A typical day at a startup company: Does it even exist? I am a CEO of eHotel.cz, a growing online booking company. Our goal to change how people travel within the Czech Republic. We grew to a team of 15 people. Most of the team works in sales and customer service. Everyday we work together to make eHotel.cz better. This is my typical day running the company:
I wake up at 8am, usually without setting the alarm clock. Then I have a coffee and a breakfast, read a book or news for a while and start working around 9am at home. I start with my top 3 tasks. These are the difficult and important tasks that I need to acomplish that day to move the company forward.
Tip: Check morning routine of inspirational people at www.mymorningroutine.com
My typical morning “Top 3” Tasks:
- Preparing investor update, project review or pitch
- Drafting ideas for new product design
- Analyze our Finance, site performance and other KPIs to understand what is going on
- Preparing for meetings, both internal and external
I usually switch my phone to the “do not disturb” mode and call back in the afternoon. (I keep investors and other important people on the whitelist, though.) That helps me achieve much more without sacrificing a lot of responsiveness. I wrote a story about it (Offline is the new luxury)
I prefer to work from home in the mornings. I like the silence and the fact that I do not have to spend my morning travelling in the morning rush. It might not be a typical day at a startup for a lot of people, but it works for me.
Lunch: Informal meets or a quick bite
Typical lunch options:
- Networking lunch with friends, colleagues or business partners
- Lunch with the team
- Have a quick bite at home or at the office. Sometimes I drink Mana, the local Soylent competition. It is a nutritionally perfect food alternative (links to a Czech article).
I do my e-mail on my iPhone on my way to work, using public transit. I developed an effective e-mail “triage” method. It helps me react fairly quickly without interruptions. I love trams here in Prague (or Uber), because I can sit and do e-mail or read a book the whole way, without losing time.
As we have a lot of part-timers and home office work, daily stand-ups are infeasible for us. A weekly update has been efficient so far. We meet for 1 hour around lunchtime. Our investors from Usertech and Chenen often join in person. We have a standing agenda:
- Our performance last week: KPI review, comparison to target. We quickly potential reasons for successes or fails and what we should do with it.
- Our target for next week, what are we going to do to reach it.
- Every team membersreports its work in a simple format. It is taken from daily scrum:
- 3 top things assigned from last week and if they were finished or not
- 3 top things they are going to work on next week
- What obstacles are impeding my progress?
Afternoon: Meeting time
I usually spend the afternoon meeting individual team members to:
- Discuss the progress with their work, help with issues
- Deal with difficult client situations
- Train and develop our people
- Approve designs and/or new features before release
I also often meet other people, such as clients, investors, our vendors, partners. I do not plan much for the afternoon. I am rather ready to help my team members to maximize the progress.
Evening: Dinner, “Family time”
I go home around 6pm. Our investor often calls me on his drive home, so we review our progress and strategy frequently. This requires me to be ready to answer any question on strategy, numbers and progress. I always need to be on top of things, which is good.
Evenings are usually dinner and “family time”
8pm+: Sport, work or relax
After 8 pm, I usually do sports, spend more time with my fiancé, hang out with friends. Or I jump back to do some more work, usually some easy admin stuff and e-mail. I try to turn off the computer at 9pm, but it is not always the case.
A typical day at a startup: Does it even exist?
Not everyday is like this, of course. Sometimes I work 16 hours in ecstatic flow, sometimes I hardly accomplish anything. Some days I run, do yoga, spend time outside and play. Some days I just stress, drink gallons of coffee and just stay unhealthy.
My biggest productivity hacks are sleep and splitting the strategic and the admin tasks. Also, you have to love what you do to be productive. If I wake up rested, work on cool stuff and have some time to play and socialize, then I consider the day perfect.
How does your day look like?
The reason I wrote this article is to open a discussion. How does your typical day at a startup look like? On what activities do you spend the most of your time? Please comment bellow.
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