A day in the life of a business owner

"The coffee machine goes on before anything else”

Caffeine-fuelled Gloucester practice owners Becci and Daniel Zawadzki walk us through their 16-hour days

Becci and Daniel

Becci and Dan Zawadzki have been owners of five Hakim Group independent practices in Gloucester for the past year. They walked OT through a typical day, from an early morning toddler alarm clock to evenings powered by chicken fajitas and The Great British Bake-Off.


BZ: Our children wake us up, and the first thing we do is give them a cuddle. Our two-year-old climbs up into our bed. We try to get him to go back to sleep, but it doesn’t work.

DZ: The second thing we do is check our phones for any messages from any of the partners or staff. It’s always a 3am text, if something has gone wrong, so it’s there when you wake up.


DZ: When we arrive at work the coffee machine goes on immediately, before anything else.

BZ: Our working hours are 8.45am until 5.15pm, and we start paying our staff 15 minutes before the store opens, so we have 15 minutes to get everything together, grab a coffee, look at any notes for the day, and have a little huddle. That motivates the team – they’re not in it at 8.59am and starting work straightaway. It gives them a few minutes to regroup before the patients come in, which relaxes everyone. Doors open just before 9am.

Becci and Daniel family


BZ: We have a circle of locums that we use quite frequently. As soon as they walk in, we get them a coffee, show them to the room, and give them a heads-up on any patients that might be coming in: any they might need to pay particular attention to or help in a certain way. Our locums are really good fun - they’re on the same wavelength as us, and we enjoy a laugh and a joke.

For the rest of the morning, I’m busy in my room, seeing patients. I try to check my emails in between, but that’s quite rare.

I don’t really have a typical day – I’d love to have one, where everything just went in a similar pattern

Dan Zawadzki

DZ: I don’t really have a typical day – I’d love to have one, where everything just went in a similar pattern. At about 9am, I start checking through work emails. I probably get between 30 and 50 emails a day.

I’ll normally get a phone call from one of the management teams at one of the practices. Quite often I go to one or two practices in a day, to help with little bits – anything from the fundus camera not working to the ceiling falling down. The other week I did 35 miles in a day between all the practices, even though none of them are more than five miles apart.


DZ: I'm a creature of habit. I have lunch at 12, which means I don’t have to have lunch with my wife. She’s a noisy eater.

Typically, if I’ve got lunch with me, I’ll eat it then go for a 20-minute or half an hour walk to get away from work and clear my head. Normally on the walk back I remember that I’ve got to make a call or check something. As I’m walking back to the practice, I’m usually on the phone talking to a rep.


BZ: My diary is blocked out between 1pm and 2pm, so that’s typically my lunchtime. Normally I’ll eat in my room in front of my computer, checking my emails, doing the referrals, sorting out any problems and replying to the WhatsApp groups that we’re in. We’ve got about five different WhatsApp groups, and there are always messages in at least one of them. Sometimes I go out for a walk or do a bit of shopping, but typically, it is a working lunch. But I do have time blocked out my diary, which is nice.

A healthy lunch helps avoid the afternoon slump

Becci Zawadzki

A healthy lunch helps avoid the afternoon slump. If I have a heavy lunch full of carbohydrates, I really do get a 3pm slump in energy, whereas if I stick to proteins and healthy fats, it definitely keeps me going through the day. I try to avoid caffeine in the afternoon, otherwise it affects my sleep.

DZ: Over lunch we’ve got a good hour of quietness, when there are no patients in. I’m back from my walk by then, so I get an hour for lunch, and an hour of quiet – I get a two-hour lunch, really. Patients don't expect the practice to be open during lunch time, so no one phones, and I can just sit and do the admin bits, like looking at patient reviews. That’s a nice time, when there’s no one asking me to do anything.


BZ: The practice closes at 5pm, and then we have a 15-minute wind down, making sure everything is neat and tidy, everything is ordered, and that all the patients who are expecting phone calls or emails back have had them. It’s a bit of time to catch up. Officially, our working day finishes at 5.15pm.


BZ: We’ve got a six-year-old and a nearly two-year-old, so they take up most of our evening, and then it’s dinner time for us. We enjoy watching TV, which is a really bad hobby – but that’s our wind down. We love The Great British Bake Off. Last week we had carrot cake whilst watching, and it’s biscuit week next week, so we’ll have biscuits. We should have a hobby, but we don’t. I used to run, and then I got an injury and had to stop. It feels like there’s no time.

DZ: Our ideal midweek dinner is probably something someone else has cooked. Often, it gets to Wednesday or Thursday and we’ll order a cheeky takeaway. We eat well at the start of the week and have good intentions, but by then it’s a takeaway – usually Chinese, curry, or pizza.

BZ: Or chicken fajitas, which is our daughter’s favourite. Once the children are in bed and we’ve had dinner, we often go through emails again, in case there’s anything urgent. We’re often busy chatting on the partners WhatsApp group and coming up with new ideas.


DZ: Every Monday night we do a partner meeting, where we chat about business plans. The meeting is usually two hours. Because there’s more than one practice there is a lot to cover, and when you’re in practice you forget who you’ve told. The meeting helps to make sure everyone knows all the information.

Want to walk us through your working day? Get in touch with [email protected]