Mick Dillon on His Drive to Be an Investor, Productivity and How to Manage Your Energy

Reading time:

[This episode will also be available on all major podcast platforms as of Nov. 11, 2022. Follow the podcast to get notified as soon as new episodes drop: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts]

“If you don’t go to the gym, if you don’t get on your bike and ride, or if you don’t go and play football, you’re not going to be as good an investor.”

Returning to the show is Mick Dillon. Mick is a London-based portfolio manager in the global equity team of Brown Advisory with more than 20 years of experience in the investment industry.

In today's episode, Mick flips the productivity puzzle in investment and asset management on its head. You might feel like you don’t have time to go to the gym or take a walk after lunch, so you stay glued to your terminal all day. But according to Mick, that would be a huge mistake.

Through years of trial and error, he has come to believe that you need to take care of yourself and maintain your energy, so you can do a better job when you are intensely investing.

Our conversation reminded me of habit 7 from Stephen Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’: sharpen the saw. In the book, Covey writes:

Suppose you were to come upon someone in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree.
“What are you doing?” you ask.
“Can’t you see?” comes the impatient replay. “I’m sawing down this tree.”
“You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?”
“Over five hours,” he returns, “and I’m beat! This is hard work.”
“Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?” you inquire. “I’m sure it would go a lot faster.”
“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing!”

Stupid, right? Yet, this is exactly what happens to many of us. When we hit a roadblock, we might think that we have to double down on our efforts to get the job done. Instead, it would be much more powerful to take a step back, replenish your energy, so you can return to the job with a fresh perspective.

Mick tackles this important topic in episode 12. You’ll learn about Circadian and seasonal rhythms, optimizing downtime, how to match your productivity with your energy levels and why it’s crucial to discuss these topics within your team.

We also recorded a shorter episode about reading habits. In episode11, you’ll learn about Mick’s ideas on expiring versus compounding knowledge, time management, the value of book clubs, the burden of experience and how reading helps you become a better investor.

Links to people, resources and concepts mentioned: