There is a school of thought that suggests the first hour of a successful person’s day is significantly different than other people: Some are early risers, who sip coffee quietly and watch the sunrise. Others psych themselves up for the day by finding motivational quotes. Some prefer to exercise and get their heart and mind running. Comstock’s asked this year’s six Women In Leadership recipients to see how they prepare themselves for the day ahead.
“The first hour of a typical work day varies depending on my ever-changing schedule. If I do not have a late night meeting and have gone to bed at a decent hour, I try to get a workout in. My first choice is a spin class at the gym, which is high cardio and low impact, followed by coffee to keep up my energy level.
After changing and getting into the office at Community 1st Bank, my first priority is to answer voicemails and emails. What I intend to happen on a normal work day in that first hour can always change and the need to adjust and adhere to a new schedule is inevitable. That is what makes my work interesting and gratifying.”
“Every morning my alarm goes off at 4 a.m. I put on my running clothes before my brain registers what exactly is going on and I am out the door. I am a runner. I look forward to taking my first steps in the darkness and waking up with the sun. We (the sun and I) share an uninterrupted hour together.
I don’t listen to music, I listen to my breath. For an hour, sometimes longer, I quite all of the noise and focus internally. For that hour, I am just me. I have no titles, no responsibilities. It is the perfect combination of mental, physical and spiritual peace. These moments are hard to come by and I cherish the time with myself. I have a standing date with the sunrise.”
“I am an early riser (usually by 5 a.m.) and so my first hour of the day is generally just about things that get me ready to engage in the day. I enjoy a cup of coffee, slowly, and almost always then read the Sacramento Bee and Wall Street Journal for articles of immediate interest, usually focusing on the opinion pages of both newspapers. If I see something of interest in the newspaper, I’ll send an email to a close friend about what I’ve read, or I might respond to emails I received from friends the night before.
I generally do a good job of avoiding work emails during this first quiet hour of the day. I may go on Facebook to see what’s new with my friends and business acquaintances, and then Instagram, to see whether my daughters have posted pictures. So I guess it is fair to say that I spend the first hour of my day checking in on what’s happening in the world, with my friends and with my family.”
“Before I come in to the office, I review my calendar for the day, check my email and if it’s something quick, I take care of it. I walk through in my mind the list of things I want to accomplish for that day. Once at the office, I power up my laptop and if something’s urgent, I address it right away.
Before I start anything else, I have a brief meeting with my administrative assistant and other staff to go over the tasks and priorities for the day. Based on the items discussed in the meeting, I write down the tasks I am responsible for. This list gets added to my original list. Funny how the list keeps growing. However, this helps me stay focused and get through what I need to get done in an efficient manner.”
“As a working mother with both full- and part-time jobs, my world often feels like it is turning at a frenetic pace. While I would likely benefit from a few moments of meditation, an early workout, or even a chance to sit down alone with a cup of coffee and a newspaper before starting my day, I instead share my first hour of the day with my young children, preparing them for what I hope will be an amazing day ahead.
I’ve learned to cherish and guard the precious and unadulterated quiet time knowing that with meetings, homework, soccer practice and other commitments, I might not get it again for the rest of the day. So whether it is enjoying breakfast together, reviewing homework or simply discussing issues relevant to their experience, I’m committed to replacing the rushed and frenzied morning routine with a few moments to instill in my kids the confidence that they are heard, the understanding that they are loved and the awareness that they matter.”
“I wake up not thanks to an actual alarm clock, but to my beloved cat Mochii who feels it’s his sole duty in life to wake me up anywhere between 6-7 a.m. with purrs, paws (and sometimes claws) on my back until I finally rise, get out of bed, feed him and make coffee. From there, I sip my coffee while I catch up on any work I need to do for the What’s Up Sac newsletter/blog I contribute to, check out emails and Facebook until it’s time for me to jump in the shower and get ready for work.
I usually pack a breakfast to have after ballet class (usually yogurt) and a “lunch,” which consists of a bunch of snacks (veggies, peanut butter, crackers and cheese, half a sandwhich, power bars, leftover dinner) I can eat on the go during my long rehearsal days. If it’s nice weather, I’ll walk or ride my bike to work at the CLARA building, which is near my home. I blast my current favorite playlist in my headphones to get pumped up for the day, get to the studio and change for ballet class. I do a series of exercises I’ve put together on my own that make me feel strong yet flexible for the day — a combination of yoga, pilates and basic weight training. By then, it’s time for ballet class (9:30 a.m.) and for my work day to begin.”