My Working Day – Ros Heathcote – Founder & Managing Director of Borough Broth Co.
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 Ros Heathcote – Founder & Managing Director of Borough Broth Co., about her working day.
What time do you usually wake up?
It varies depending on my work schedule; If I’m heading into work with the kitchen or warehouse it’s around 6:30am if it’s an office or work from home day I generally get up around 7:30am. I quite enjoy the variety, it keeps things interesting! I have a sound system that wakes me up with a heavily curated jazz playlist to ensure that I’m eased into the day; I find the sound of many alarms quite stressful so if all goes to plan I get woken up by Bill Evans or Alice Coltrane and that starts me off in a good mood.
What do you typically have for breakfast?
Controversial but I’m not a breakfast person. I was raised to believe breakfast was the most important meal of the day but these days I generally don’t have an actual meal until lunchtime. If I’m being kind to myself I’ll ease in with a mug of chicken broth, otherwise a strong white coffee made with unhomogenised, organic cows milk is my general vibe.
What is the rest of your morning routine?
I have a no screens rule in my bedroom, so I make myself get up, have a mug of something and I’ll check my personal phone. Last year I decided to have separate work and personal phones. It’s made a huge difference to my life as I can really switch off when I need to. With lots of family and friends living in the US I often wake up to updates from across the pond, after that I’ll check social media and the news and quickly check nothing urgent has come through from work. I’ve gotten really into cold showers recently so I use the whimhoff app and time myself under a cold stream for 3 minutes at the end of my shower. Its exhilarating and seems to both wake me up and provide a rush of endorphins, so I come out of the shower feeling pretty positive and ready to take on whatever the day brings.
What is the first thing you do at the start of your working day?
If it’s a factory day I’ll walk the factory floor, check in with the managers and ensure everything’s ok before sitting down to my emails. Then I’ll work with different members of the ops team to ensure we’re on top of things and see where we can improve on efficiency. If it’s an office day I’ll normally check on sales, social media, customer services then a bit on finance then it’s onto supply chain and product development. I’m always developing ideas and recipes in the background so I’ll spend some of my day speaking with suppliers and sampling new products and techniques. I love working with producers to create food products that innovate, taste delicious and support farmers whilst reducing waste. It really excites me and the only way to do this well is by talking to suppliers a lot and really getting to the bottom of supply chain issues and working together on solutions. This is what gets me up in the mornings.
How do you prioritise your day’s work?
As a company we use an online task management system, this is holistic and we assign ourselves and each other with tasks and priorities. I find this hugely stress relieving as in the early days I really struggled to stay on top of and remember everything that needed to be done on any given day. I normally run through my to-do list and work out what is most urgent. At this stage a lot of prioritising is relatively instinctive, and as I have no one to answer to I really have to push myself to complete the less enjoyable tasks.
Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
Again depending on whether the team is predominantly manual or administrative impacts this answer a lot, so operations and other departments differ here;
Regarding a desk based department, yes we have some regular meetings in place to catch up, but if I’m honest unless we’re workshopping ideas or project planning I often think meetings can delay proceedings. My approach is that most tasks and projects need constant momentum, so with a task/project management system the persons accountable need to be always pushing to complete the next step. I’ve intentionally hired a very proactive team to ensure this. This means tasks can often be pushed and completed outside of meetings and often saves time and gets things done much more efficiently. I think because I used to be a project manager and developer in tech I enjoy working in an agile manner and quickly learned that meetings could simply delay tasks and sometimes were used to simply kill time. I also learned that if I’m to maximise my value I need to ensure I’m not constantly project managing the team to get their work done. As an employee I appreciated autonomy hugely as it led to much more valuable and often creative work and thinking, and I believe my team appreciate this management approach too.
Do you have a working lunch or is it good to take a break?
I will try to take a break of some description in the day, but it depends where I’m working. If its the kitchen I’ll often try some products which works out as lunch. When I worked in an office in central London I would religiously take an hour to go for a walk. I still try and fit in a walk if I’m at home or the office as it very much clears my head.
When does your working day finish?
Again it varies, production generally ends around 4pm so in operations I’ll head off by about 5pm. If I’m at home I’ll generally finish around 6pm. Over the past couple of years I’ve gotten much better at being strict with my working hours. Prior to that I would work every hour God gave me unless I was burned out and often I’d only rest if I was unwell or completely run down.
How do you prepare for the next day’s work?
I always ensure all my emails are read, check my diary for the next day and plan where I’m going to work from. I’ll set my (musical) alarm accordingly and put my work phone on to “do not disturb” and put it down for the day.
What’s your favourite piece of technology?
My Macbook Pro; its a beautiful piece of equipment, its extremely efficient and is very easy to carry around which is vital for me as I’m always on the go!
How do you switch off?
Cooking really is an escape for me, I suppose that’s why I started the business. So even when I’m working with our products or developing in the evenings it really never feels like work because I love it so much. That is the only time I allow work and business to cross over out of hours these days. I eat out a lot and have recently developed an interest in golf of all things, so I’ve been popping to the driving range after work recently and that’s been great fun.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My brother recently advised me “Use the energy you have on what is important and know when to give yourself a break.” This has been invaluable as its easy to give yourself a hard time for not doing everything all of the time. Self care is really key for longevity in running a business I believe.