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Why Creativity Trumps Productivity For Siggi’s Dairy Founder, Siggi Hilmarsson

“Every time you complete a task, it’s gratifying.”

Why Creativity Trumps Productivity For Siggi’s Dairy Founder, Siggi Hilmarsson
Siggi Hilmarsson: Founder and CEO, Siggi’s Dairy [Photo: Sacha Maric]

My days are rarely the same. It’s not very regimented. I’m usually where I’m most needed. We go to a lot of health conferences. For me, those events are probably some of the most interesting things I get to do. Not only am I talking about what I’m passionate about—yogurt and the importance of eating less sugar—but I also learn a lot from the people we meet: dietitians and doctors.

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I started selling in 2006, and things started to get easier in 2015, so nine years were tough. You can’t start a thing like this and expect it to be an overnight success. When you have your own business, some things you may not look forward to doing, but every time you complete a task, it’s gratifying.

I think the biggest productivity tool for any executive is just having a lot of great people around. People who are creative and visionary [can] be chaotic as hell and not very productive—they may be awful at getting work done and scheduling meetings—but every once in a while they’ll come up with something so brilliant that it transcends their daily work habits. If you solved cold fusion because you had a brilliant idea, that’s a pretty productive day. Even if you didn’t get the dishes done or go to the gym.

Time he wakes up: “Embarrassingly enough, I wake up around 8, 8:30. I’m a late riser. Even after I wake up, it takes me a while to be fully functional.”

First thing he does: “I make coffee, espresso.”

Productivity tool: “I’m pretty rigid about using my calendar in my iPhone.”

Best habit: “I play a lot of basketball. When you’re totally physically worn out, it’s much easier to be calm.”

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Worst habit: “I drink a lot of coffee.”

Nightly routine: “I try to read something in hard copy, not on my device.”

Time he goes to bed: Late. “I really start thinking about things after dinner.”