Sat, Apr 06, 2013 - Page 9 News List

Rise and shine: When top CEOs start their day

To get an insight into how high achievers organize their lives, The Guardian asked seven top businesspeople to run us through their working day. The bad news? A very early start is the key to success

By Patrick Kingsley and Laura Barnett  /  The Guardian

When is bedtime?

I try to be in bed by 10:30pm and I always sleep like a log. I need, and get, about eight hours a night, unless I’m traveling, when I just get what I can. I rarely feel tired. Life is too exciting. I always get straight out of bed when I wake up. I do not lie there doing my e-mails.

What is your weekend like?

I love my weekends. I try to run both days, before the rest of the family is up. Then being the normal taxi service for children kicks in. We usually have dinner with friends on a Saturday night and then more family stuff on a Sunday, until about 4pm. In the winter I like to be home then, curtains drawn, music on and getting us all ready for the week ahead — homework check, clothes check, scrubbed up — a nice tea, then settle in front of the television.

Hans Vestberg

Chief executive officer, Ericsson.

Gets up ‘early.’

What time do you get up?

It varies, but usually early.

What time do you start sending e-mails?

No day is similar to another, but usually mail is part of my start of the day. Our company never sleeps: We have business in 180 countries, so there are no real mornings or nights.

Do you e-mail first thing?

I often exercise (running or gym), especially when I am traveling.

What time are you at your desk?

Flexible on time, but seldom after 8am.

Do you e-mail only at fixed times?

I read mails throughout the day, but answer them more in the morning and evening.

Do you have a secret e-mail address that few people know?

No, my mail address is open for anyone and I read all my mails myself.

What time do you go home?

It depends on the day’s activities. If I am in Sweden, I try to get home to be with my children. I can do work after that from home.

What time do you go to bed?

Quite late.

How much sleep do you get?

It varies, but enough.

How much do you need?

Not too much.

When you wake up, do you leap out of bed immediately?


What is your weekend like?

I spend time with my family and exercise. Of course there is no such thing as a “normal day” — depending on travel schedule and customer meetings, so the answers above are all approximations.

Karen Blackett

Chief executive officer, MediaCom UK.

Gets up at 5:45am.

What time do you get up?

At 5:45am three times a week to spend 45 minutes in my garage, which I have turned into a gym. Otherwise, I wake when my son comes into my room — any time between 6:30am and 7am.

When you wake up, do you leap out of bed immediately?

Define “leap” — I’d say I roll out of bed.

What time do you start sending e-mails?

I quickly scan my e-mails while my son is taking over my bed and having his milk. Urgent ones I reply to there and then. I flag others to follow up on my commute into work. My early start is due to the need to exercise more to keep fit as I get older and due to my three-year-old kick-starting my day (literally).

What time are you at your desk?

Between 8:30am and 9am. It depends on whether my son is at nursery and I do the nursery run, or at home with his nanny.

Do you e-mail throughout the day, or do you have fixed times at which you send messages?

I receive an average of 500 e-mails a day, so I e-mail throughout the day.

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