I’m Hampus Jakobsson (Twitter) and I love getting things done. And I probably suffer from ADD. And I am a great believer in empowering my colleagues. I’m building my second company (www.brisk.io). I founded my first in 2002 with five friends, and grew it to 180 people, before getting acquired by Blackberry in 2010 for $150m. Then I spent two years heading up M&A for Blackberry EMEA and angel investing. But then I realised you learn more by doing than observing and advising, so then I started Brisk.
I wake up 6 am and wash my three kids while my wife makes breakfast. Then I shower and join the eating.
After the kids are finished and run off to play I read the news. And when I say news, I mean less than 5 mins on what is happening in the real world (sometimes in a paper newspaper as my wife loves them).
Then checking what is happening internally in the company – on Slack. Then reading my email, and trying to empty it or at least get close. As soon as something is done I archive it. This takes about 10 minutes. If any email takes more than a minute I just keep it for when I get to work.
And then 10 minutes going through 200 blog posts in Feedly. Triaging it quickly, opening things that I can read and finish in less than 30 seconds, and if it takes more and looks interesting I post them to Pocket for later reading.
Then my wife and I prepare the kids (brushing teeth, reminding to go to the bathroom, getting dressed) and I get out to our huge box bike and bike the 10 km (6 miles) ride from home to school, then kindergarten, then work.
I start by updating my priority list and going through it – what should I try to accomplish today, and how does my calendar look like. Usually a colleague grabs me and want to sync something – the latest release update, the blog metrics, sales progress, a specific customer, or just something that needs a ten minute discussion. Usually we go to the kitchen to enjoy this discussion with an amazing cup of coffee.
Most mornings have some kind of “theme” – either it is informing current investors, going through metrics and looking if we can find anything that need improving, going through the coming weeks of development plan, or looking at what hinders someone in their work.
We have the belief in good food and a lunch discussion. So we go out for lunch or have lunch in the kitchen together.
After lunch it is usually the same thing – syncing sales, metrics, marketing, or development. But usually there also is a customer meeting or two. As most of my customers are in the US, while we are in Europe, the afternoon is typically when the first customer meetings happen.
Home to cook
I leave work for home at 4:30 pm and listen to a podcast or a recorded customer call on the 15 minute bike ride home. Then I cook for the family and read some email before everyone is gathered at the table. At dinner my wife and I discuss life, what needs to be fixed, and talk with the kids about their day. Once a week I go out for dinner (half the time work related) and the other evenings I am home getting kids in bed and hanging out with my wife (when she is not away on some social activity).
Efficient two hours
When everyone is in bed, around 9 pm, I get two hours of good work. Every second evening it is a customer call and every other it is other tasks. Some evenings I take a break and just do other things, talk to a friend on the phone or something relaxing.
Around 11 pm I try to stop working, sometimes unsuccessfully. But the best way for me to get my brain wound down right now is watching a TV-series episode. I try to get my wonderful habit of reading fiction back, or even better doing meditation, but as you also probably experience there are way too many good TV-series out there (especially when you are getting tired).
On the weekends I have the same routine with reading email and news in the morning, but the whole family gets up later, as well as two hours of work in the evening. But between those I try not to live in my email or slack but hang out with my wife and kids. And finding great things to cook and eat 🙂
I am in love with a couple of tools, and some are far from ideal but so ingrained in me that I can’t get rid of them:
- Feedly: getting all news in and triaging and sorting.
- Pocket: storing and reading things that take more than five minutes.
- Real time todo: Gmail. I use my email as a todo-list in a sense. Which I know is a really bad idea, but I am used to it.
- Time based todo: Google Calendar. I use my calendar as a way to block time in my calendar for certain tasks or to sync with colleagues.
- Priority list (right now Evernote): I have a priority todo-list in a document that I update daily and I make sure to progress.
- Slack: have been a life saver to get my colleagues to not email me (as that is my stupid todo-list) as well as divide discussions into topics – saves a lot of time to know that the discussion is about a certain feature or about sales.
- Google Drive: great for collaborating on blog posts or plans. Or doing burn rate scenarios.
- Keynote: great for sketching out plans, architecture, or other things. I am probably very visual and for me to sketch things out while I think gives me a better overview of my thoughts.
by Hampus Jakobsson