Christine Trodella; Andréa Mallard; Olabisi Boyle; Josephine Bertrams; Rachel Mendelson/Insider
- Insider talked to four female senior executives about their morning work routines.
- They all start work no later than 7:30 a.m.
- Two of the execs — Christine Trodella and Olabisi Boyle — prefer to take walking meetings.
Productivity gurus hail a good morning routine as the foundation of success.
Insider spoke with four women who’ve climbed to the corporate ladder — up to senior executive roles at companies including Hyundai and Pinterest — about theirs. All of them said they start working no later than 7:30 a.m.
The pandemic inspired Christine Trodella to take more breaks
Christine Trodella, the director of B2B-commercial sales for Reality Labs at Meta, typically starts work between 6 and 7 a.m.
Her days working from home start with listening to the morning news while she gets ready. She’ll often listen to the New York Times podcast “The Daily” on her commute if she’s heading to the office.
She first checks in with her coworkers, bosses, reports, or clients. She also scans her Workplace chats, WhatsApp messages, and emails — and spends 15 to 30 minutes responding to messages and reviewing her to-do list or calendar.
During the coronavirus pandemic, she adopted the routine of breaking up her day with walks. She told Insider that one thing she liked to do was take outdoor one-on-one meetings on her walks, where she felt less distracted and more able to focus on the conversation.
Trodella’s to-do list stays on a notepad on her desk. “There’s nothing more satisfying than physically scratching a task off of that,” she said. She also uses Outlook on her laptop and phone to keep track of meetings and tasks.
Olabisi Boyle says spending time outdoors is an important part of her work routine
Olabisi Boyle, the vice president of product planning and mobility strategy at Hyundai Motor North America, likes to take walks before work with her two dogs or meditate to help get her body and mind moving.
“I start work between 7:15 and 7:30 a.m. but wake up at 5 a.m. to give myself time to breathe,” she said.
For Boyle, who lives in Laguna Beach, California, being in nature allows time to reflect and get fresh air.
To stay organized, she uses the iOS calendar app, and she switched from taking notes on paper to taking notes digitally.
She begins each morning by checking in on her yearlong goals and progress.
“Everything I do ties into these initiatives, so it’s important to start my mornings by breaking down what needs to be done in order to achieve our goals,” she told Insider.
Boyle makes sure to make space for “hold” time when she steps away from her desk and lets her mind wander. Like Trodella, she enjoys taking one-to-one meetings outside the office.
Josephine Bertrams swears by being in the gym by 6 a.m. and at her desk at 7:30 a.m.
“I’ve always been a morning person,” Josephine Bertrams, the senior vice president and chief corporate-affairs officer at Heineken USA, told Insider.
She is usually at the gym by 6 a.m. and starts her workday at 7:30 a.m.
“After moving to New York a few years ago, waking up early allows me to stay in touch with my loved ones in the Netherlands and get an uninterrupted head start on work before a full day of meetings begins at 9 a.m.,” she said.
She works from her kitchen table three times a week and from a Heineken office in White Plains, New York, twice a week.
To stay organized, Bertrams uses a physical planner to keep track of her weekly and daily to-dos. “I started combining my professional and personal to-do lists to create a better work-life balance,” she said.
With a cup of coffee each morning, she likes to watch the morning show “CBS Mornings,” read industry newsletters like Beer Business Daily and Beer Marketer’s Insights, skim Dutch news sites, and scroll on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
She then spends five to 10 minutes scanning her inbox and prioritizing the most urgent tasks that may’ve arisen overnight.
Andréa Mallard feels most creative first thing in the morning and starts her day with an intense cardio session at 5 a.m.
Andréa Mallard is the chief marketing officer of Pinterest. She says she “does it all” in her role.
In one day, she might write a global strategy, review a creative campaign, do an analytics deep dive, join executive-team brainstorms, give press interviews, or talk about Pinterest at a conference.
“I start my day at 5 a.m. — not because I’m a masochist but because I go to bed at 9 p.m. and have a particular routine that I’ve optimized over the years,” she told Insider.
Mallard starts off with 45 minutes of intense cardio, Hydrow rowing, and Peloton. She then listens to a five-minute meditation in the shower and makes a breakfast smoothie before starting work at 6 a.m.
“I start by checking what meetings I have planned for that day and reviewing any pre-read materials, which are documents or presentations that go along with the meetings,” she said.
She does two hours of work before she pauses at 8 a.m. to help her three kids get ready for school.
Mallard said she preferred to tackle work challenges that need lateral or creative thinking first, as this is when she feels most creative.
She works from her home office, but if she craves a change of scenery, she’ll switch to a more comfortable living-room chair, sit in her backyard, or even sometimes lie on her stomach on the floor.
The executive team touches base for 15 minutes at 8:45 a.m. to raise any pressing issues.
She also likes to send a “what’s on the top of my mind” email to colleagues every Monday morning. It includes progress that has been made on workstreams and an “inspo of the week” — such as a cool marketing campaign.