Val Bourdos Nichas’ Morning Ritual Will Make You Rethink Yours

Val Bourdos Nichas’ Morning Ritual Will Make You Rethink Yours


Vital stats

  • Player: Val Bourdos Nichas
  • Claim to fame: A 30-year career including the following roles: Edgars marketing director; Debonairs Pizza marketing director; MD of Tequila/TBWA; managing executive of Wimpy, Steers and QSR Brands, the Famous Brands division responsible for 600 Steers, Fishaways, Giramundo and Blacksteer stores.
  • Current position: Founder and owner of VBN Consultants
  • Visit:

Waking up before dawn

The mind is freshest between 4am and 6am. I learnt that from a psychologist who pointed out that adrenalin levels are low at that time, because there is less fear and stress than at any other point in the day. When the mind is free you perform at
your peak.

The calming power of rituals

I light incense every morning and walk around the house with a censer. My roots are Greek, and this practice gives me time to meditate and reflect on the day ahead.

Related: 10 Successful SA Women Entrepreneurs’ Top Advice On Balancing Work And Family

Planning the week

I’ve always managed my own diary, even when I worked in corporate. My appointments are visible on all my devices. Because I try to be wise with my time, I don’t book meetings back-to-back as over-scheduling makes me less productive.

I also separate my personal and work time clearly to ensure that I am properly engaged in the task at hand.


Val-Bourdos-Nichas-VBN-ConsultantsIf it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first. This great advice from Brian Tracey is based on a quote from Mark Twain.

Just do the task that you have been putting off — because you don’t want to or it’s difficult — and do it first thing so that you don’t have to worry about it again. When there are two challenging tasks to complete, do the hardest one first. Then the others won’t seem so bad.

Paying the bills

There are many tasks that need to be done daily. Finish the projects that bring in revenue first, so that you can invoice and keep your cash flowing. Also, there is a great feeling of achievement that comes from completing a project and delivering it to the client.

Preparing for meetings

Years ago, I worked at department store, Garlick’s, where I learnt never to attend a meeting unprepared. Look at the agenda, read all the documents, and know what is important to you and your team, even if you have to do this in the parking lot half an hour before the meeting.

Related: Work Smarter Says Matsi Modise

Getting people to take action

Working for myself has changed my approach to getting things done. In the corporate world a lot of time is wasted. Now that I charge hourly-based fees, I have learnt to be more productive.

There is no need, for example, to take minutes in meetings — simply record decisions taken and actions agreed on. It wastes less time, and makes the next steps much clearer.

Monique Verduyn
Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.