My Working Day – Merje Shaw – CEO of Path 59

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 Merje Shaw – CEO of Path 59 about her working day.

WHAT TIME DO YOU USUALLY WAKE UP?

I usually begrudgingly wake at 6.30am. This gives me enough time to luxuriate in bed before the kids wake up and demand cuddles/yoghurts/cereal/iPads/clothes/random toys – often all at once.

WHAT DO YOU TYPICALLY HAVE FOR BREAKFAST?

People regularly make fun of my breakfast choices – rarely do I ever eat cereal for breakfast. Growing up in Estonia, open sandwiches on rye bread were pretty much the standard breakfast so I still often eat sandwiches for breakfast. Sometimes I’ll eat the previous evening’s leftovers. This morning, I made a glorious salad of all the vegetables I could find in the fridge with some feta and hummus.

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

My mornings whizz past pretty quickly, especially if the small ones are staying with me. I spend quite a bit of time getting both of them dressed and fed whilst also getting dressed and fed myself. Because my three-year-old is an absolute toothbrush refuser, we have now developed a morning toothbrushing dance, which seems to be the only way to get him to clean them, so the three of us will often be seen bopping along to the sounds of bristles.

I then chuck my make-up on (it literally takes under five minutes these days – I love multi-tasking products from Beauty Pie!) before getting everyone in coats, hats, gloves and hustling them on bikes and scooters to school. Once drop off has been achieved, I usually go and grab a coffee at the wonderful HARA café on Downham Road and catch up with the lovely ladies that work there and other school parents before walking to the office.

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

Coffee! I know it probably isn’t the smartest way to start the day but I am an absolute sleepyhead before my morning coffee. I’ll then look through the overnight emails from both companies and decide which ones I will deal with as a priority and which ones can wait.

HOW DO YOU PRIORITISE YOUR DAY’S WORK?

This is something I need to get better at! I am lucky to have amazing people working with me so I usually ask them which actionable items are stuck with me and preventing them from moving on. These are my priority – nobody likes a bottleneck.

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

Not all meetings are created equal but I have been having a lot recently as we grow the business. I tend to skip meetings where I am not bringing any value – as nice as it is to sit around and chat, if there are no clear issues to discuss or clear action points to take away from a meeting, there is no point to having one. We can chat in the pub later.

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

This largely depends on how I’m feeling. Most of the time I try to take a break as it enables your mind to relax so you come back to your work with more ideas. But there are occasions when I’m feeling lazy and eat ‘al desko’ whilst reading up on the news.

WHEN DOES YOUR WORKING DAY FINISH?

Does it ever finish when you’re running your own business? I usually have to leave at 5.30pm to pick up the kids (though have been late a few times recently which the school is NOT AT ALL happy with). I then tend to continue to think about work in the evening and will sort out a few emails in the evening whilst the kids are busy playing.

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

I take a look at my calendar to see what I have scheduled for the next day and take it from there, often reading up on topics I know are going to come up the next day.

FAVOURITE PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY?

It’s a bit of a love-hate relationship actually but it has to be my phone. My life is on there so it’s not often I am seen without it. That said, I have recently fallen out of love with iPhones so will need to do some research on what to replace them with.

HOW DO YOU SWITCH OFF?

You may have guessed but switching off doesn’t happen that often. Given the glorious weather we’ve been having recently, I’ve taken to leaving the phone at home and taking the small ones to play in the local parks. There’s something inherently wholesome in building a stick village in the middle of a park in London or having two small boys chasing bubbles around a big field.

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED?

Everyone is winging it so don’t be afraid to do what you truly want to do.

Are you a CEO of a business and want to be featured on Business Leader for ‘My Working Day’? Please contact editor@businessleader.co.uk.

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