We spend an average of 4.2 hours per day cruising apps on our phones. Most under 30s can’t last more than a few minutes before checking their screens. It’s unavoidable—both our personal and professional lives are dominated by emails, text messages, WhatsApps, Instagram likes and more. Distracted has become our new normal. And who could be expected to concentrate between the constant pings, awkward work-from-home set-ups and the seemingly endless workdays?

We’ve spoken with four incredible and high-achieving women about how they manage their time and stay on course.

Marie Soliman: Founder & Creative Director, Bergman Design House

Bergman Interiors is a London-based architecture and interior design studio founded by Marie Soliman and Albin Berglund. They are internationally renowned for creating the world’s finest gyms, hotels, spas, residences and yachts, and have projects underway in Norway, Brussels, the Middle East, Canada and Britain, and more in the pipeline for New York, South-East Asia and Australia.

Since I started my own business in 2017, I have learnt so much about myself and about leading a business. How to run a business and not let the business run me. It takes self-discipline to know when to stop; when to say no, as well as when to say yes, and how to win more projects. These are the words I live by every day:

Never lose sight of why you started. You have to understand your niche market and audience. You have to love what you are creating and be your own number one fan before anyone else.

Print your vision on paper.  And have clear goals. I can’t recommend this enough! If you want to have £1 million, or 1 million followers, or some specific trophy, write it on a piece of paper, hang it on the wall, and read it every day.

People say “put it out to the universe”—this universe is actually you. Once you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, you will work towards it.

Every Problem is a gift. Without problems we wouldn’t grow, so embrace them, love them and solve them.

Be stubborn. You have to be stubborn and focused on what you want to achieve, it’s a marathon, not a daily event.

Get used to hearing NO, and don’t let it get to your heart.

Last but not least, my coping mechanism is art! I paint and create art, and it’s been my mental yoga for many many years.

bergmandesignhouse.com

Adria Wu: Founder and Chef, Maple & Co

Adria Wu left her corporate consulting job to study at Le Cordon Bleu in London followed by the College of Naturopathic Medicine.  It was with this training that Adria launched Maple & Co, a series of well-designed outposts promising convenient and healthy menus. Named Time Out’s Best Healthy Restaurant when the brand opened its first brick and mortar venues, the company has since shifted to a delivery model.

Image of Adria Wu in the gardenAs a wife, mother and founder, I can’t turn myself off, but I can turn my phone off. I have set hours when I can use my phone. And every morning when I first wake up, I keep my phone turned off. It’s a big challenge for me but previously, I would wake up, look at my phone and immediately I would be distracted. Choose the hours—whatever works for you—and stick to them.

I am very much a goal setter—my daily goal, my weekly goal, my monthly goal, annual goal. These are goals I set for myself. But I write them down and stick each one on a sticky note in my office. I have sticky notes all over my office all the time. When I am feeling lost—which is often—I just look at these notes and it helps. I don’t always achieve them, but I put them up because they matter to me. As women, we have a lot to tackle and having these things written down somewhere in my environment, it just makes me feel good.

mymapleandco.com

bergmandesignhouse.com

Anjhe Mules: Co-CEO and Creative Director, Lucas Hugh

Originally from New Zealand, Anjhe Mules studied at Massey University Fashion College before moving to New York and finally settling in London. Prior to founding Lucas Hugh—named after her grandfathers Lucas and Hugh—in 2010, Anjhe had a successful New Zealand swimwear brand, as well as training under Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen. Lucas Hugh has redefined performance wear by combining athletic functionality with structured tailoring that has a decisively high-fashion look.

If I am doing a creative project like design or mood-boarding, I use music or podcasts as a tool to focus and limit the time I’m working to two hours. Then I take a break or move on to something else entirely. 

I find starting at the same time every day helps with the creative routine, after exercise and coffee (of course), and using the app timers on my phone, so I can’t access them when I am working.

This takes discipline, but I try to only check my email two times per day.

And, when in doubt, ask someone else. I highly recommend this podcast with Tim Ferris and Jerry Seinfeld.

lucashugh.com

Louise Bailey: Founder and CEO, Beauty Club London

An expert in the hair industry, Louise Bailey has been featured in the likes of Forbes, Marie Claire, and Vogue. Earlier this year, Louise launched Beauty Club London, a one-stop shop for everything hair and beauty—housing all the industry’s experts in one place. Tucked behind Oxford Street, in the middle of the action, but designed to be a haven where shoppers, workers, and residents alike can seek refuge and relax.

Louise Bailey Headshot

My main coping mechanism is writing lists. Writing down the things I have to accomplish allows me to offload what’s on my mind and prioritise. That way I’m not so stressed or overwhelmed. 

I also stay focused if I’ve had a good night’s sleep, so I always try to go to sleep at the same time, and then I can wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day.

Instagram.com/beautyclublondon