My Monday morning always starts nice and early on a Friday afternoon; planning is everything, so a list of the following week’s activities is meticulously written down to set the tone and focus for getting things done. This means I can get to my desk on Monday and start work straight away without the hindrance of thinking what needs to be done.
When Monday actually arrives, I jump out of bed at 6.00am (a routine I follow every day, even at weekends), get dressed (picking 1 of the 14 suits I have available to me) and eat a good breakfast. It’s just under an hour’s drive to work, so I sit down at my desk at 8.00am. The hour of quietness before most other people arrives gives me the time to read through any weekend e-mails and focus on the day’s activities.
I like lists. Hand-written lists. They allow you to hone in on what needs to be achieved by the end of the day, as well as giving you the satisfaction of putting a big, fat tick against every completed item (I recommend this if you want happiness in your life. This, and giving to charity are two of the greatest achievements after birth, marriage, buying a house, becoming a parent and holidays!) The sense of achievement is a drive, and sends a rush of endorphins throughout my body, knowing that I’m actually getting things done- slight exaggeration, but not far off the truth.
The first thing on the hand-written list to complete is a meeting with a prospective client (an exciting, but nerve-wracking time.) The pressure to ‘convert’ is always in the back of my mind, but my first priority is always to get to know them as a person. The meeting kicks off with a conversation about their recent holiday, how they managed to keep their kids quiet at dinner with bribes of ice creams and other sugary treats, and how they feel coming back to work after two weeks away from their desk. About half an hour into the meeting, I throw in the question “right, shall we actually talk about what you want to do?”- I do get down to business eventually. My overriding feeling at any meeting (or even social gathering with friends) is to let the person I’m sat opposite know they can trust me. Being a ‘gentleman’ is considered old-fashioned in these modern times, but the values that are placed on that title are very important to me, and I strive to make sure that is conveyed as a mark of respect for allowing me a portion of their time.
As an avid note-taker, I make action points of the things they want to achieve, whilst sipping on a rather interestingly-tasting coffee. I asked for tea when I arrived, but give the stiff British upper-lip and drink it anyway.
The meeting comes to an end, we have a firm handshake (rule number one of being a gentleman), and I recap on the points he’s discussed, and clearly communicate who needs to do what to achieve the set deadline. I’ve never been in the Army (luckily), but do like things to run like clockwork and with a military-style precision.
I get back to the office, write a personal thank you e-mail for ‘Mr Prospective Client’s’ time and send out various e-mails to colleagues for work that needs to be completed, along with action dates and follow ups. Big fat tick next to 3 items and it’s only 11.30am!
The rest of the day is what I class a ‘Frantic Follow Up Afternoon.’ This is where I go into a frenzy of checking through my notebook for items that don’t have said ‘big fat tick’ next to them. I identify priority tasks (yes that does involve making a list from all the other lists I’ve compiled) and prompt people for the action they’ve promised. This is a full afternoon of activities; hitting ‘send’ at least 30-40 times before the remainder of the afternoon expires.
It gets to 6 o’clock, and that’s me done for the day. Off I go home, for a nice relaxing evening of doing invoices and sending booking forms for a business I jointly own with my wife- who needs to put up their feet?! The great thing about owning a business with ‘wifey’ is that we get to spend time together on a project we’re both passionate about. I believe it strengthens our marriage and makes us strive together to achieve good things. After a couple of hours paperwork and more e-mail frenzy, I pour myself a G ‘n’T, and read through the latest copy of Gentleman’s Journal (you can pick up your copy every 2 months from all good retailers, gents!)
I answer a couple of e-mails late on, before turning into bed at 9.30pm. I’m a stickler for routine (although I do like spontaneity when the right time comes around) and always ensure I get a full 8 hours of sleep, ready to wake up with a sharp mind and focus for the ‘Tuesday List’ that awaits me (prepared on Monday before I left the office.)