Young entrepreneur Mac Nagaswami founded Penguin Ads while he was still a student at the University of Delaware. These days, the company is known as Carvertise. The advertising company received backing from three high-profile investors in 2015 and had its biggest year yet in 2016 as it ventured into three new areas by adding a delivery offering for its drivers, getting into political ads and debuting an ad campaign across the country. Here’s how Nagaswami keeps a good balance and still manages to get everything done.
What’s the first thing you do every day before doing any job-related work?
I don’t like thinking or doing anything in the morning until I get to the office. I’ve created an auto-pilot system: Wake up, get dressed, brush teeth, out the door (I’ve got this down to about 20 minutes). I’ll have breakfast and coffee at the office while opening up my laptop and turning on my brain. Then the day starts.
How often do you check your email, and do you use any program to get to “Inbox Zero”?
I’ve been having issues getting down to zero, I don’t think I’ll ever win that battle. I manage my priorities and communication outside of my inbox in my Evernote app.
When you need to take a break, what are you turning to?
Skateboarding. If you scroll down my Instagram, you’ll find skateboarding video after skateboarding video. I grew up watching skateboarding videos and I’ve found that this is a great outlet for me to take a quick break and zone out and get absorbed in the tricks they’re doing for two to five minutes. It helps me press the refresh button and then it’s back to the grind. When my schedule permits, I’ll skateboard over the weekend with a few close friends. I am also big on Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I get down to my gym at Elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Newark as much as I can. That’s my second family.
What’s a unique aspect of your work style?
Maybe that I have two sections to my day. I’ll grind from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. I’ve noticed that I start slowing down around 3 p.m., so I plan my day’s tasks accordingly. At 5 p.m. I’ll go home, eat dinner and then from there I’ll either: go to the gym, [practice] Brazilian Jiu-jitsu or sometimes nap if need be. I’ll get done all this around 8 p.m. and then I’ll take a shower and go back to the office around 8:30 p.m. I’ll work until 11 p.m. or midnight then call it a day. Rinse, wash, repeat.
What’s one way in which you believe your day-to-day work is better now than it has been? Is there something you do now (or don’t do) that you didn’t do before (or did) that has made a big difference?
I think I’m better at pacing. I’ve gotten better at knowing when to speed up on certain priorities and when to slow down on certain things. This took me a while to understand and quite frankly, is something I’m still working on. I’m always reminding myself to treat this like a marathon and not a sprint. Another element is rhythm. Now that we have a steady workflow and a staff of associates working on different sections of the business.
What’s your preferred workday soundtrack? Do any particular artists/bands/genres boost your productivity?
Young Thug, Lil Yachty, Future, IloveMakonnen or Drake. I get made fun of by my closest friends for my music preferences but I don’t care, I love it.