While some swear by their night-owl ways, others hit peak productivity levels first thing in the morning. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, those who claim to be morning people may actually be more productive. So whether getting down to business at the crack of dawn comes naturally to you or hitting the snooze button five times before getting out of bed is more your style, there's something to be learned from the morning routines of successful people.
In order to maximize your productivity and reach your goals, it might be time to rethink your morning routine for work. Ahead, hear how five women in leadership roles across a variety of fields get their days started on the right foot. Take a peek at their morning routines for work below—from 5 a.m. wake-up calls to morning meditation.
Jen Rubio, Co-Founder, Away
Wake-Up Call: 6 a.m. "I like to start my day by meditating, getting in a workout, and having some time that's just my own before heading to the office (or jumping into Slack if I'm on the road). No two days are the same at Away, but having a morning routine that's consistent helps me stay focused and centered, no matter what I'm working on or where I might be in the world."
Breakfast: Coffee with eggs and smoked salmon or almond butter toast. "Coffee (a must) and something that will keep me full until I remember to eat at 3 p.m. Usually some eggs and smoked salmon, or some toast with almond butter."
Clock-In Time: 9:30 a.m. "Every day is different depending on any meetings I have in the morning, but I'm generally in the office around 9:30 am unless I've scheduled a breakfast meeting."
First Thing: Team catch-up. "I love the people I get to work with every day, so I make time to check in and see how they're doing—not just as co-workers, but as people."
Daily Goal: Creativity. "I oversee how our customers experience our brand, so whether I'm able to be truly additive to the team is so dependent on my ability to be creative! I know that I have my best ideas and can give the most helpful feedback when I'm taking care of myself before I even walk into the office. More than anything, my goal for every project is to be truly present and give each one my full attention."
How I Prioritize: Team support. "With my attention being pulled in a million different directions, this was tough to figure out and right now, it takes the support of my team to keep me focused on the important things by doing some serious traffic control on my schedule and my to-do list. I think a lot of people are hesitant to admit how crucial this type of support is, but I couldn't imagine working at this pace without some structure and a lot of help!"
Words of Wisdom: "Be realistic about how much you can accomplish before noon. I actually don't even look at my to-do list in full for the first part of the day. Instead, I create a shortlist of everything that absolutely has to get done and focus on those things. I think it's easy to get overwhelmed when you look at the big picture, so I take it task by task."
Power Product: Slack.
Aicha Evans, Chief Strategy Officer, Intel
Wake-Up Call: 6:30 a.m. "I usually wake up at 6:30 am every morning—it doesn't take me long to get ready, and I have to beat that Bay Area traffic."
Breakfast: Strong black tea with almond milk. "Breakfast is usually on the go most days. I always start the day with a strong black tea with almond milk. It gives me just enough caffeine and is healthier than coffee. If I have some extra time in the morning and my family is still asleep, I'll make a banana blueberry smoothie too."
Clock-In Time: 7 to 8 a.m. "I'm usually in the office at 7 a.m. on Mondays to set the tone for the week and 8 a.m. the rest of the week. Sometimes, it's 8:30 am, and I take a call on my drive into the office, which helps ease the Silicon Valley commute."
First Thing: Say hi. "I say hi to my team, then check my inbox to see if anything has popped up overnight."
Daily Goal: Stay positive. "My goal is to always stay positive and make the best out of each situation. It's not always easy to do when something unexpected happens, but it's important to remain positive and focused, especially as a leader."
How I Prioritize: A daily briefing. "The daily briefing is crucial to how I prioritize. I use it as a barometer to assess what needs to get accomplished immediately and what can wait. I'm also realistic about the things that require my personal attention versus the things that I can empower other members of my team to handle."
Words of Wisdom: "Remember what you enjoy about your job, what excites you about what you do and anchor around that. Reminding yourself of why you come to work is a great way to start your day and set the mood. And remember there's always tomorrow and another chance to reset and start again when things go wrong or if you have a bad day. You always have the chance to start fresh or start over—whether that's day to day or task to task."
Power Product: Black tea.
Rosette Pambakian, Head of Brand, Tinder
Wake-Up Call: 6 a.m. "A lot of media and partners are on the East Coast and in London, so it's important that I'm available to make sure that the time difference doesn't set us behind before the day even starts."
Breakfast: Coffee or a smoothie. "I usually just have coffee or grab a smoothie while I'm on the go in the morning—anything that will give me a bit of an energy boost to start my day."
Clock-In Time: 9 a.m. "I usually catch up on overnight emails first thing in the morning and take my first few calls from home."
First Thing: Google alerts. "The first thing I do every day is check Google alerts to see who's buzzing about the latest Tinder news."
Daily Goal: Engagement. "My goal is always to be engaged. Whether I'm talking to someone one-on-one or meeting in a larger group setting, it's important that I'm giving them my full attention and eliminating distractions."
How I Prioritize: Team check-ins. "I check in with my core team members, and from there I can determine what needs my attention most urgently."
Words of Wisdom: "Make sure to carve out 30 minutes of time for yourself before your first call or meeting. This gives you a bit of time to read the news and scroll through social media (we all do it) before you really need to buckle down and focus."
Power Product: Blue Bottle almond milk latte.
Diedra Nelson, Chief Financial Officer, The Wing
Wake-Up Call: 6:30 a.m. "I wake up at 6:30 most mornings and like to start my day with five to 10 minutes of meditation. I've been doing it for over three years now and use Headspace and Pema Chödrön as my guides. I've found it gives me a chance to get centered and gain clarity ahead of starting my day. Once I've completed my meditation, I check my email and calendar before I jump in the shower and get ready for work."
Breakfast: Egg sandwiches. "Breakfast is my favorite meal, and my wife and I have breakfast together every morning. It's our time to connect before the day ahead, talk about our plans for the day, and bounce ideas off each other. When it's my day to cook, I love making egg sandwiches and adding my own twist—my secret ingredient is my mom's famous strawberry jam."
Clock-In Time: 8:30 to 9 a.m. "I use my commute to read The New York Times to catch up on what is happening in the world, and listen to NPR. I also like to use the time to get caught up on email prior to getting to The Wing's headquarters. It's great to get to the office and already be ahead of your day."
First Thing: Email. "Usually my meetings start first thing in the morning, so I set a goal of responding to five to 10 emails before my day starts. I prioritize the most pressing emails so that anyone that was waiting on me for feedback can start with their day."
Daily Goal: Be prepared. "My goal is always the same—accomplish everything you set out to do and handle the fire drills with a 'figure it out' mentality. No day is ever the same at a startup, and The Wing is no different. I learned early in my career how important it is to be prepared for anything and to come at all new ideas tactically and thoughtfully."
How I Prioritize: Nightly to-do lists. "Every night before I leave the office, I straighten up my desk and make my to-do list for the next day. It helps me leave knowing my world is in order and allows me to come in the next day knowing what's on my plate. This has been a game changer for me, and I highly recommend doing something like this. It's a great habit for someone just starting their career to get into."
Words of Wisdom: "If your mornings are filled with back-to-back meetings like mine tend to be, try to have your meetings be 50-minute meetings. I live by them! It gives you a chance to catch up on email, reset, and quickly recharge before your next meeting."
Power Product: Oat milk lattes.
Liz Plosser, Editor in Chief, Women's Health
Wake-Up Call: 5:17 a.m. "If I'm working out, which I usually am, my alarm goes off at 5:17 a.m. (I love sevens!) I meet one of my best friends for a run around Prospect Park, go to a 6 a.m. SLT class, or do a Women's Health strength workout at my local YMCA. The goal is to be home by 7 a.m. so I can get my 7-year-old twins (and 3-year-old son) up and ready for school."
Breakfast: Coffee and a smoothie or scrambled eggs. "I prefer to sweat on an empty stomach so I don't get a side stitch, but I always have coffee first with a splash of whole milk. Post-workout, I'll make my kids and me smoothies (banana, milk, ice and almond butter is a favorite combo), or scrambled eggs."
Clock-In Time: 9:30 a.m. "I'll get to work around 9:30 a.m. if I do kiddo drop-off at school in Carroll Gardens, or a little later if I'm doing a coffee or breakfast meeting on the way in—or run-commuting in. On mornings I'm feeling extra inspired, I'll run across the Brooklyn Bridge up to the Women's Health offices in Columbus Circle to get my miles for the day in."
First Thing: Email. "I spend my subway ride responding to emails and making lists so that when I arrive at my desk, I'm prepped to read copy that's ready for my thoughts, hit the ground running in meetings, and do some macro brainstorming for the brand."
Daily Goal: Productivity and creativity. "My goal is definitely to maximize my productivity and creativity! I'm in meetings for the majority of the day every day, so my goal before the madness begins is to triage and tackle my queue of copy to read."
How I Prioritize: Nightly inventory. "I take inventory every night and every morning to prioritize what's most important and urgent. I love to-do lists, but I will take it up a notch and literally budget every minute (for instance, I'll map out 10 to 10:15 a.m. on story revisions, 10:15 to 10:20 a.m. to prep for my next meeting, and so on) so I'm maximizing my morning (and afternoon and evening!) hours."
Words of Wisdom: "Designate certain times of the day where you respond to email. It's such a time suck if you clear your inbox in real time! My team knows that they should Slack, text, or ideally stop by my office is something needs an immediate response."
Power Product: A great playlist.
These successful women seem to have their morning routines for work down to a science. Take their advice and work toward becoming more productive by best utilizing the first few hours of your day. Based on their routines, drinking coffee may not be a terrible idea.