Typical 24: David Nicholson, Living DNA

What do working professionals really do all day?

[image_library_tag c858569b-0091-41c3-b5c6-3038f2e5f57b 118x160 alt="17-07-2017-david-nicholson-living-dna" title="17-07-2017-david-nicholson-living-dna - " width="118" height="160"class="left "]Name: David Nicholson

Job title: Managing Director

Company: Living DNA

Location: Frome, UK

Years’ experience: 17


  1. What time do you reach the office each day?
    I normally start work in our home office at 4am, which gives me space to work on things without distraction or meet with partners in Australia. Then I’m in the office by 8:30-9am.
  2. Is your job varied?
    Every day is different in terms of what comes up to be done, from speaking to customers, catching up with the team, doing interviews or speaking to academics. But I work on making the quality of what I do consistent.
  3. Is your job creative?
    We’re in an industry that is cutting edge, it is developing faster than the speed of computers so it is creative in many ways. When you combine that with a purpose that is about showing the world we are all connected and can work as one, creativity naturally comes in.
  4. What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
    Connecting with and supporting people is what takes up most of the day. When we strip back roles, we are people first – so much of my time is spent building relationships. It’s the heart of everything. Our company is based on a collaborative model which means relationships are just as important with the people we hire as the people who help us from all around the world. Our business is the sum of all qualities brought in by a mix of people – so my job is to facilitate that. 
  5. Do you personalise your desk?
    I keep the surface of my desk clean and spacious, but operating in many parts of the country and world means my desk changes day to day. That said a supportive chair and sitting position is key.
  6. Would you describe yourself as creative?
    For me I describe creativity as knowing what is needed in the moment, trusting in that and going forward. Every time I try to come up with something clever myself by thinking it through it never works.
  7. Do you have any quirky daily rituals?
    Each morning before I shower I lay out the clothes I’m going to wear on the day. It’s a ritual I’ve always done. I also try to ensure I’m in bed by 9pm to get a deep rest.
  8. Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?
    Work is all about collaboration for me, although at 4am it tends to be by myself.
  9. How many hours on average do you work a day?
  10. Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?
    During the day this can be 60-80% of the time
  11. Do you use social media much for work?
    Yes we do but this is managed by our marketing department. It’s becoming more and more common, a great way to stay in connection with customers, respond to questions and get a real feel for what people are needing.
  12. What do you enjoy most about your work?
    Everything we do changes peoples lives, it offers them a deeper understanding about themselves and the world. That’s quite amazing.
  13. What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?
    I tend to listen to people at work, not music.
  14. What do you do for lunch?
    For me lunch is about a time to reconnect with myself, a time to check in and refresh for the second part of the day. I might drive home and spend time with my 6-month-old daughter, go for a walk or have a rest. Something that brings me back into the moment and supports me to feel refreshed.
  15. Do you socialise with work colleagues?
    Living DNA is a family and each member of the team is loved and cared for equally, and as such we do social events and are having more dinners with staff. It’s a lovely way to catch up with staff out of work hours.
  16. Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?
    I used to be very hands on when our company was much smaller. I enjoyed this, but now that we’re growing I can see I am needed in more of a supporting role which means my tasks naturally change. I would say what I do now is different to when I started but there is noting I didn’t enjoy doing.
  17. What is your last task of your day?
    To let go of all that the things of the day so that I can deeply rest that night. This usually happens by me talking everything through with my wife and business partner who works closely with me.
  18. How do you like to relax after work?
    After work is a time to share with the family and appreciate the day, no matter what has gone on during the day there are always many things to appreciate. I find if I can have great conversations with the family, this really supports my body to let go.
  19. Do you keep checking email through the evening?
    Running our own business on a global basis means emails come in 24/7. I do have a strict approach to not look at emails or work past 8pm unless its critical. We even got an alarm clock so we can leave our phones out of the bedroom.
  20. Do you take work projects home with you?
    Yes but I don’t let them weigh me down or get in the way of what’s needed at home. My wife and I keep talking all the time on balancing home and work, and she is a great support on this.
  21. What would you say to your 20-year old self?
    It’s not what you do that makes you who you are, but the being of all you are that matters most. The rest takes care of itself. Don’t be afraid to say what you feel and never hold back the truth.
  22. If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?
    Working in a restaurant - I am amazed by the dedication to consistently deliver a quality of service no matter what is going on.
  23. What device did you use to answer these questions?
    My heart and my MacBook
  24. Do you use your own personal device for work?
    We have phones and computers through the company.