Sarah Agboola is the founder & CEO at mtime, a platform giving busy parents their time back by matching them with Moncierges, a family assistant trained by mtime.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m the founder and CEO of mtime, a platform that matches busy parents with family assistants who combine housekeeping and nannying into one role. We also make a concentrated effort to hire women new and returning to the workforce to join our team as assistants by engaging with charities, government agencies and not for profits.
Prior to mtime I was at university. I did a Bachelor of Media and then took a gap year in 2015 wherein I co-created a community that shared youth opportunities for leadership, innovation and development.
This community led me to attend a startup bootcamp run by the Wade Institute, and it was there that the original idea for mtime was born (a gifting platform for new mums). Fast forward another year to completing my Master’s degree, and I made the decision to make mtime my focus in 2017 and have been working on it ever since.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I like to be up at 5:45am and I use the first hour or so of the day to meditate, journal, and exercise. I then start work by about 7:30am and tend to work on whatever my biggest project is. I like to start early because there are no interruptions and everything tends to be quite still so I find it easier to think.
From 10am until 4pm, I’m usually in meetings. These could be with my team to review product ideas or recruitment pipelines, or external meetings with potential employment partners, clients or investors. I like to finish my day by 4pm and read or watch tv before I start all over again the next day.
I should note, I’m sometimes up later than 5:45am, and work later than 4pm – but do my best to stick to that schedule as I find myself much happier and productive when I do.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes we do! On a typical week we have four days working from home and one day of coworking, but of late we’ve been fully remote. Before COVID, we also worked remotely but it was at almost the opposite cadence. Four days in the office and one day at home.
For me, working from home gives me much better control over my day and allows for better work life integration. I eat better as it’s easy to get up and make something, and I can meet friends who live nearby over my lunch break. On the flipside, my podcast/audible listening has taken a nosedive as no commute means less idle time.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I think it’s hard to achieve work-life balance when you’re a founder in the early stages, so I have been trying to achieve work life integration instead. In doing so, I try to flex my work to fit around any “life” related things I have on.
For example, last week I finished early on Friday as I had a personal event to attend, and I took time out to go grocery shopping in the middle of the day, but I also worked on Sunday so I could get a little ahead of what looked to be a busy day on Monday so that I’d have time to see friends on Monday evening. The flexibility I can create around my work is one of the things I appreciate most about being a founder.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Yes, I made a gratitude box and every morning I write something I’m grateful for. I found this practice really helped during the harder times of the pandemic (we were raising our seed round at the same time, so it was an especially stressful period) as it meant I had something to smile about every day. Now my box is overflowing with things I’m grateful for and just looking at it makes me feel happy.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’m not much of a newsletter person, but here are some of my favourite books and podcasts:
- Revisionist History
- You’re Wrong About
- Celebrity Memoir Book club (for the pop culture lovers among us)
- The Alchemist
- Seven Powers
- Radical Candor
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Work wise, my most used apps are Slack and Google Calendar. I use them for everything. The Notes app is also huge for me as if I come up with ideas I jot them down during the day.
On a more personal level, I really, really love the Scrabble Go app – I play all the time!
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Alexis Ohanian or Kate Morris. I really admire both of them as they’ve built meaningful companies, started funds backing other founders, and also seem to have made time for family and personal interests at the same time.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Once I started embracing the fact that work exists to “fuel” the rest of my life, it helped put things into perspective and I felt really good focusing on “integration” rather than getting caught up on finding the right balance.
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