Morning habits part 7: Mohammed Saeed Harib

The animator and founder of Arabic animated cartoon Freej has also worked with Kanye West and Selma Hayek. 

Matthew Priest July 26, 2015

And then, there was one.

Our Morning Habits series has examined the routines of seven men at the top of their industries, delving into their morning rituals as we hoped to learn tips on how a productive morning can lead to a successful life. 

We began with one of the fashion world's leading artistic directors, moved onto the CEO of a leading Swiss watch company, a man who went from banking to creating his own jewellery brand, the CEO of a leathers goods company, the creative director of a global luggage brand and an Emirati entrepreneur

The seventh and final part is with another UAE National, and one of the most artistically talented in the country. 

Mohammed Saeed Harib - animator and founder of Lammtara Art Production

Since creating the award-winning Arabic animated cartoon Freej, the Emirati animation director’s stock has sky rocketed, with him being named as one of the world’s most influential Arabs and having recently worked on projects with Kanye West and Selma Hayek. 

Are you a morning person?

I never used to be! I used to stay up until 4am, but then I started doing more exercise and it really impacted my life. Waking up early to do something recreational, creative, or sporty, really sets you up properly for the day. You can walk into the studio and you are ready to roll, while everyone else is trying to grab a coffee.

What sort of exercise do you do?

I used to go cycling, but a few years ago I fell in love with riding horses – and endurance horses especially. Six days a week I will be at the stables by 5.30am and ride my horses for an hour. There is such a magical connection that you get from riding horses – it’s like no other sport.  After that I head back home and try to take advantage of the early start with a good breakfast.

I prefer to work with and around people rather than spending my days behind a computer.

What do you have for breakfast?

I like to keep it local when it comes to breakfast. I have a traditional Middle Eastern dish called balaleet, which is made from thin vermicelli noodles. Over here we have it quite sweet and normally with a fried egg on top – I also often eat boiled eggs. I try to avoid eating anything that is too oily. I don’t try to eat too many carbohydrates, but if I do, then I’ll have it in the morning.

Do you do any other exercise?

I go to the gym pretty much every day – except Friday. Being fit and healthy is important to me so I try to put in two different activities a day. I start with riding and then I’ll go to the gym after. 

How do you get to work?

The studio is in Al Serkal Avenue in Al Quoz, so I drive there. I’ll normally arrive between 9.30 and 10am.

When do you send your first email?

I’m not much of an email person. I do a lot of my communication via my phone – I like calls and messages. I have a PA and I will browse through the emails that are sent from her – but I rarely open a laptop. I prefer to work with and around people rather than spending my days behind a computer. My PA schedules my meetings and makes sure I am where I need to be. It is important for me to have that flexibility.

What are your media habits?

I’ve gone off physical newspapers, and prefer to get my news from rolling news websites, or Twitter for cultural news. The news that you receive in hard copy on your desk is already yesterday’s news, where as I prefer up-to-the-minute information, which is what the world has become.