My Working Day – Matt Harris – Founder of Thunderbird Chicken

My Working Day

Thunderbird Chicken

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 – Matt Harris – Founder of Thunderbird Chicken about his working day.

What time do you usually wake up?

My alarm goes off 6:30. Usually followed by some grumbling – I’m very much a night owl.

What do you typically have for breakfast?

I’ve never been a breakfast person and my body seems to be attuned to waiting until lunch. On the rare occasions that I do have breakfast, I usually find that it saps my energy and I’ll be slow for the rest of the day.

Intermittent fasting is all the rage these days, but it’s just something that I’ve always done.

What’s the rest of your morning routine before you start work?

I’ll check through my emails and to-do list to make a mental log of the biggest priorities. If I’m in the mood, I’ll hop on the spinning bike for 20 minutes to get some blood pumping – if not, a cup of black coffee and off to work!

First thing you do at the start of a workday?

My days vary wildly from one to the next. The role of ‘founder’ in a start-up restaurant business is not a clearly defined role! Some days are very hands on in the restaurants, the next day might be in the office, then off to see a supplier or new location. The ‘first thing’ really depends on where I am and what I’m doing that day. I rather like it that way, as it keeps things exciting, although there are times when I crave some consistency

How do you prioritise your work?

In the past I have been prone to focussing on the shiny things; doing whatever seemed most interesting and exciting, rather than the real priorities.  So I’ve been using Steven Covey’s Time Management Matrix from 7 Habits’ and it has revolutionised my work life.

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

A meeting without a plan is a waste of time! A structure and an agenda are vital; I’ve come to learn that with the right planning, a meeting can be completed in a matter of minutes, and doesn’t have to drag on for an hour, just because meetings ‘should take an hour’.

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

Taking a break is really important, even if it’s only for a few minutes; an opportunity to step back and clear the mind.  It really depends on where I am and what I’m doing on the day, but I’ll always try and find a couple of minutes to decompress.

When does your working day finish?

The nature of hospitality means that there’s always something going on somewhere.  I generally try to have work screens off by 7pm, but I’ll often be working on something until 9–10pm.

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

I’ll look through my list of what’s been completed that day.  Depending on the task, I’ll usually ponder on it for a moment; what went well and what didn’t and whether there’s anything to learn from it. It can be a very satisfying experience… I’ll see if there’s anything that needs a follow up and I’ll go through my to-do list and reorder it by priority to ensure that I’m ready to go for the next day.

What’s your favourite piece of technology?

In the first lockdown I learned to use almost the whole Adobe suite – photoshop, illustrator, indesign, aftereffects, animator etc.  It’s such an incredible set of tools for creation and I really enjoy getting under the skin of the each of the different programs and learning their tricks.

How do you switch off?

Cooking, which is perhaps slightly ironic, given what I do for work.  It’s pretty rare that I’ll cook something twice, so each meal is an opportunity to learn something new about an recipe, ingredient or technique.

Aside from that, flat on the sofa with Netflix, a long walk with an audio book, or out with friends for food and drinks (I greatly miss doing the latter!).

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

Stop chasing money and success. Focus on what you love, and success will follow.

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