Welcome to How I Work It, where women we admire share the time management routines, rituals and motivations getting them through the week
It’s been 15 months and counting since Melita Koulmandas set foot in Cambodia, where she lived for 10 years and launched her businesses. Remarkably, she's kept Song Saa Private Island resort open and all 200 staff employed from afar, even as travel has collapsed during the pandemic. Along with frequent Zooming, she has been scheming.
“My passion is regenerative development, and I’m more determined than ever to build on the work we’re doing in regenerating environmental ecosystems and communities,” says Koulmandas. She has big plans for a 500-hectare site in northern Cambodia—Song Saa Reserve—to be powered entirely by solar. The Institute of Living Futures recently approved it as the first Living Community Challenge project in Asia.
But that's in the future. For now, as Koulmandas says, "we're all existing in that space in between pre-Covid-19 and post-Covid-19." So she has to find ways to stay connected to both her work in Cambodia and her home base in Hong Kong, where she's raising three adopted sons, aged 12, 10 and 5.
Below she shares how she optimises her time, what keeps her motivated, the beauty of hiking meetings and the little rituals that bind her family together.
MORNING TEA AND HUSTLE
I'm definitely an early morning person, so I'm up around six. I try to get up before the kids just to have that cup of tea and peace before the house starts to wake up. But they're often awake as well. So the mornings are hectic with getting ready for schools—they’re each in a different one. Then I go straight into meetings as my processing power always happens in the morning and peters out in the afternoon.
FRONTLOADING THE WORK WEEK
Mondays and Tuesdays are when I schedule most meetings and try to clear my inbox. It leaves me room later in the week for writing reports, which I have to do quite often, along with some space for one-on-one meetings and any crisis management.