Most CEOs Rise Early; Few Complain About Work/Life Balance

The Guardian newspaper’s Tim Dowling, Laura Barnett and Patrick Kingsley spoke to seven CEOs including AOL, Vodafone, Virgin Money, and Ericsson about their work/life habits and learned than most CEOs start their day by rising as early as 5:00 Am in order to sort through their commitments. The reporters sought to learn how seven successful people manage their affairs and become high effective.

“Looking at the daily schedules of CEOs, patterns emerge, “ say The Guardian reporters. “Some of the routine is dictated by the job, but a lot of it is the product of outlook and approach. These folks live their lives in a very directed way. How do they manage, day in, day out? And what can we learn from the habits of seven highly effective people?

The reporters observations of a CEO’s day include:

  • First off – and there’s no getting around this one; – you have to get up early. CEOs don’t hit snooze: most of them claim to leap out of bed in the morning.
  • Business and domestic life are hopelessly blurred. Leisure activities are as rigidly organized as the office diary – nobody lies in on Saturdays; they get up early and exercise – and everybody seems happy to let work follow them home. Quality time with children is timetabled, which might sound a bit ruthless, but at least they are determined to include some. For most of these company heads, the working week starts again on Sunday evening.
  • It’s clear that none of these people ever gets a chance to do the sudoku in the morning.
  • They may be in charge of large international companies, but they are absolute slaves to email.. They’re emailing first thing in the morning, and last thing at night, and throughout the day. For the modern CEO, dealing with your own email seems to be some kind of touchstone of accessibility.
  • Far from giving you a blueprint for your rise to the top, these routines will probably cause you to reconsider the whole idea of becoming CEO of a major communications conglomerate. For the most part, it sounds horrible. There is no respite at the top of the greasy pole, no finish line at the end of the rat race – it’s just more of the same. What’s the point of being rich and successful if you have to get up before dawn every day to answer 500 emails? There are so many other options open to you: wage slave, failed artist, cowboy plumber, petty thief, local weirdo. The money isn’t good, but the hours are very attractive.




  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events