Artefact UK’s CEO Tom Cijffers has written about what a ‘normal’ day looks like for him in the Business Leader column My Working Day.
Some of his insights will inspire and others make you laugh, he’s even thrown in a proper New York bagel recommendation.
This article was first featured on the Business Leader’s website here.
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 Tom Cijffers, CEO UK at Artefact, about his working day.
WHAT TIME DO YOU USUALLY WAKE UP?
The alarm goes at 6:45 and I’m out and about by 7:15.
WHAT DO YOU TYPICALLY HAVE FOR BREAKFAST?
Coffee! I recently returned to London following three years working in New York, where I developed a love for great bagels – sadly I’m yet to find the real thing in London. If you’re ever in New York, ‘Best Coffee and Bagel” on 35th really lives up to its name.
WHAT IS THE REST OF YOUR MORNING ROUTINE BEFORE YOU START WORK?
I really value my 45 minutes of tube time. I typically spend 15 minutes clearing my email, 15 minutes reading a white paper or other pieces of professional learning, and then 15 minutes reading a book – I alternate between low-brow sci-fi and history, philosophy and politics!
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU DO AT THE START OF YOUR WORKING DAY?
I print my calendar, confirm my meetings and, crucially, arrange my time outside meetings to make sure I get the day’s tasks completed.
HOW DO YOU PRIORITISE YOUR DAY’S WORK?
Our focus is growth for our people, our clients, and our business – in that order. So I try to spend as much time with our people and clients as possible.
DO YOU PLAN MEETINGS OR ARE THEY A WASTE OF TIME?
Meetings are key. This may not be a popular statement, but I’m also a big believer in pre-meets. While it’s easy to deride ‘meetings about meetings’ in certain contexts, they are invaluable. In our case, we’re developing complex AI and machine-learning programs for our clients so we must be clear, concise and transparent if we’re to get things done. It’s a complex proposition and – ironically – simple stories take time to develop.
DO YOU HAVE A WORKING LUNCH OR IS IT GOOD TO TAKE A BREAK?
I’m a strong believer in managing energy as much as managing time. So I try to find 15 minutes to watch YouTube with a sandwich at my desk. For the last couple of months, it’s been my moment to catch up on the NFL, but more importantly, that 15 minutes of switching off gives me the energy for the rest of the day.
WHEN DOES YOUR WORKING DAY FINISH?
I try to leave by 18:30, but at the moment we’re actively hiring. This means I’m often going for a coffee or drink after work with industry contacts, clients and candidates, which means I finish closer to 19:30.
HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THE NEXT DAY’S WORK?
I go back to my printed calendar, log what’s been achieved and prep my to-do list for the next day.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY?
Google has become such an integral part of our daily lives that we take it for granted, but it’s a truly amazing technology, all the way from search through the tools for advertisers to the cloud platform. Artefact is one of the very few certified partners across Google’s marketing and cloud platforms, and I learn more about it from my team every day. The more I hear, the more I admire what they’ve achieved!
HOW DO YOU SWITCH OFF?
I’ve recently taken up Tai chi, which I find amazingly relaxing. I also love in-depth, strategy-based computer games. I appreciate this may not sound quite so relaxing, but actually concentrating on something that doesn’t give you time to think about work is hugely beneficial.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
Benjamin Franklin, United States founding father, famously said: “Well done is better than well said.” In marketing, and in artificial intelligence, there are many companies that talk a good game but can’t deliver. We’re always working to get things done.