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How I Work (In Swedish Summer)

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Swedish summer is special. Swedes desert the cities in droves to spend weeks or months at simple summer houses on islands or in other isolated spots. More than 50 per cent of the population has access to a summer house through family or friends.

Brisk’s CEO Hampus Jakobsson lives in Malmö, with his wife and three kids, and is happiest thinking deep and dark thoughts about the future of tech. Preferably at his summer cabin. We asked Hampus how he works.

One word that best describes how you work

Efficiently. At least I hope so.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

EXTRA extroverted.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

Doing things quickly and getting them 80% right. Or as my wife would say “doing things without thinking it through”.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?

Work when everyone else is sleeping, or at least not working. Around 9 pm, when everyone is in bed, I get in two hours of good work.

To avoid procrastination, immediately do anything that takes less than a minute.

What’s your workspace setup like?

Too many discussions at Brisk

Open space, nice people, lots of discussions. Sometimes a few too many discussions.

In the summer, the team spreads out. Some work from home, some from remote summer houses in nowhere-land. Thanks Sweden for the ubiquitous Internet!

One colleague is on paternity leave (Sweden provides 480 days of parental leave, 60 of which are reserved for Dads) and currently works only two days a week.

This is what I like about Sweden. We have a good work ethic, the mentality of craftsmen and are efficient with sparse resources.

What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without? Why?

Google Spreadsheets is an undervalued gem. It is amazing to be able to connect to Salesforce, Google Analytics, etc. and then just test scenarios and plans. It has been a game changer for me — a visual, right-brained person — to be able to sketch with numbers. Otherwise, I do a lot of plans and sketches in Keynote, but Google Spreadsheets has been a support for my weak left brain.

Slack is a lifesaver since colleagues don’t mail me anymore.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

Sadly, emailing myself…

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

My mocha coffee machine is indispensable. Also the huge box bike in which I transport my three kids the six miles to school and kindergarten.

What are you currently reading?

Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah’s Inbound Marketing.

Lorrie Moore’s Bark

Ernest Cline’s Armada.

What do you listen to while you work?

Colored white noise or adjacent music, which right now means Music for Wood and Strings. Here’s my Spotify playlist.

How do you recharge?

Bikes in Malmö

Hanging out with my wife and kids and finding great things to cook and eat. I leave work at 4:30pm (Work-life balance is extremely important to Swedes) to collect the kids and cook dinner for the family most evenings.

The best way for me to wind my brain down in the evenings is by watching a TV series. I’d like to create a habit of reading fiction, or even better doing meditation, but sometimes there are just too many good TV series out there for my tired brain.

What’s your sleep routine like?

I go to sleep around 11 pm and sleep like a log. I get up at 6am and help the kids in a zombie state. On weekend morning, I get a blissful two extra hours of sleep thanks to my wonderful wife.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Mobile phones help you stay in contact with those far away, but can distance you from those who are closest.

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