The CEO of FileVine shares his daily ritual
Every morning I wake up at 5:45am. My first task is to resist the temptation to jump into work — answer that email that came in the night or quickly draft up a memo that’s on my mind. Instead I go down into the basement where I have weights and a Peloton bike. The gyms are closed and I’m working from home, but if I can get in 45 minutes of movement first thing every morning, I have more energy and less stress the rest of the day.
After exercise, it’s time to shower and get ready for the day. I typically skip breakfast, or have a few slices of bacon at most. Instead I head straight to my office, which is in a separate outbuilding on our property. When I sit down, I first quickly run through new messages I’ve received. I begin with our company Slack, then go through new emails. Then, I settle into the task flow we’ve set up in our own Filevine account.
Having a separate workspace has been a godsend for me during the pandemic — along with the support and incredible work of my wife, Jodi. We have five children under the age of 13 so I’ve always had to know how to manage distractions and power through interruptions but I’m incredibly lucky to have my own separated space and Jodi’s commitment as a full-time educator and care-taker for the kids.
At 7:00 am, the meetings begin with our clients and partners on the East Coast. They continue on essentially through the rest of the day. As a CEO, my typical workday is one long round of meetings, hopefully with a quick break for me to grab some lunch.
Each week, I have stand-ups with all department heads. This helps us understand each others’ goals and priorities, and ensure that we harmonize and support each other as a company, rather than breaking into our own siloes.
For all of my meetings, I keep my Zoom camera on and encourage everyone else at Filevine to do likewise. One of our founding axioms that we live by at Filevine is ‘dar la cara.’ In Spanish, the phrase means to face the consequences and accept responsibility. But literally, it translates to ‘give the face.’ I’ve found that showing our faces to each other at a time of closed offices and social distancing creates a better dynamic. Not only does it help us feel that human connection, it creates a deeper sense of accountability.
It’s easy for me to keep working well into the evening. I’ve been with this company from the very beginning and still feel personal responsibility toward every firm who uses Filevine. But to protect my long-term strength and mental acuity, I need to end work for the day and put my attention elsewhere.
My favorite way to wind down in the evening is reading a book. I switch off between business books, like Ray Dalio’s Principles, and fiction. I love long novels that introduce new ideas and ways of thinking, like Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace or The Overstory by Richard Powers. By reading both deeply within my area of expertise and broadly outside of it, I feel like I can connect to new perspectives on my work and my life.
As I’m preparing for bed, I pay special attention to the lighting that surrounds me. I’ve noticed first-hand how harsh blue light late in the evening can disrupt my circadian rhythm. We’ve installed smart Lumens bulbs in the bedroom that give off warm light at night, and then gradually dims to cue bodies on the subconscious level that it’s time to sleep. It’s really made such a difference!
This article is part of a month-long work home series where executives and entrepreneurs discuss how they’ve adjusted to remote work. Read more here.