My Working Day – Teresa Wells – Programme Director at EDUKaid
As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example and 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? We spoke to Teresa Wells, Programme Director at EdUKaid, about her working day.
What time do you wake up?
Around 7am – I don’t set an alarm as my body clock is pretty reliable and I have always got my dog Mika as backup.
What do you typically have for breakfast?
I start with a cup of proper coffee and then have cereal most mornings – it feels like a healthy way to start the day.
What is the rest of your morning routine?
I work from home so don’t have to worry about a commute. Just a quick shower and then a dog walk with my 6-year-old cockapoo Mika.
What is the first thing you do at the start of your working day?
I work through my messages and emails first – my colleagues are in Tanzania and 2 hours ahead of me there is usually a few WhatsApp messages to deal with. I then rewrite my ‘to do’ list for the week using old-fashioned pen and paper – I’ve tried various digital methods but always revert to my trusty notebook.
How do you prioritise your day’s work?
I am most productive in the morning so tend to tackle anything particularly taxing then – I’ll leave less challenging tasks until the afternoon. Working for a small charity means that you are a Jack or Jill of all trades and have lots of competing demands on your time so my work is very varied – from writing high-value bids for institutional funding to sending a thank you card to someone that has raised some money for the charity and everything in between.
Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
I like to be prepared for meetings so usually have a list or agenda – even if it is just to keep myself on track. Working remotely for an international development charity like EdUKaid, most of my meetings are virtual which generally means they are more productive but it’s not the same as being in a room with people. I am fortunate to have visited Tanzania several times and meetings there form a major part of my visits.
This can be anything from meeting government officials to try and influence education policy development (these meetings are very formal and take a lot of preparation with my colleagues) to meeting the parents and children who benefit from our activities so that I can hear firsthand about their experiences.
Do you have a working lunch or do you take a break?
Pretty much always a working lunch – a bad habit I developed having worked 30+ years in the charity sector.
When does your working day finish?
Officially it’s 5pm but I tend to work quite flexibly – this works really well for me and the charity. I am not very good at switching off completely so will often check emails and messages in the evening.
How do you prepare for the next day’s work?
I’ll make a note of things to remember at the end of the day knowing that I will re-do my ‘to-do’ list in the morning. One benefit of checking messages and emails in the evening is that you know what you have to deal with in the morning.
What’s your favourite piece of technology?
My iPhone – I’d be lost without it.
How do you switch off?
I love to go on long dog walks when I can but, even an hour around the local park helps me unwind. My husband and I also love to travel in our motorhome (with the dog, obviously!) and I am much better at not checking emails when we are away so we do this as much as we can.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My late mum always used to say “you can achieve so much more with a smile than a frown” – sound advice that has definitely worked for me in all aspects of life.