Justin White

CEO, K&D Landscaping

Photo courtesy of Justin White

Email and phone management is big for Justin White, CEO of K&D Landscaping near Santa Cruz, Calif. He was getting 60 unscheduled calls a day, so he stopped answering them and is down to two or three a day.

“The other ritual I have is email management,” he says. “I think it’s important to not be married to your email. I block out time to respond to emails and that is typically at 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.”

Here is White’s average day:

It’s important for me to spend 90 minutes every morning on myself. The 90-minute block starts with an exercise lasting 30-60 minutes where I typically listen to a business-focused Audible book. After that, I spend 10 minutes meditating and 10 minutes reading something about our industry. The remaining time is spent creating my to-do list for the day and reviewing my calendar. My goal is to start my workday in a calm and prepared mindset so I can focus on supporting my team.

My commute is about 10 minutes, but I often will take the scenic route along the ocean which makes it closer to 20 minutes. This allows me time to gather my thoughts. I often drive in silence and try my best to let my subconscious speak to me. It’s amazing what ideas will pop into my head on the drive to work.

My schedule can vary from day to day depending on the day of the week. I use Mondays to get tasks done and take care of personal business, so I am rarely in the office that day. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I am usually in the office by 10 a.m. and will begin by responding to emails.

We start every day off with a daily huddle. Each department has one and then the leadership team has one. It’s a quick 5-minute conference call where we can all get on the same page and voice any “stucks” or issues we have.

I try to have lunch at 12 p.m. sharp every day. I go to lunch 4 days a week and I always take someone with me. Most of the time it’s a team member with whom I’m having a one-to-one with, but it could also be a fellow business owner, a banker, CPA, or any of my other advisors/mentors. I have found that most won’t bill you for their time if you buy them lunch in a casual setting, yet you can solve so many issues in that hour.

After I’m done responding to call and emails, it’s into my afternoon meetings. They’re typically operational or tactical focused as I like to do my creative and strategic work in the morning time blocks.

On office days, I usually leave around 6 p.m. I like to be the last one to leave the office because there are always some great casual conversations to have with other people who stay late.

Tuesday through Thursday, I spend about six hours in meetings. It’s a huge chunk of my day and it’s important they are effective and efficient. To accomplish that, we have a pre-set agenda and we utilize software to organize ideas, key performance indicators and issues. Everyone can view them before the meeting and prepare. We make sure only critical people tied to the topic of the meeting attend; too many people can clog up effectiveness. Plus, everyone should have the ability to call a “agent” alert if the meeting is getting off agenda. This includes calling me out if I’m rambling about some new idea I have — this can happen often.

I go through cycles throughout the year. When my body is feeling stressed and fatigued, I have to do a sort of self-intervention and change my habits. This usually results in tracking my thoughts during off-hours and redirecting my brain to personal life. In other cycles, I crave work and will put in 16-hour days developing new visions and ideas for the future. The biggest thing here is listening to your body and your family for insights into when you are working too much. They will both tell you if you listen.

My goal is to be in bed by 10 p.m. every night. I try to read for 30 minutes but I usually end up watching TV and turning that off around 10:30-11. This is an area I would really like to improve on, as my goal is no screens after 9 p.m. but that just hasn’t happened. Sometimes you have to take the wins where you can and by grateful for the progress you have made. Not everything has to be perfect all the time.

February 2022
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