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 Micha Nielsen – Operations Director at SoAmpli, about her working day.
What time do you usually wake up?
It depends if I’ve had meetings with our US-based clients the night before. I usually get up around 7am so I don’t have to rush, but if I’m going into our Leeds office and travelling up from London, I’ll be up and about at 5am.
What do you typically have for breakfast?
Coffee – lots of it! I usually have oats with berries and fruit and, if I have some extra time, I go for an Acai Bowl instead.
What is the rest of your morning routine before you start work?
I always check my emails first thing. I typically turn off my alarm and get straight into making sure nothing urgently needs my attention.
The rest of the time is usually me becoming somewhat ‘human’ – I’m very much a night-owl rather than a morning person!
What is the first thing you do at the start of your working day?
I always run through an overview of what my day entails. If I have meetings at client offices, I’ll need to arrange my hours around travelling and my final preparation for those, making sure that I still also have enough time to get all my other jobs completed.
With our headquarters being in the centre of Leeds, I make the most of dialling-in or video calls so I can catch-up with colleagues, in order to run through projects updates and upcoming tasks.
How do you prioritise your day’s work?
I’m a huge fan of ‘to do today’ and ‘to do this week’ plans. Clients are my absolute priority so they go straight on my first list. Tech development is also key for SoAmpli’s evolution so that’s high up as well.
My day is usually quite unpredictable – which is something I love about it – so throughout, I’ll update and tweak my ‘to-dos’, in order to stay ahead of the curve.
Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
I do really value meetings. Phone calls and emails are great, but I love sitting down with a colleague or client and walking through an agenda, setting priorities for everyone to complete.
Tech development is much easier in a meeting too because we can properly discuss the pros and cons of new features in minute detail to ensure we’re hitting everything a customer needs.
I do think meeting agendas are important too as they tend to set the tone for the true focus rather than spending time on less significant topics.
Do you have a working lunch or is it good to take a break?
Taking a break is definitely a good idea – that said, I rarely have time! Instead, I often have a quick desk lunch and then go for a walk or coffee run later in the afternoon to reflect and recharge.
I do try to make it to the gym for my lunch break a few times a week too because I’ve found a quick workout can really help clear the mind.
When does your working day finish?
Ideally at 5.30pm but, because we have clients in North America, I never really ‘switch off’.
The business is available to clients 24/7 should they need us, so a 7am or 8pm meeting is not unusual at SoAmpli. I love how diverse and globally-based our clients are though, so it’s no hardship at all.
How do you prepare for the next day’s work?
I’ll update my ‘to do’ lists, make sure that tasks are prioritised and then have a quick look at tomorrow’s meetings for any final prep.
Favourite piece of technology?
My iPhone for sure. I’ll freely admit I don’t go anywhere without it and would 100% be in big trouble if I lost it!
How do you switch off?
I read tonnes of books and do enjoy a holiday! I’m always available during weekdays, and most weekends, so my annual leave is pretty sacred to me. That said, Sunday ‘bottomless brunches’ are not to be underestimated either…
Best piece of advice you’ve received?
I have two – one is business-related and the other is inspired by JK Rowling!
The first is: “Read and understand.” It’s something my dad used to tell me and my sisters before exams. It’s so simple but many of us forget to take the time to understand a problem before starting to throw possible solutions on the table.
In the industry I’m in, there are so many situations that are both client and colleague project-related it can be really beneficial to take a deep breath and try to understand the issue or person’s concern at hand, rather than acting prematurely.
My other piece of advice is from a Harry Potter book! This is, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”
Regardless of its origin, it’s special to me because it’s so easy to get stuck on planning and dreaming, but never actually doing anything. You only live once so you better give it your best – whether that’s leaving the safety of a secure job to start your own company or taking a chance on a dream!