“The physical, mental and personal discipline of the executives profiled in this list is to be marveled at. And there are countless more professionals who probably ascribe to this same work ethic. One point worth taking into consideration, however, is awareness of one’s limitations. Keep in mind the example of one CEO who is quoted as saying that while he loves his job, the stress occasionally gets to him, resulting in sleepless nights. Considering that sleep is virtually a luxury for these execs, it is nevertheless a vital function to living a healthy life, and one that should not be taken for granted.”
27 Executives Who Wake Up Really Early
by Max Nisen and Gus Lubin
January 11, 2013
Getting up early is a no brainer for most executives.
It means being awake during a part of the day when there are few distractions. It means reacting to the biggest news of the day while others are dreaming. And in the evening you have the option to work late too – or to get to sleep early while others are partying and watching TV.
From Jack Dorsey to Indra Nooyi, this habit is common to tons of famous leaders.
Whether they were born early risers or learned good sleep habits, these people know how to seize the day.
- GE CEO Jeff Immelt
Immelt told Fortune that he gets up at 5:30 in the morning every day for a cardio workout, during which he reads the papers and watches CNBC. He claims to have worked 100 hour weeks for 24 straight years.
- Xerox CEO Ursula Burns
Burns uses early morning hours to get caught up on emails, getting up at 5:15 and sometimes working until midnight, according to Yahoo Finance.
She also uses the time to fit in a workout, according to Laura Vanderkam’s “What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.” Burns schedules an hour of personal training at 6:00 A.M. twice a week.
- Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne
Marchionne wakes up at 3:30 in the morning to deal with the European market, according to a 60 Minutes profile on his turnaround of Chrysler.
Referring to his schedule and work ethic, one exec is quoted in the FT as saying “Sergio invented an eighth day and we work it.” In that 60 Minutes special, another exec said “When it was a holiday in Italy he’d come to America to work. When it’s a holiday in America he goes to Italy to work.”
- PIMCO Co-founder Bill Gross
Runnning the world’s largest bond fund in the world from California, pretty much guarantees early mornings. According to Fortune, Gross wakes up at 4:30 in the morning to check out the markets, and gets into the office by 6.
- Square CEO Jack Dorsey
Dorsey described his morning routine to New York Magazine, revealing that he wakes up at 5:30 in the morning to meditate and go for a six mile jog.
He kept up that routine during a period where he shuttled back and forth between Square and Twitter, spending around 8 hours a day at both companies.
- Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group
In an interview with Business Insider‘s Aly Weisman, Branson revealed that he wakes up at around 5:45 in the morning, even when staying at his private island, leaving the curtains drawn so the sun gets him up.
He does his best to use those early hours to exercise before an early breakfast and getting to work.
- PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi
Nooyi wakes up as early as 4:00 A.M., telling Fortune that “They say sleep is a gift that God gives you…that’s one gift I was never given.”
In a speakers series at Pepsi, she revealed that she’s at work every day by no later than 7.
- General Motors’ CEO Dan Akerson
Akerson told the AP he will “rarely sleep past 4:30 or 5,” waking up so he can talk to GM Asia before it gets too late. He calls it the best job he’s ever had: “It’s complex and interesting and exciting.”
But the stress gets to him too, leading to “a lot of sleepless nights.”
- Virgin America CEO David Cush
Cush described his morning routine to the AP: Wakes up at 4:15 a.m., sends emails, calls business associates on the East Coast, and that’s before listening to Dallas sports radio, reading the paper and hitting the bike at the gym.
- Apple CEO Tim Cook
Cook is known for getting up and sending out company emails at 4:30 in the morning, according to Gawker‘s Ryan Tate. By 5 AM he can be found in the gym. And he works late too, priding himself on being the first in the office and the last out.
- Disney CEO Bob Iger
Iger told The New York Times he gets up at “4:30 every morning.” He takes the quiet time to do a number of things, claiming to read the papers, exercise, listen to music, look at email and watch TV all at once. Even though it’s quiet time, he’s “already multitasking.”
- Hain Celestial Group CEO Irwin Simon
Simon accomplishes more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day. He wakes up 5 a.m., going through emails and calling operations in Europe and Asia. He also prays, walks the dog and exercises before his kids wake up. He arrives at his office in Long Island, usually after squeezing in a breakfast meeting in Manhattan as well.
- Former PepsiCo CEO Steve Reinemund
Now the dean of Schools of Business at Wake Forest University, the long-time head of Pepsi told Yahoo Finance that he would be out of bed at 5:30, already reading the papers. He would go through The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and The Dallas Morning News before heading to work.
- Former Peugeot GM Jean-Martin Folz
Now headed to the board of Eutelsat Communications, the former head of Peugeot was said to catch the 4 a.m. train from Dijon to Paris, and would finish up a briefing paper within minutes of arriving to his office at 7 a.m. According to The Observer, Folz also had his Renault Espace converted into an office so he could work while commuting.
- Former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley
Now consulting on innovation and CEO succession, the former head of Proctor & Gamble told Fortune that he made it a habit to be up between 5 and 5:30 A.M and at his desk by 6:30 or 7.
- Former Goldman Sachs and MF Global CEO Jon Corzine
Colleagues recalled to The New York Times that he would be in the office by 6 a.m., even after taking a five-mile run in the morning. Yet he was still the last person to leave in the evenings.
- Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz
Schultz starts his day with a workout, which is usually a bike ride with his wife, but still gets to the office by 6 a.m., according to Portfolio.com.
There must be something about Starbucks that makes people want to do this, as president Michelle Gass wakes up at 4:30 every morning to go running, and has done so for 15 years.
Must be all the coffee.
- Former PayPal and OpenTable head Jeff Jordan
The recently-resigned CEO of OpenTable, Jordan told The New York Times that he is in the office by 5 a.m., and doesn’t leave until after 7 p.m. However, as Jordan admits, these long hours played a role in his departure from PayPal.
- Former Avon Products CEO Andrea Jung
Jung wakes up at 5 in the morning and goes to the gym before getting to her desk at 8, says Forbes.
- Aurora Fashions CEO Mike Shearwood
As head of one of the UK’s trendiest fashion companies, Shearwood’s day starts early. Shearwood wakes up at 5 a.m. in order to travel from Nottingham to London in time for a 7:45 arrival. He loves the long commute both ways: “I catch up on emails and work, as well as speaking to teams on the phone.”
- Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark
The youngest CEO in the NBA told SellingPower that he gets up at 3:30 in the morning in order to get to the office by 4:30. From there, he works out and sends motivational emails to his team.
He takes it easy on the weekends, arriving at the office by 7 a.m. instead.
- Former Oxygen Channel CEO Gerry Laybourne
The founder of Oxygen is awake by 6 a.m. and out of the house a half hour later. If you get up early enough she might even take you under her wing, she tells Yahoo! Finance:
“Once or twice a week, I go for a walk in Central Park with a young person seeking my advice. This is my way of helping bring along the next generation. And if someone is up early in the morning then they are serious about life. I can’t take time at the office to do this, but doing it in the morning allows me to get exercise and stay connected with young people at the same time.”
- Saban Capital CEO Haim Saban
As head of the Saban Capital Group, this Egyptian-born Israeli-American billionaire has his first cup of coffee at 6:02 a.m. and begins work from there. He works for an hour before exercising for 75 minutes to really start his day, according to Yahoo Finance.
- Brooklyn Industries CEO Lexy Funk
The artistic co-founder of the Brooklyn-based clothing and bag shop told the Huffington Post that her routine starts early: “I usually wake up around 4 a.m.” From there, the dilemma of whether to read and bore herself back to sleep or get on her BlackBerry begins. Once online, she’s answering emails and talking to people from Brooklyn Industries.
- Starwood Hotels CEO Frits Van Paasschen
According to “What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast“ the former Coors CEO makes a habit of going for a run at 5:50 in the morning and being ready for the day by 6:30.
- Cedar Fair Entertainment CEO Matt Ouimet
The former president of Starwood Hotels and CFO of Disney just became the CEO of a company that runs amusement parks. Referring to work as “game time,” according to Yahoo Finance, Ouimet likes to get to the office early, waking up at 5:30 in order to get out of the house by 6 a.m.
- Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior
Although she doesn’t run right to the office upon waking up at 4:30 a.m., Warrior spends an hour on email, reads the news, works out and gets her son ready for school. And she is still in the office by 8:30 at the latest, according to Yahoo Finance.She was formerly the CTO of Motorola, and has been one of the most highly acclaimed women in business over the course of her career.
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