Adrian Norris is not only the co-founder and CEO of Aje, a hugely popular and growing Australian fashion brand, he’s also the founder of Ikkari, a holistic wellness brand that just launched this month. For most people, running one business is hard enough, so how does Norris handle two? We recently caught up with him to find out how he manages his time. Inside Retail: What does a typical day look like for you? Adrian Norris: My alarm goes off at 4:45 every morning, and I religiously work
work out every morning. That is the one thing that starts my day off. Then, I meditate once I come home, and I go for a dog walk. I always say to people that I’ve lived a whole entire life before I even come into the office.
I get into the office at about 8am, and I’ve obviously had a few hours of living and doing a whole heap of other things.
I’m now being a lot stricter with my business day. I’m only put in meetings if they need direct sign-off from me. My biggest thing is just keeping the calendar under control – and lots of coffee.
And then, I am one of those people who signs off at 5pm every night. Nine times out of 10, that’s when my workday finishes, unless I have an international meeting that I need to stay up for and connect with teams overseas.
Everyone knows that at 5pm, that’s when my workday cuts off, and I go and I spend time with myself and I go and relax. It’s about boundaries. You can’t be a superhuman and work until God knows what hour – I’m not that person. I’m such an early-to-bed person, early to rise.
IR: Do you do anything to help you switch out of work mode at the end of the day?
AN: Cooking, exercise, and I try to go away every weekend. I’ve got a boat and I go out in nature and I read books. I really do turn it off. I think that’s probably one of the things that saves me.
IR: Do you think your subconscious is still ticking away, so when you do come back, you have a lot of ideas and creativity?
AN: One hundred per cent. I say that I’m not working, but I’m always thinking about work. I don’t open a computer. I don’t sit there making notes. It’s more just turning off the adrenal system for the weekend.
IR: Have you ever worked with a business coach or had an important mentor in your career?
AN: I haven’t really. I have a group of businessmen that I’ve been involved with from the start. They taught me how to read financials and they helped me with a lot of stuff that I’m not naturally as good at – bank negotiations and all that sort of stuff. In that sense, they’re my mentors.
I had a life coach for a long time – all around mindset, making sure that I looked after my body physically, looked after my mental health, looked after the way I internally talked to myself about everything in my life, whether it was business or personal. That was a huge turning point for me, and I worked with him for about four years. And now it’s just so natural to me that I don’t actually need him anymore.
IR: That’s really interesting. When it comes to reading, do you read business books, or something totally different?
AN: I hate business books. I buy so many business books, and then I get really bored with them about halfway through. I read to turn off. I love Blue Ocean Strategy. It’s one of my favourite business books, but that’s probably the only one that I’m really obsessed with. I buy so many, and I’m terrible and don’t finish them. I’m that person who has a whole bookcase of books, and I haven’t read them all.