Last month I spoke with Ronnie Teja, an innovative entrepreneur who owns multiple ecommerce sites revolving around men’s watches. The published interview, “Canada-based Entrepreneur Scales to 15 Websites, 30 Remote Employees,” focused on how he launched the business and his methods of acquiring new ones.
We also discussed work-life balance, including routines, delegation, and creativity. What follows is that portion of our discussion, edited for length and clarity.
Eric Bandholz: What’s your morning routine?
Ronnie Teja: I used to get up every morning and check my Stripe account. But recently I don’t check it as much — once every few days. My stress level has reduced.
Bandholz: I have a morning routine before getting to work, and then a routine at work. The routine at home is a lot more regimented than the one at work. I’m a rower. Sometimes I’ll get up at 4:40 in the morning to row. I’ll come back, eat breakfast, and get my daughter off to school.
Then I head to the office around 8:30. Fifty-percent of the time I’ve got an idea to implement immediately — like a typical entrepreneur. Sometimes I’ll get the team involved. Other times I’ll bite my lip and hold off. Otherwise, I’ll usually catch up with a couple of key people to make sure everything’s going well. Then we have our 9:00 a.m. meeting.
Teja: Do you read in the morning?
Bandholz: No. Just short stuff — Reddit, Twitter.
Teja: I’ve been trying not to touch my phone in my morning. This is hard. I read for about 30 minutes. And here’s the weird thing. For all my life I made fun of people who journal. Now, just recently, I’m the one doing it. I write in my journal every morning. I understand why people do it.
If I go to bed with a problem, in the morning the solution somehow magically appears when I write in my journal. I’ve never done anything like that. As for reading, it’s a good mental exercise, right? It’s like meditating; it calms me down.
Do you check your email in the morning?
Bandholz: Not much. It’s the same for text messages. If someone texts or emails me, I won’t get back to them sometimes for eight hours.
Teja: Have you turned off all your notifications? Are you making a choice not to check your phone? I can’t stay away from my phone for more than, maybe, 45 minutes. When I play squash I leave it in the men’s locker room. That’s it, more or less.
Bandholz: I have Twitter and Instagram notifications turned off. I don’t have WhatsApp. I don’t have Facebook. So none of those are on my phone. I typically respond to emails when I get to my office.
Smartphones are addictive. One of my goals in the past few years was disconnecting from the details of the business so it could grow without me. I can now check out for four days, not read my email, and the business functions just fine. By not replying to notices, I’m letting folks figure it out on their own.
I’m still involved in the business. I still want to set the vision for the company and set expectations for the team. I’m still a product guy. I love being involved in the products.
Teja: It’s like you’ve elevated to the next level with Beardbrand.
Bandholz: Yes. Plus there’s value in boredom. When I fly, for example, I never get the wi-fi. I’ll sit there. But frequently that’s when the ideas start coming. Try integrating boredom into your life. Your creativity will go through the roof.