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Good Morning The Interactive Team

The Interactive Team guide to becoming a Morning Person

Our Managing Director Gilles Baudet has a phrase he likes to say in the morning: “beast mode on”

He is notoriously and quite enviously regarded throughout the company as the type of Morning Person few of us can even dream of (geddit?)

Now a couple of weeks ago he gave us some of his daily habits for success and a lot of them were related to his morning routine – which got me thinking – what other habits are out there that help people turn “beast mode on” in the morning and hit the day running?

So after asking around HQ and scouring the internet I’ve put some of the best wake-up routines to the test…

 

Start the night before:

How can you get better at waking up before you’re even gone to sleep you wonder? It’s a concept called sleep hygiene and it covers everything from bedtime to whether your phone should be beside you or not (hint: it shouldn’t). It stands to reason that if you’re better at falling asleep then logically you should be better at waking up, let alone more rested and ready for the day ahead.

For instance – always make sure to go to the loo before bed – if your body wakes you up for a 3am trip to the loo you can throw off your whole sleep cycle and ruin your attitude for the next day.

Start turning off the lights above you and opt for softer lamps instead – we often spend all day flooded in artificial light meaning your body is tricked into thinking it should be awake when it shouldn’t.

And another aspect of sleep hygiene is putting down your electronics an hour before you go to bed. This was definitely the hardest part of the experiment for me. I’m always clutching my phone, and appallingly feel lost, sometimes literally (thank you Google Maps!) without it. But an hour without your phone before bed can be surprisingly useful. I started moisturizing before bed (a first for me), and picking the next day’s outfit before laying in out ready to go in the morning. Knowing I didn’t have to waste time the next morning uhming and ahing over an outfit made a nice change to the routine.

 

Do something that makes you want to get out of bed each day:

This seems pretty obvious but if you loathe your job, chances are you’re not bounding out of bed every day to get to it. Your ability to get out of bed depends on how motivated you are for the day ahead of you, so if you have zero motivation you have zero desire to get out of bed.

This was Gilles personal recommendation, “I love what I do, I love the energy, the atmosphere and the industry, that’s why I’m so excited every single day” so find what it is that you love doing and then that daily struggle out from under the bed covers won’t seem so bad!

Now I do love my job, The Interactive Team HQ is a terrific environment to work in, we have in-jokes, and parties, and genuinely care about each other and the work we do but I still couldn’t attack the day with the same vigour as the Managing Director, Gilles Baudet. Instead what I started doing was scheduling one really exciting task for each day, giving me something I was just dying to get into work to do – and I’ve been early to work every day this week.

 

Exercise in the morning:

Now, I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t managed to do this one yet! But I’m assured by the girls in the adjacent office that it is a must for becoming a Morning Person. A gym has just opened around the corner from our Glasgow HQ so I know a lot of the other staff in the office have joined so I suppose I’ll drag myself along – but the science behind it is sound.

The logic is that, by exercising first thing in the morning you’re kick starting your metabolism and signaling your body that it needs energy for the day ahead. Also, by the time the end of the day rolls around – who has the energy for a workout – let alone the motivation?

Other benefits are that allegedly an early morning workout encourages you to eat healthier throughout the day, so its really win-win – so now I really don’t have any excuses for skipping the morning gym sessions with the rest of the office!

 

Resist the temptation of the snooze button:

I told a lie earlier, this was the hardest part, but while I managed to put down my phone each night I did not manage to swear off hitting the snooze button every day. Rationally I know I can, but it was very hard changing the habit of a lifetime.

You see, when that first alarm rings out, truly, how good is the quality of your sleep for an additional 10 minutes? Rubbish. Now if you’re like me your body has learnt to sleep through the sound of your alarm, despite it being beside my ear, and when you do eventually wake up you’re still groggy. Well there’s an explanation for that. If you wake during your REM (rapid eye movement) cycle you’ll remain tired as your body hasn’t completed the sleep cycle.

To tackle this common issue there are a plethora of apps out there that monitor your breathing and movement while you’re asleep, waking you at the best possible time to maximize wakefulness for the next day – meaning no more snooze button!

 

 

So which technique worked best for me? Well, surprisingly the phone free zone had a very large effect on me, though maybe a whole hour was pushing it! Having a task I was looking forward to each day waiting for me at The Interactive Team HQ also made a difference in my motivation for getting out of bed – but as for exercise and eliminating my snooze button – the jury is still out.

SUCCESSSS

Gilles’ 6 Daily Habits for Success

So I read Izzy’s article yesterday and it got me thinking, while those points are good for when you’re starting a business it doesn’t give you an idea of what its like actually running the business and I thought that would be a valuable lesson to share. These are things that I do every single day – that I feel have helped shape the growth of the business – that keep me motivated and pumped up for the day.

 

So this is a list of what I do daily to help me run The Interactive Team:

 

 

1 I verbalize my goals

Every day I get up, sometimes I’m not in the best mood, there are more than a few sleepless nights with two children under 5 but to make sure I leave the house in the right mood I take the time every morning to verbalize my goals. I get out of bed and I stand at my window and look over the view and I say out loud what my goals are for the day and for my life. I tell it the universe. It’s an amazing way to set a positive attitude for the day.

 

 

2 I take a gratitude shower

Not everyone showers in the morning and I get that, but to me it works because it fits into my morning motivational routine plus it helps wake me up. So to help me get into the right frame of mind for the rest of the day I use the time in the shower to say things I’m grateful for, my beautiful family, how many great people are in the Team, my own personality traits that I’m able to motivate the people around me to help this business grow – I’m genuinely thankful everyday for the people around me and taking the time each day to remember that really amps me up for the day

 

 

3 I listen to motivational music on the drive in

There are some songs that I just love. They really set the tone for the day. I know that Huw used to listen to the Rocky theme every day, its a technique you’ll find a lot of top business people use because music has a way of effecting your mood instantly. I listen to Jack Savoretti every day, but whatever you love and whatever takes your attitude to the next level, make a playlist and hammer it. It’d actually make a great addition to your smart breaks to reset your attitude.

 

 

4 I share my attitude

Once I reach the office I like to take the time to talk to everyone I can and help them gear up for the day, share my passion and get everyone into the same mind-frame. I don’t see my time as my own in the morning, I’m with whoever needs me, whoever wants to learn from me or jam with me. Then I run the morning meeting and we spend time every time learning about how and why the business works and what each person need to do to take it to the next level.

 

 

5 I keep my energy up

Because my day is so packed, if I don’t take the time to eat I wouldn’t get through it all. We hold so many meetings in the kitchen that we bought a board table to accommodate us all. I love sushi, and I try to eat fruit too – I think its really easy to slip into bad habits with food so I’m always conscious to buy fresh ingredients when I’m out and then I’ll make myself sandwiches throughout the day. Of course, I do have the occasional espresso – but it’s without sugar – so I don’t feel too guilty about it.

 

 

6 I prepare for the next day

Every night I spend about 1 to 2 hours preparing for the next day. Its essential when running your own business, especially one with multiple offices across two countries, that you stay organized. I prepare the brief for the next morning, I review all the emails I’ve been sent during the day, I check our numbers and make sure the business is on track and hitting its goals. You’ve got to take the time each day to take stock of what you’ve achieved and what you’ve still got to do to reach your goals.

 

 

I’m not saying that if you do these things your own business will be successful, I just now that over the last three years of running The Interactive Team I’ve done these 6 things every single day because they suit me and they’ve helped my business grow. If they can help you change your own habits and improve your own start-up then I am more than happy to have shared them with you – and I hope they bring you as much focus and success as they’ve brought me.

 

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The Interactive Team reviews the 5 signs you should start your own business

 

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When The Interactive Team started in 2012, it was Gilles Baudet, a couple of mates, and an office with bad carpeting. Gilles had moved cities to be closer to his wife’s family (not to mention country!), he had a baby on the way and he’d just left a well paid job with clear career progression. It was a risk, a big, big risk. But he didn’t choose to start his own business and risk everything without doing his homework first – he had a clear vision of what he wanted to create and a clear goal of where he wanted to end up. So once you’ve decided you want to start your own business – well – what else do you need?

It turns out there are certain qualities that every entrepreneur has in common; signs that the risk they’re taking might well pay off. So here is our list of some signs that you too should start your own business.

 

 

1 You want to be your own boss

 

Let’s be real – there is no reason starting your own business unless you truly want to be your own boss. If you hate working for someone else or are sure you could run a company better than the one you’re in at the moment it’s a sure fire sign you should start your own. But you’ve got to want to be at the helm of it all. Unless your business becomes the next Apple, the fact is that for a very long time you will be where the buck stops. Even if you do get the chance to retire from the frontlines and take a position on the board – well, Steve Jobs couldn’t stay away and creatively drove the business in what was technically his retirement. So if you can’t handle the limelight then maybe being an entrepreneur isn’t for you. But being your own boss is a lot more involved than it sounds and often decidedly less glamorous than it looks. Sure you can set your own hours, and maybe even get a few tax breaks, but every decision you make will directly affect the success of your business. Which brings us to our next point.

 

 

2 You’re a thrill seeker

 

Now you don’t need to go base-jumping every weekend to be an entrepreneur, but a sense of an adventure definitely helps!

If you’re risk averse then I’ve got bad news for you – starting your own business is not for you. Being an entrepreneur is the career equivalent of a rollercoaster. Your stomach will flip more than once – and if you don’t enjoy that feeling you’ll want to get off the second things get too bumpy. But starting your own business has ups and downs, and you’ve got to learn to ride them out. But if you can thrive on the uncertainty – and enjoy the thrill – then you’re more likely to succeed than your counterparts.

Tolerating ambiguity is an essential part of starting and running your own business. You have to get a kick from the tension of not knowing if you made the right choice until the outcome plays out.

Entrepreneur calls risk “the admission fee” of being an entrepreneur – so the question is, are you willing to pay that price?

 

 

3 You have thick skin

 

It takes guts to start your own business, there’s no doubt about it. There will be doubters along the way, sometimes it will feel like everyone around you is a naysayer but you need the ability to stand on your own two feet and rise above it.

When starting your own business having a thick skin is more than an asset, it’s a must. You need the ability to pick yourself up, brush off all the negativity and get on with it. If thick skin isn’t something that comes naturally to you then there are a few techniques you can try to improve your resilience.

One such technique is a simple meditation: imagine a valley, see how the light travels down the valley, from the tops of the mountains, down into the glen the light comes to rest on a river, winding between the rocks and the trees the river flows peacefully by. Its calm but has a strong current. Leaves from the trees have fallen into the river; they float gently and rest on the surface of the water for a moment before the current takes the leaf away. Focus on just one part of the river, just one section, see the leaves come into view and then in time, pass out of sight. Just observe them, nothing more; just let the leaves flow past you. Imagine your worries, your concerns, your preoccupations are the leaves, flowing past you, one after the other the river takes them out of sight and out of your mind.

Resilience is like a muscle the more you practice the stronger it becomes, take the time to develop it by meditating. By letting other peoples negativity just flow around you not only will you resilience grow but your ability to start and runyour own business will grow too.

 

 

4 You’re motivated

 

No one is going to make it happen but you. Thems the facts! You need motivation like you’ve never had before. What was the most motivated you’ve ever been in your life? Was it studying for exams? Was it running a marathon? Was it asking that hottie at the coffee shop out? Double it. Then triple that. That is just a touch of the level of motivation you’ll need to succeed in starting your own business.

Do an experiment: set yourself a goal, something you’re really unlikely to do – for me its waking up early – I can do it, I just never do, getting up at the first alarm is deeply unlikely. Then tell three people about your challenge, make yourself accountable to them by putting money on it – 20 bucks a pop? If you don’t achieve your goal by the end of the week you have to pay out. If you do succeed they’ll each give you – say £10 – or something else you find valuable. And there you have it, a pretty accurate model of how running your own company will be. If you can’t be motivated to stop yourself losing money, even in a silly bet with mates – well 50% of new businesses fail within their first 6 months – and now you know why.

 

 

5 You have self-belief

 

There’s more to being an entrepreneur than motivation, you have to believe, beyond any doubt, that you have what it takes to make it. And it’s a different quality to motivation, motivation can help you get up in the morning, but you need that voice in your head at night before you fall asleep saying “you’ve got this, tomorrow is going to be amazing” – if you don’t have self-belief then, like a soufflé, your business will fall flat. But more to the point, if you don’t start your business with the belief that it will succeed then why start one at all?

Self-belief can come from a number of places to give you the confidence you need to see your business succeed – maybe you’ve had a light bulb moment and thought of the next cool app or you’ve spotted an industry with low supply and high demand, or maybe your mind is always racing and you’ve spotted potential in one of your ideas – but the key in all this is to believe not only that your business will make it, but that you’re the one to make it happen.

 

 

 

And there you have it, while this list is by no means exhaustive, what you see above is the building blocks to starting your own business. So, do you have what it takes?