10th Feb 2020
Margaret Young left her corporate role in the HSE in 2017 to set up her own business, providing training to PAs and remote admin support to medical professionals. She is currently in the start-up stage of her second business venture, WildSoul.ie. Margaret is currently training to be a yoga teacher and Wild Soul will offer yoga and wellness goods and services. The Dublin businesswoman talks us through an average working day
I wake at… 7 am during the week. I like to start work early and exercise early. I am at my most creative and productive in the morning. As a trainee yoga teacher, I need to attend lots of yoga classes, and I am also a recreational runner and love the gym, so exercise is a priority. Once the workout is done, I can get to work. On weekends I wake at 8 am. I am not able to lie-in, but I do love afternoon naps when I can!
The first thing I do every morning is… Try and resist the urge to check Instagram, which is my first instinct. I am addicted. I am trying out different journalling techniques to try and move away from scrolling. At the moment, I write in my current one which is called AM /PM. It asks me to set goals for the day, create habits I want to cultivate and list all my positive qualities. I find it helps me do a mind dump and reduces stress.
Breakfast is usually… Overnight oats or smoothie bowl, prepared the night before and waiting for me in the fridge. Coffee mid-morning is essential.
I can’t go to work without… My laptop. Also, one of my selection of notebooks and lots of pencils.
Deciding what to wear each morning is… A fast decision! Jeans and a t-shirt is the lazy choice that I often regret as when I do make an effort with hair, makeup and clothes, I feel so much better and I feel that my work is better. I have a strict rule about never working in PJs! Obviously, if I am working with clients or popping out for meetings or networking events, then it’s different. I plan my outfit the night before. I love tailored trousers with patterned blouses or print dresses.
The best investment I ever made in my work wardrobe was… A tweed Kurt Geiger bag which is big enough for my laptop. It’s a real talking point, complete strangers come up to me to compliment it. My other investment pieces include a cashmere camel coat from French Connection, nude Steve Madden courts and a Balmain for H&M belt. All classics! I am making a conscious effort to buy preloved designer items more frequently than buying new and making buying decisions based on cost-per-wear rather than trends.
I travel to work by… Foot. I work from home about 75% of the time so I have no commute. If meeting clients in town, I would usually take the bus or dart. Apart from that, I drive.
I start my working day at… 8 am.
I usually spend the first portion of the day… Getting work done really fast.My pace slows as the day goes on.
I break for lunch at… Around 1 pm. I plan to take a full hour or at least 30 minutes, but I never do. In the summer when I’m working from home, I always eat in the garden.
I think meetings are… Essential in most cases. When I was an employee, in some companies, there were way too many meetings ?— meetings about meetings ?— and they were a really inefficient use of time and a cause of frustration. As a former PA, I feel like I have an insight into what makes a meeting productive. The Chairperson carries the biggest responsibility, more so than the minute taker and the attendees, and they can make or break a meeting.
I save time by… Working on particular tasks when I am in the right mindset to do so. On a creative day, I might write multiple blog posts, sales copy and media pieces. Other days, I am analytical and do those kinds of tasks really fast. Being self-employed means I have a lot of autonomy and that was really a big part of making the decision to go into business myself — being able to set my schedule to suit myself. At the moment, I am running one business and in the start-up phase of a second, so it’s stressful and can be overwhelming. If I get too frazzled, I can’t think clearly at all and nothing gets done, so I am really trying to work within my own rhythm and schedule. I often write a weekly ‘To Do’ list instead of a daily one and choose the tasks for that day depending on how I am feeling. Once everything gets done in the week, it works.
I rarely get through my working day without… listening to at least one podcast.
The best part of my day is… Spending time with my husband and my dog.
The most challenging part of my day is… accepting that there are never enough hours. When you work for yourself particularly, the To Do list never ends. When your office is at home, the temptation is always there to work.
I know it’s been a good day if I… Feel like I was productive and moved things forward. I also need to be on track with financial goals to feel like it was a good day and that I didn’t disappear down a rabbit hole of busyness for busyness’ sake.
I usually end my day at… around 5 pm but I may do another hour in the evening. My day then ends at 10.30/11 pm. I am not one for staying up late.
I switch off from work by… Reading.
Before I go to bed, I’ll always… Make sure my dog Kyia is OK and comfortable. She has a lot of health issues so I have to make sure she is happy or there is no way I could fall asleep.
I often prepare for tomorrow by… Making my breakfast, leaving my workout clothes ready and setting any last-minute emails to go out at 8 am, making me look super-efficient and not like I was on my laptop at night!
Read more: 5 Irish businesswomen weigh in on the so-called ‘work-life balance’
Read more: Are you a night owl with a 9-5 day job? Here are 5 tips to help you get through the day
Read more: Meet the women who started businesses after the age of 40
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