#HowIWork: ExP’s CEO John talks productivity.

kid holding up a drawing

The start of my day

I wake up anytime between 5am and 8am. I have two young girls, (2, 0), and they wake up early. So, my morning routine is reasonably in flux. However, I shower and get ready for work between 8-9 every day. I’m usually at my desk cracking on by 9am.

My desk is currently in my brother’s bedroom. My wife and I live in the annex at my parents’ home, so there are many people around. 10 in total.

My workspace: my desk is in the corner, I have a window to my left with books, notepads, a microstar Harry Kewell, and a photograph from the bootcamp I attended as a brand new SDR on the windowsill. Behind me, my brother’s desk looks into the long bedroom. You can see his bed, and my other brother’s bed. I have a light on my desk, and a to-do list. They supplement my calendar to keep me focused on my priorities between coaching sessions and other meetings.

On the wall behind my desk, I have notes stuck between my two-year-old’s drawings. One with revenue targets for the financial year, another with my personal objectives and finally one with the company values. It’s all a bit start up, not ping pong and beer fridge start-up, but Jeff Bezos with a messy desk start up (we hope so, anyway).

What does my week look like?

My week consists of coaching one-to-ones, prospecting, and motivating the ExP team. So, at the moment that means a constant switch between LinkedIn, Zoom, Refract and Gmail. Refract is central to how we help SDRs improve. By listening to and reviewing their calls. We use that information to coach and run role-plays with reps. This helps them lift their ability to the next level. Listening to calls is a highlight. The gems and nuggets you find when you listen to what happens on calls is incredible. A veritable gold mine that provides so much insight. There is no other area of work that receives so little attention, but can drive so much impact.

When I am not listening to, or making calls, I listen to podcasts. Some of my favourites are Surf and Sales, How I Built This, Lizard People, That Peter Crouch Podcast, and The Square Ball. Proper variety, but I listen to a lot of podcasts. I like the background noise, and it is my personal development time. I will often pause and re-listen to moments, note a quote and use the things I learn in what I do.

Every now and again, I take time out to exercise. Sometimes it’s a run; I’m working on my couch to 5k.  Other times, it’s a quick set of push-ups or lunges. I use Daily Habit Tracker to track goals I have set in my personal life, alongside work.

an open book with the meaning of productivity written on the pages
Taking small breaks during the day can help improve your productivity.

How do I balance work and personal life?

One of the brilliant things about working from home is the closeness of the kids. Small breaks during the day to chat, have a snack or lunch with the family is a great blessing. I try to finish work at dinnertime, so I can spend the evening with my family. However, as anyone who works for themselves knows, that doesn’t always happen.The key is having a separate space. I can switch off, to an extent, when I leave my laptop in the office and go downstairs. I can come back and switch on if I need to work late, or over the weekend.

Closing thoughts.

I think the key to anything is figuring out how to get stuff done. In Band of Brothers, a HBO series about the 101st Airborne in WW2, there is a scene where Private Blythe asks Lieutenant Spiers for help in dealing with fear. Lieutenant Spiers responds, ‘We are all scared Private. You hope you are going to survive. The only hope you have is to accept the fact that you’re already dead. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to function as a soldier is supposed to – without mercy, compassion, or remorse. All war depends upon it.’ Although chilling in the context it’s delivered, it applies to everything we do at work. We sometimes freeze in the moment due to laziness, distraction, impostor syndrome, anxiety, nerves, or any feeling that can prevent us from doing what we need, to achieve our goals.

The reality is; if we want any level of success above where we are now, we have to accept that this is it. Now is the time, and this is life. Then we will be able to act without fear, without hesitation and do the best thing. That’s when our shackles of doubt are removed, and we can achieve greatness.

That’s how I try to work.

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