours – I started doing it by accident and have since found out it’s a ‘thing’ – I find it keeps my mind alert and my body in equilibrium. However I do drink an entire stove-top pot of coffee to myself which catapults me into my day!

WHAT IS THE REST OF YOUR MORNING ROUTINE BEFORE YOU START WORK?

I actually just start working from the moment I put my coffee on. Sometimes I can find myself still sitting in my pyjamas at my laptop at lunchtime if I’ve had continuous work to keep me engaged! At one time (before I had kids) there was a yoga session I could do before work, now it’s the only thing I fit in is the usual tasks – getting dressed, brushing hair etc.

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU DO AT THE START OF YOUR WORKING DAY?

Check emails on my laptop. I try not to do this on my phone in bed as I think we now have to create our own technology boundaries to stop work ingress into our relaxation time.

HOW DO YOU PRIORITISE YOUR DAYS WORK?

I operate a flag system in my inbox, have multiple ‘to do’ lists, and use a Filofax rather than a digital calendar.

DO YOU PLAN MEETINGS OR ARE THEY A WASTE OF TIME?

Meetings with clients are extremely productive – it’s imperative to see the style of the home that they live in, bounce ideas on design and looking through the practicalities of delivery etc… you can almost plan an entire wedding in a couple of hours! I don’t have many team meetings however, only if there’s a particular new project I want us to discuss – otherwise, I let my team organise themselves!

DO YOU HAVE A WORKING LUNCH OR IS IT GOOD TO TAKE A BREAK?

I love food and relish delicious dinners with friends, but when I’m busy and working it just feels like fuel. And when I’m onsite putting up tents, you notice how much food slows you down – I eat very little when I’m rigging tents so it doesn’t deplete my energy with digesting!

WHEN DOES YOUR WORKDAY FINISH?

I spent 15 years finishing my workday between 11pm and 2am, but after a re-structure this year, I’ve delegated away a chunk of what I was doing to 3 Project Managers and I now have a very normal 11pm – midnight bedtime!

HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THE NEXT DAY’S WORK?

Before I got to sleep I visualise my next day – what I’m going to wear, what tasks I need to delegate to other people, what meetings I have and what things I need to have ticked off my to-do list.

FAVOURITE PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY?

My Fairphone. Everyone is addicted to their phones nowadays….because you can put every App onto it that you could possibly need. I just can’t believe there is still only 1 phone to choose from if you want to ensure the materials used to make it have been sustainably and ethically sourced.

HOW DO YOU SWITCH OFF?

I party! I live and breathe parties, and am lucky enough to have a large, international group of fantastic friends who do exactly the same thing. I’ll be the last one up early the next day still dancing and find it extremely de-blocking and connecting.

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU RECEIVED?

I was very lucky that one of the very first jobs I ever did was an area for one of the Saudi Arabian Princes to host Prince Charles in for a Polo match. After the event, the Event Manager was delighted with the tent but said: “You should have charged me double – people only value what they pay for”.

And how true that is. People do only value what they pay for – not always rightly so I feel, as we seem to need to pay for things to respect their value. But as a business lesson, that was the best, most timely one I received, and it gave me the initial confidence to charge properly for what I do.

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