Ben Dundas is the creative director at Federation. Here he discusses his crucial work, life balance.
What time do you wake up?
Usually it’s around 6am, before the kids wake up… I try to sneak down and make my wife and I a coffee, then the kids sorted… I get there uniforms, lunches etc set for the day, once the kids are up I can organize myself and head into work… I like being the first in the office, my headspace is great first thing.
What’s the ideal way to start your day?
Starting with a coffee is always good, so I try to make my wife and I one first thing…
Do you have any morning rituals?
Coffee and check the football and plan my day from bed, then get moving…
How soon do you begin doing work-related things, i.e. checking phone or emails?
As soon as I wake up I check in on things, we often will have emails from our factories overnight. I like to plan the day first thing so I feel reasonable under control.
What’s your media consumption or interaction like from the morning onwards – do you listen to podcasts, radio, watch videos, read books and magazines, visit new sites?
In the am while I’m getting ready, I like to listen to the news, then sporadically check sites, magazines etc during the day, depending on where we are sitting with design etc.
What kind of work do you do?
My work varies hugely from day to day, we are a small team so everyone wears a few hats, I seem to wear a lot, from designing, photography, and graphic design needs to sales, and the overall running of the company… It is exciting juggling, no day is the same…
What responsibility does that involve in a typical day? What takes up most of your time?
Again this depends of the time of day. For example, the other week I arrived from a business trip to LA, landed and came straight to the office, dealt with a staffing issue, negotiated a big contract, helped with a shipment of summer, did some photoshopping to get product online and ran an EDM.
Who do you see/talk to?
Changes hugely daily, in constant contact with our staff, factories, retailers etc. and of course my family.
Where do your best ideas come from?
Ideas come from anywhere – designing, I get inspiration from shapes, colours, the way things move.
What are the most important tools or programmes you use for your work?
Emails are a necessity, I am usually glued to either photoshop or illustrator too. My phone is attached to me too…
How do you juggle all your responsibilities?
I plan my day while I’m still in bed, by the time I get to work I feel reasonably sorted with my plans, although they can change.
My diary is super important, I make notes about everything, list things out and check them off when they’re done, feel a mild sense of achievement.
What kind of breaks do you take throughout the day?
Working with my wife is a busy lifestyle, with 3 stepchildren we have fulltime care of, we try and make time in the day to sit down and hang out, even just for 10 mins.
What’s the most enjoyable part of your day?
Everyday is different, but challenging : it’s exciting …
What about the least enjoyable?
I feel stoked to come to work everyday, I love what I do so I guess I am lucky!!!
Do you procrastinate? Is it good or bad?
Sometimes it can be good, ideas can come to you in those moments…
Do you measure your accomplishments or productivity? If so, how?
It can be as small has writing lists and ticking them off as they’re done.
What’s your interaction with friends and family throughout the day? Can you be both a successful entrepreneur and a good mother/partner/friend?
My head is down so much at the moment, driving some new avenues for the business. So I am not doing the best at these, although my wife and I are making sure to have time for us as a couple rather than business partners. I know this is just for a short while, I feel strongly that you work to live, not live to work…
Do you get stressed? If so, how do you manage it? Do you practice any mindfulness or meditation?
Exercise is always good… going for a run I can work through problems and figure out the best solutions.
What do you do once you get home? Can you switch off?
No, I don’t think we ever switch completely off, but I don’t know if it’s the worst thing… I don’t want to stem the creativity.
What time do you go to sleep?
With finding it tricky to switch off, sleep is sometimes tricky : I have started listening to podcasts or just a comedian, it stops my brain wandering too far.