The Morning Routines of 7 Ambitious Women Leaders

There is no one-size-fits-all morning routine for leaders as each person’s routine will vary depending on their individual needs and preferences. A study found that, out of the 88% of respondents who always or often have a morning routine, 92% were highly productive people more likely to do so. An effective morning routine can be the difference between a productive and intentional day vs an overwhelming day.

 Common morning routine tasks

  • Waking up at the same time every day
  • Drinking a glass of water
  • Stretching or some light exercises
  • Meditating or reviewing affirmations
  • Eating a healthy breakfast
  • Planning and prioritizing the day
  • Reading the news or a book
  • Listening to an audiobook or podcast
  • Taking a shower
  • Journaling

Benefits of a morning routine

Increased productivity- You can set time to accomplish daily tasks that move you closer to your goals. For instance, you can network for twenty minutes in the morning to help you find a mentor, or schedule a couple of social posts to increase the visibility of your personal brand. 

Reduced stress- A relaxed morning can help you reduce stress and anxiety by giving you time to practice self-care, which can help prepare you mentally for the day ahead.

Improved focus- Routines can help you prioritize tasks so you have a clear plan for the day.

Better physical health- Consistent early morning exercise and healthy eating can help improve your physical health over time.

Morning Routines of Ambitious Women

Sabrina Hall

Sabrina is currently the Senior Product Design Manager at Etsy and an Adjunct Professor at CUNY. She worked on campaigns, branding, and more for various companies for the past fourteen years. You can see her work on her website here. Her morning routine is prepared the night before by taking the ingredients out for her breakfast, laying out her clothes, and making a list of her tasks for the next day.

  • Sabrina wakes up at 6:05 am and drinks a cup of water before brewing her cup of coffee and making a protein smoothie to go.
  • Three times a week at 6:35am she commutes to the gym and works out for an hour.
  • By 8 am, Sabrina is commuting to work and checking her emails.

Jean Chatzky

Jean is an award-winning financial journalist, best-selling author, financial editor of NBC’s TODAY show, co-founder and CEO of HerMoney, and host of the HerMoney Podcast. She has kept this routine for decades since it began when she was pregnant with her daughter and her son was a toddler.

  • Jean will wake up at 5am if she has deadlines, work for television, or write her book. The early morning hours give her time for herself before work starts coming in.
  • By 7am, she goes for a run or hops on her Peloton if the weather is bad.
  • After her workout, Jean has a quick breakfast and meditates for ten minutes. 

Melanie Elturk

Co-founder of Haute Hijab, Melanie designs fashionable and comfortable hijabs that were featured in Elle, Glamour, Maire Claire, and Vogue Arabia. She will also be traveling with Islamic Relief USA to the quake-affected areas in Turkiye and is seeking donations here

  • Melanie wakes up between 5:30-6:30 am, depending on the sunrise, for her morning prayer and answers emails or does a bit of light reading.
  • Between 7:30-9:30 am, she eats a breakfast of green tea with honey, waffles, a bagel, eggs, and fruit.
  • After which, she will do 5 minutes of stretching to combat her chronic pain. 

Payal Kadakia Pujji

Payal is a dancer and founder of ClassPass, a platform that connects users to fitness classes, gyms, and wellness experiences around the world.

  • Payal starts her day by reviewing her schedule, checking emails, and sharing inspirational quotes on social media.
  • Then, depending on the time she has, she does 10-30 min of exercise followed by a shower with Bollywood music. 
  • Payla loves Citrus green tea from Starbucks and usually eats fruit in the morning.

For women with children, a morning routine will need to adapt to your children’s schedules, yet it won’t make you any less productive or successful. Here are some examples of successful women that created flexible morning routines which work for them and their families.

Bilen Mesfin

Bilen is a journalist and the CEO of Change Consulting. It is an agency focused on social and racial justice globally and works on communication efforts for Kamala Harris. She has a four-year-old daughter. 

  • The night before she writes a personal and professional to-do list.
  • Then, Bilen will wake up before her daughter, between 4 and 5 am, to have a quiet moment to pray, read, drink coffee, and do some yoga.
  • Once her daughter wakes up it’s time for breakfast and getting ready for the day.

Randi Zuckerberg

Randi is the former market developer for Facebook, CEO of Zuckerberg Media, and the author of “Pick Three.” She was also a keynote speaker at IAW’s Inspirational Influencer Gala which you can find out more about here. Randi has two sons, one is 11 years old and the youngest is eight. 

  • The mantra Randi starts her day with is “work, sleep, fitness, family, friends — pick three.” She chooses three to do really well that day to help her stay balanced.
  • She refuses to check her email for 20 to 30 minutes in the morning to spend time with her husband and sons. 
  • Instead, she starts her work day once the kids are at school. Randi explained how she’s found success working in the late evenings in exchange for mornings as a family.

Susan Sly

Susan is the Co-CEO and co-founder of RadiusAI, a computer vision analytics company that collects real-time data to help greater operational efficiency in health care, retail, and infrastructure. She is the mother of four children. 

  • She prepares the night before by writing her calendar down in a notebook. It helps her evaluate each meeting and task to ensure it aligns with her goals and isn’t afraid to cancel something if it does not. She finishes by writing 10 things she is grateful for. 
  • Regardless of timezone, Susan wakes up at 4:00 am, says affirmations, drinks a cup of black coffee, and prays or meditates for 45 minutes.
  • Then, she will write 150 words for a blog post, review her finances, and respond to emails.
  • After a quick workout, usually on her Peloton, she gets her kids ready for school and drops them off, when she’s not traveling. 

Looking for something to help you stay on track with your routine? From the IAW member resource library, download the wellness workbook for free here!

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