A question that I get asked a lot is how I manage to fit everything that I do into my schedule and how my days look. Questions deserve answers and I’ll be trying here to break down a little of how one of my typical days would look like.

The Morning
I usually start my day with the alarm sounding at 5:30am. Why so early? While I love my bed as much as the next person, I know I solve complex problems best with a fresh mind in the morning and I plan on using that to my advantage.

After a quick shower, I sit down with the first morning coffee and breakfast and have a look through my email to see if anything urgent has appeared. I’ll go through my newsfeeds on Flipboard and Feedly and occasionally check some newspapers too. This prepares me for what’s going on in the industry and the world.

This morning routine is (usually—when there’s not an emergency) very soothing and gets the day off to a great start!

The Office
I’m usually in the office no later than 7:30am to get started on the most important project for the day. After a couple of hours of uninterrupted, and by the time the rest of the world is starting to “wake up” it is usually time to check in on the email again to see if there’s anything special to attend to this morning.

The rest of the day then depends on what is most urgent and what’s on the plate. Meetings I try and keep to the afternoons if possible but calls are sometimes inevitable and the day usually contains a few more of these blocks of project time. Every day is unique in what it contains.

Flexibility… Every Day is Different
Some days will feature working from a café for a few hours to get a change in scenery (especially for writing) and some days I might work more from home, have lectures to give or attend, or be on the road. At least three days I week I try and head to the gym in the morning or mid-afternoon too depending on my state of mind.

The Evening
Having gotten an early start, I’m usually heading home by 4-5pm when I’ll get something to eat and get the household chores done. Usually I’ll do another round of check in my email in the evening and catch up on writing/email before. Before going to bed at 10pm, I spend at least half an hour reading some interesting articles or books to clear the day.

Overall
One of the benefits of being a business owner is that you can be flexible and shape your days as necessary. My personal struggle is always the low level of energy right before lunch and in the middle of the afternoon, which is why I try and schedule meetings at those hours (social events are energizing!) or get to the gym to regain some energy.

With the flexibility comes great responsibility and clearly some days the energy just isn’t there, which is when you have to try and be smart about it and stir what you need to do around a bit to make the best use of the time and energy you have (and the things need).

What’s your daily routine like? I’d love to hear it!

We’re probably more in love with being productive than ever. Most every article online is about being more productive. Today, I want to reflect on the vicious cycle of clearing an inbox just a little too quickly, or sending something off to someone else a little too quickly.

One of the most common tips you read is to clear your inboxes efficiently and thus delegate quickly. This hunt for clearing out ones inbox as quickly as possible however comes at the expense of overall efficiency when delegating comes just a matter of shifting the problem quickly around.

See, done properly delegation is wonderful. Done poorly however it’s just an excuse for asking someone something that you could have easily found out yourself. This comes at the expense of everyone’s time.

When you force the problem onto someone else, even if it is simple, you need them to shift focus, look into it, become familiar with it and then get back with a reply. If this is something that you could have found out by doing a couple of minutes of research yourself, then this is nothing good.

I get the feeling that we today are a little too quick in dropping a problem into someone else’s lap without spending even just a few moments thinking about the bigger picture and familiarizing ourselves with it.

To me, this is a big problem and something to shy away from. I’m far from perfect myself, but I try and make it a habit to think something through twice before sending it off to someone else. It benefits all of us in the long run.

On Learning for Life

A few weeks back I wrote about the desire to learn and how I believe that this is an important trait to have. Today, I want to reiterate learning by looking at it from another perspective: Learning for life.

Our schools today are very narrowly focused. Just about everyone is focused on learning what’s necessary for a test or an exam, regarding everything else as irrelevant.

As I wrote a few weeks back, I’ve always had an interest in learning new things (thanks to not only my parents, but maybe especially my grandmother). Our schools (in a global context) premieres students for learning a set specific of information and being able to largely recite it during an exam, upon which you are rewarded with a good grade.

Ask in a given class who reads anything marked “optional”. Even sadder, the general opinion about those who do read things that are optional, just out of interest, are still negative. People look down on you! Even in higher education, at schools with top grade admission requirements, being interested in something and being passionate about a subject is something to be dismissed for. I’m astounded!

Schools prepare us largely for nothing, by premiering the abandonment of narrow interests for a conformity to a large pool of nothingness, where keen interest and passion has no place.

One of my most inspiring moments was meeting Sir Martin Sorrel at the Houses of Parliament last year. The passion with which he spoke of his industry and the deep knowledge he had about every aspect of his business was impressive.

It is in those moments that I once again realize that I would much rather be someone who is passionate about something, than be someone who really couldn’t care less, only doing what a “higher power” (figuratively) is asking them to do.

Oh, and yes, I would definitely be that hated professor who lectures with the intent of teaching students things for life and not for the exam.

On Believing In Yourself

If there’s one trait that I think all business owners and entrepreneurs would agree on, it is that your ability to believe in yourself is key. There’s the rule in business: “If you don’t believe in what you are doing, how do you expect anyone else to?”

That’s really all there is too it. It’s surprisingly simple and stunning how far just truly believing in yourself and projecting this image confidently on the rest of the world. If only it were that simple.

I know for a fact that most entrepreneurs second-guess themselves constantly. I am absolutely no exception. Sometimes the world is superb and the image is much less of a veil than a true strong belief. Other days you really have to “fake it until you make it” to shake off the feeling that everyone in the world is firmly against you (and faking it can work surprisingly well!).

At the end of the day, you need to stand up for yourself and believe in yourself even when everyone looks sideways at you. Being a young entrepreneur I face this constantly. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t drain my energy. Ultimately, you just need to find yourself and connect with your beliefs, stand up for yourself and believe that you are indeed doing the right thing.

As you learn quickly when you post things on the internet: For every loud person slamming you, there are many more who silently appreciates what you do. You just have to remember that.

In any company, processes are quickly established whether you design them specifically or by pure happenstance. While processes can be great in handling situations, they can often lead to less than ideal outcomes with customers.

I realize that this is highly dependent on both the industry and the type of interaction, but the ability to be flexible within processes is something that ought to be worked on more.

Far too many companies create and design strict processes by their own administrational structure, instead of thinking about the customer. This is most often apparent in support structures. How many times have a company not asked you to “please contact department XYZ instead”?

To me, this is foreign. I can see why such a process has been developed and why it is appealing, but as a company you should really fight it. Why should the customer, who contacted the company be forced to find the right contact? Isn’t this simply the job of the company?

Apparently many companies don’t seem to think so, which is a shame. Because what we also very frequently see, is that new companies to the market become wildly successful just one a very basic premise: They make the customer’s life easier.

Now I ask you, would you really want a competitor to challenge your company based on just the simple thing of a better process to deal with the customer? I didn’t think so.