My Working Day – Luther Spicer – Creative Director of Cake Agency
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 Luther Spicer – Creative Director of Cake Agency, about his working day.
What time do you usually wake up?
I’m a terrible sleeper, so I tend to wake up before 6am and most days, we’re joined by our youngest son, Gus, just before 7am. So typically, my day starts with being jumped on and having to watch Thomas the Tank Engine! Very glamorous.
What do you typically have for breakfast?
I like it to keep it simple with a coffee and a bagel – I don’t think I could function without carbs and caffeine!
What is the rest of your morning routine?
It’s usually a mad dash to get everyone ready and out the door on time. We have a teenage son, who requires a bit more encouragement to get organized, but I’ll get ready as quickly as possible and be out the door by 7:45am to drop Gus at his nursery. The journey is often a non-stop commentary on what Gus and his friends are going to do that day. After I’ve dropped him off, the journey into work is a bit more chilled listening to the radio or calling family members to say hello.
What is the first thing you do at the start of your working day?
Once I get to the studio, I’ll say hi to the team and check in with everyone. After that, I’ll sit down and go through emails and Slack messages to catch up on anything that needs sorting.
How do you prioritise your day’s work?
I’m a huge fan of lists! I have lists for everything – there’s one for long-term, big picture goals and projects but then I’ll also sit down each day and make a plan. I’ve got this cool stamp that’s a bit like a clock, allowing you to make realistic to-do lists and assign tasks to individual time slots. On an almost daily basis, that list will change and priorities will get updated but I try to make sure anything that helps the team or improves the quality of what we’re doing is top of the list.
Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
I’m not a huge fan of meetings, but as Creative Director it’s my responsibility to get involved in a lot of different things. I think the six golden rules for a good meeting are:
- Come prepared – this one is the hardest to do, but can make a world of difference!
- Invite the right people – limit numbers as much as possible to stay productive.
- Have an agenda – and follow it.
- Have a clear objective – what’s the purpose of the meeting?
- Keep it short – if you can cover all material in less time, why stick rigidly to the hour your calendar defaults to?
- Leave with clear actions and owners and don’t forget to set clear reminders or deadlines.
Do you have a working lunch or is it good to take a break?
It depends – if I’m really into the flow and doing deep work then I’ll just keep going. Otherwise, I find it really useful to get out of the office and to get some fresh air or just step away from notifications and screens. That said, almost all my ideas come to me when I’m taking a break or going for a walk – – or even in the shower! – so I’ll often email myself stuff to look at later.
When does your working day finish?
Most days, I’ll leave a bit early to pick Gus up from nursery – but if I don’t need to do that, then I’ll often lose track of time. I’m not a morning person, so I find I’m more productive later in the day. My wife works for an agency too, so we both understand that sometimes we still have things to do in the evening, but as much as possible I don’t take my laptop home with me.
How do you prepare for the next day’s work?
I do find it hard to switch my brain off – I’ve even woken up at 2am where I’ve dreamt of a project and had an idea that I need to write down. I don’t really do anything to prepare for the next day – when I’m on an exciting project, it’s just kind of always on.
What’s your favourite piece of technology?
Surprisingly, I’m not a fan of technology and gadgets. If I could stop having a phone tomorrow, I’d jump at the chance! I’m a bit old school, so I love buying design books and stationery.
My favourite tool is a pen my wife bought for me when I started this role. It’s always on me and allows me to make my lists and sketch ideas far quicker than my MacBook or phone could ever do.
How do you switch off?
I try to get home in time to see the kids – you soon forget about work when playing the big bad wolf or reading a bedtime story. After that, we’ll make dinner and usually go to bed early to watch a film – I love the escape of movies.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
‘This too shall pass’ – I even have it as a tattoo. I think it’s a really helpful reminder to make the most of good times and not to dwell too much on the bad times, as ‘this too shall pass’.
I’ve also got a very cool book/journal called The Daily Stoic: each day, it has something really useful in it and is definitely one worth checking out.