IT CEO Shares Best Life Hacks

Marry for love, work when it makes sense, always try something new and other life hacks from Andrey Davidovich, CEO of the company behind Traffic Inspector

1. What are your best healthy life hacks?

Be physically active every day. Switch between aerobic and anaerobic activity. The more varied your program, the better. An hour of exercise a day is enough. Avoid over-exercising. A workout should not leave you exhausted. My “weekly recipe for good health” goes like this – swimming, boxing, cycling, and, of course, yoga. I drink at least 3 liters of pure water every day. I don’t do weightlifting or bodybuilding because I don’t want to have back trouble later in life (all the bodybuilders out there hate me now). I see a lot of young people at the gyms drinking strange shakes and tormenting themselves with weight-lifting. I avoid that stuff because it won’t do me any good.

I go in for medical check-ups once a year because it is far easier and cheaper to prevent a disease than to treat it afterwards. I use doctors in Germany or the Baltic states because they are less expensive and more professional. Get your diagnosis and your treatment at different places if you want to avoid sales pitches for their favorite drugs and procedures. You always have a choice. Doctors value their reputations and want to do their best.

It is important to find a good specialist who can help you avoid errors and unnecessary expense.

I got into the habit of wearing a heart rate monitor strap. Polar and Garmin are my favorites, depending on how and where I’m working out (indoor vs. outdoor). You heart is your most important organ and it is easy to put undue strain on it. Here are some quick tips on taking care of your heart.

I work with a professional fitness trainer, but I don’t make a guru out of him. I consult him once a week. I ask questions and ask him to tweak my exercise routine. Over time, you do it less and less because you gain your own knowledge and experience.

The bottom line for me is fresh air, no over-exercising, monitoring your pulse, no chemical supplements, varied workout routines, and taking care of your spine as the foundation for your whole body.

2. How do you manage and plan your time?

I don’t do the early bird routine. I work when an idea or the solution to a problem comes to me. The eight-hour working day is for unorganized losers. It doesn’t matter whether you work for yourself or have an employer. People should work when they know what they want to accomplish and when it’s profitable, whether in terms of money, morals or putting in groundwork for the future.

I read books on time management, absorb the knowledge and try to come up with my own management rules that work for me where I am right now. I don’t want to be trapped by limitations. I prefer to rely on my intuition. Rules can be adapted if the situation calls for it. Hit by a financial crisis? Who cares? Let’s work harder. Launched a successful project? Maybe it’s time to relax a little bit, but not too much.

I do a weekly backup of all my stuff (documents, photos, videos) and try to keep up with technological advances. I also set aside time for practicing English every day.

Public speaking doesn’t faze me anymore. Even if I’m not the one giving the speech, I make sure to ask a relevant question. There was a time, however, when speaking in public did make me nervous, so I dealt with that by pressing the microphone against my chin to keep my hands from shaking. I deliver speeches whenever I feel I have something to contribute or if I see an opportunity to tell people about my company.

I attend a lot of public and social events for the community involvement and the networking opportunities. I always keep an eye open for Russian-American business contacts.

3. How do you manage your money? What are your three main rules for money management?

I actually ignored the whole topic of money management up until the financial crisis in 2008. That helped me straighten my head out. I had a lot of obligations in life at the time: people who worked for my companies, my children, my parents. There were some difficult moments and I learned how to save for the future.

These days, I don’t really trust banks and I don’t keep money in them. I invest in real estate and in my children and their education. That’s something no one can steal. There are a lot of nice real-estate deals in Europe, but they won’t be there forever. The Asian market is hot. You can buy an apartment in Bangkok that comes with renters.

My three money rules:

1. I am always looking for new baskets to store my eggs in. Diversification helps grow your savings.
2. I try to be moderately conservative in order to save money.
3. I try to use acquired knowledge to manage my money. There is no easy answer – everybody has to find their own way. It’s much more interesting that way.

4. What are your life hacks for relationships?

Only marry for love. That will save you from sadness when you are old, when love turns into something else, something that nourishes your life and gives it meaning.

Don’t deceive women to get what you want. It always comes back to haunt you.

I go out of my way to do nice things for my wife on a regular basis, so I don’t think she would get too mad at me if I did something stupid and forgot to get her flowers on Valentine’s day. Don’t wait for an official holiday to show your feelings.

5. Do you have any life hacks for raising children?

I try to be honest with my children. I have three of them. I try to direct them and provide them with information while remaining detached at the same time. I don’t rely on strict rules. I ask them about their lives and tell them about what’s going on in my life. I see them as equals without trying to ingratiate myself with them. I don’t control them. I just try to impress on them the importance of setting goals in life.

I don’t think it makes sense to force friendship on our children: we’re too old to share their interests. Our role in their lives is determined by the laws of evolution and nothing else. My philosophy is to use fewer words, lead by example, and trust that everything will be okay.

6. What about career hacks? What helps you be successful?

Responsibility is what makes you successful. You have to support your family so you find ways to do it. Quantity always turns into quality.

I help young people who want to change their lives and the world around them. Often that leads to business conversion. And I just like doing it anyway.

I like business to be fair. If you lie and cheat, eventually people find out and you suffer the consequences.

I try to think three steps ahead. Simple schemes rarely work. Business processes should be modeled so that you can generate money over a long period of time.

I always say that nothing is impossible – within reason, of course. Only the weak say things like “no”, “I don’t know”, “that won’t work”, or “we tried and failed.”

7. What is your favorite leisure activity? What are your little secrets for planning, organizing and spending your leisure time?

I don’t obsess about free time. I just try to have a good time, with a smartphone hooked up to the Internet. Modern technology allows you to stay up to date with what is going on around you. But again, moderation is the key. Otherwise I’ll be ready for another vacation during the flight back home.

I generally plan to spend a certain amount of money on a vacation, and I make sure to spend it all. After all, what good is all hard work if you can’t afford to spend money on yourself once in a while?

When I go on vacation, I don’t just do all the standard activities. I find out what makes the location unique and try new things all the time: yachting, windsurfing, kiteboarding, golf. Believe me, none of it is that expensive. Next on my list I want to go to the mountains and try hand gliding and paragliding.

8. Is there anything special about your home?

Our house is on what used to be a vacant lot full of weeds. You can almost feel the positive vibes: there are three churches, each a kilometer away, in three different directions. The house is surrounded by conifers where birds are raising their young. I try to keep up with them.

I stay up on the latest in home security systems. Bars on the window won’t cut it, and you can’t feel very optimistic when you look at the outside world from behind metal bars.

9. What inspires your self-improvement efforts?

I read every day. With time, you find yourself reading just the books you need – interesting ones that at are at your level.

I get information from a variety of channels. I am always training my mind. I analyze what I read and stay away from fake news sources. I look for logic and I like facts.

I try to be friends with and take energy from people who can formulate their ideas and then use them as the basis for successful projects, both large and small.

I avoid making personal remarks and avoid others who do so. Anyone who is a source of “white noise” and negative feelings gets banned immediately.

10. What are your beliefs? What guides you in this life?

I never change my beliefs, regardless of who’s in power in the country. I always remember that making money is not an end. In the future I will have to tell my children and grandchildren about how I made my money.
You do not want to have to lie to them.

I believe in God. No scam could exist for over two thousand years. There has to be something in it.

I try not to lie. It’s difficult but not impossible.

I pay attention to criticism from my family. It’s hard to take but beneficial for self-improvement.

I don’t like to go overboard when praising a person. It’s fine to just say “thank you” instead of “thank you ever so much.”

I support my parents. My children see that and I hope they will do the same for me.

I don’t go looking for trouble when it comes to supporting a civil society. I just try to inspire people with positive ideas and offer instruments for accomplishing whatever they want to achieve.

Being in a position to control this process is not something I strive for. Any leader can easily be brought down. Ideas, however, are like a virus, especially if they are expressed clearly and based on facts. The people around me are just as smart as I am. If an idea makes sense, if there is a clear path to reaching the goal and if there are people who are at least half-way there, then the idea will catch on and other people will support it. It’s kind of an open-source approach to social change.

That’s the approach we used to implement several initiatives in our hometown: locals at the grassroots level help clean up litter, help maintain public order, come up with solutions to problems and participate with the local government in bringing those solutions to life. My partners and I even developed a website called (iCitizen - editor) to make it easier for people’s ideas to be heard.

I want to bring positive changes to the world around me, but I prefer evolution to revolution.

11. What are your dreams and plans for the future?

My plans are to earn €100 million. You need resources to accomplish just about anything. Money is the best kind of resource.

I want my business to be relevant and profitable around the world and am working to make that happen.

I want to launch several social projects in my hometown, build a system to support them and scale them up.

I have a dream that one day people will drink pure water and eat healthy food.

I want to launch projects to make fresh water and healthy food widely available to those who can’t afford those things on their own.

I want to open a diagnostic center for people who cannot afford to consult with specialists around the world. What I envision is a place where you can undergo medical tests and get competent advice from doctors using modern communication technologies and with the help of an interpreter.

It is easy to do and I’ve got the details once we find people willing to invest. If we don’t find investors, then I will just have to wait until I raise €100 million and do it myself.

I wish there were bicycle lanes in our towns and cities. I am supporting a project to make my hometown more bike-friendly. Cycling is freedom.

My children are the reason I want to do all these things. There are two ways to improve your children’s lives. You can get rich off your country and then move your children somewhere better, or you can work hard to improve your country so that your children will want to stay there. I prefer the second approach.

12. What is happiness for you?

Being healthy + being needed + a family that loves you and cares for you.

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Founded in 2003, Smart-Soft is a privately owned software development company specialising in Internet technology solutions.

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Published on

Nov 28, 2014