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How 5 Successful Women Start Their Workdays

From CEOs to head chefs, we talk to women-in-charge on how they spend their first 30 minutes on the job.

By: Chelsey Burnside

As we all know, a female CEO’s morning looks a little something like this: She glides through an expansive lobby balancing her phone in one hand and a gargantuan espresso-based beverage in the other, Ferragamos clacking against the polished marble. She power-poses her way up in the elevator. Her pristine blowout moves as though it’s a single entity. She tosses her trench on an assistant’s desk because she has places to be and skirt suits to wear and conference calls with Shenzhen that aren’t gonna make themselves.

Okay, so maybe we’ve been watching a little too much primetime ABC, ’cause the real lady bosses we know and Coveteur look nothing like a walking Fortune cover, and their morning routines look nothing like Olivia Pope’s. We chatted with five women-in-charge on how they actually spend the first 30 minutes of their workdays (read: guzzling coffee and getting shit done).

KATHERINE POWER

Co-Founder and CEO, Clique Media Group

 

What does the first half-hour of your workday usually look like?
I’m up every day by 5 a.m. to work out, but I try not to look at my phone until I finish my workout, otherwise I will run late. Once I look, I’m working, but as a CEO and founder, you’re never not working.

What’s one thing you always like to check off your to-do list first thing in the morning? Why?
A scroll through the various social networks. If I don’t do it early, I won’t get a chance for the rest of the day.

If there’s a day that requires you to be particularly creative, how do you go about getting that jolt of inspiration right off the bat?
For me, a workout and some green tea is all I need to perform at 100%, mentally. I work out more for my mind than my body at this point.

Any a.m. advice for fellow lady bosses?
I love doing very early calls, especially with people in NY since I am based on the West Coast. I start my first call at 7am and love that I am able to get so much done before I even get to the office. Maximizing your time is key, so any time I’m in the car I try to use that time for a necessary call.

 

MARY YOUNG

Lingerie & Loungewear Designer

 

What’s one thing you always like to check off your to-do list first thing in the morning?
The thing I like to do first is the task I want to do the least—getting it over with first gives me energy and excitement to do the rest. If I leave the thing I dislike the most until the end of the day, it'll always be looming over my head, which will make me counterproductive. So I bite the bullet, get it over with and feel great for the rest of the day.

If there’s a day that requires you to be particularly creative, how do you go about getting that jolt of inspiration right off the bat?
One of the best things I find for jump-starting creativity is going outdoors and enjoying it. Not just walking from point A to point B but sitting with a drink and having a few moments of peace. These quiet times really help me balance and give me the energy to push my creativity. Another great thing is looking through Instagram, Pinterest or Tumblr for inspiration; seeing design and color is always fuel for the fire.

Is there something small and non-work-related you like to do for yourself to start your workday off right?
I love getting a matcha latte at my local coffee shop. Stepping outside of my home and work for a few minutes, enjoying the short walk over and chatting with other locals at the shop balances me out and energizes me to start the day. Also, you can't go wrong with a matcha latte.

 

SARAH SLUTSKY

Stylist and Cinematique’s VP of Special Projects

 

What time do you usually start working?
If I don’t have any appointments in the morning, I’m usually at my computer in my kitchen by 8:30 responding to emails. I live in Brooklyn, so I prefer to not have appointments before 10:30 because I tend to feel rushed in the morning and hate being late!

What does the first half-hour of your workday usually look like?
1. Picking up a coffee.
2. Reviewing my checklist.
3. Answering as many emails as possible.
4. Touching base with my team to see what they are working on and if they have questions or need direction.

What’s one thing you always like to check off your to-do list first thing in the morning?
Headspace! I try to take 10 minutes to use the Headspace app to mediate. It helps me clear my mind and prioritize.

Any a.m. advice for fellow lady bosses?
It’s not always easy, but thinking one day at a time and setting small goals for each day really helps me to get to the big picture stress-free. The morning is a great time to peek at your to-do list and remind yourself what’s a must-do for today that you can accomplish solo and what other obstacles might still be in place for big-picture ideas.

 

ALEXANDRA FESWICK

Chef du Cuisine, The Drake Hotel

 

What time do you usually start working, and what does the first half-hour of your workday usually look like?
My day is usually backwards compared to most other professionals—I don't generally start work until after noon. But when I get there, I always grab a coffee from The Drake café to fuel my day. Immediately after, I check in with my sous-chef team and the cooks—we’re a family, and communication is key! I check out our special-events board to see what's happening in the hotel that day and then start to organize whatever needs to be done in priority sequence.

If there’s a day that requires you to be particularly creative, how do you go about getting that jolt of inspiration right off the bat?
I spend a few minutes in my garden every morning. Because my job requires all of my creative energy, I find that connecting with food, nature and plants is always very calming and inspiring. There's something about catching the first few rays of the sun that I find is good for your soul. Seeing produce ripen in the sun and seeing the results of my efforts (like a vine-ripened tomato!) always grounds me and reinforces my appreciation of food. Seasonal ingredients will always be my biggest inspiration—this is how my recipes begin.

Is there something small and unrelated to your job you like to do for yourself to start your workday off right?
I find that making my bed in the morning is essential to my personal success. It may sound funny, but I equate making my bed to turning over a new leaf every day.

 

HILLARY KERR

Co-Founder, Clique Media Group

 

What does the first half-hour of your workday usually look like?
I start work between 7:30 and 8 a.m. at home for about an hour, then I get ready and head to the office, so in some ways I have two beginnings to my day. The first half-hour depends on what’s going on; sometimes I spend that time writing, other times it’s simply reading the news (national, international and industry) and key newsletters (Lenny, The Hollywood Reporter and, of course, ours!).

Are there any tasks you’ve found detrimental to do in the morning?
Personally, I don’t like to have meetings first thing because I feel like people are often better prepared for said meeting after they’ve had a moment to settle into their day.

If there’s a day that requires you to be particularly creative, how do you go about getting that jolt of inspiration right off the bat?
For me, the best thing is to stay off email. I can get really distracted by it, so I try not to go down that email wormhole first thing if I need to be creative immediately.

Is there something small and non-work-related you like to do for yourself to start your workday off right?
My fiancé makes me coffee every morning, which is the greatest because a) he makes amazing coffee and b) I suck at making coffee and c) I absolutely need coffee first thing.

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