Waking Up Early and Success

The saying goes “the early bird catches the worm,” and as it happens, research would suggest that there’s some level of truth in this old adage.

Waking up either before or with the sun permits high-level executives to get a good head start on the day ahead. They knock out task after task well before the rest of the world has even thought about rising from bed.

And those extra hours provide them with some time to do creative thinking, perhaps fit in a workout, and to spend a little bit of time with the family.


CEO at General Motors: Mary Barra

Just as her predecessor was before her, the current chief executive at GM, Mary Barra, is very much an early riser. Regularly, she arrives at the office by 6 a.m., and she’s been doing just that even prior to her appointment as CEO.


CEO at AOL: Tim Armstrong

According to Tim Armstrong’s interview with The Guardian he’s not a big sleeper. He wakes around 5 or 5.15 a.m. and then works out, reads, and tinkers around with AOL’s products, as well as answering e-mails.


CEO at Xerox: Ursula Burns

Burns rises at 5.15 a.m. even though, sometimes, she’ll work until midnight. When she rises, she’ll catch up with her e-mails. Further, she schedules a bi-weekly 6 a.m. workout.


CEO at GE: Jeff Immelt

Immelt rises at 5.30 each morning and does a cardio workout. Simultaneously, he watches CNBC and reads the papers. Apparently, over the past 24-years straight, he’s worked 100-hour weeks.


CEO at PepsiCo: Indra Nooyi

Nooyi rises at 4 a.m. She told Fortune that sleep is a gift from God, a gift that she was never given. She arrives at work every day never later than 7 a.m.


CEO at Fiat Chrysler: Sergio Marchionne

Marchionne is in the habit of waking at 3.30 a.m. to catch up with European markets. According to an executive he works with, Marchionne would travel to Italy when it’s a holiday in the U.S. And when it’s a holiday in Italy, he’ll return to the U.S. to continue with work.


Cofounder of PIMCO: Bill Gross

Now managing portfolios at Janus Capital in Denver, Gross begins his day at 4.30 a.m. to assess the world markets. He’s always in the office before 6.


Founder and chairman of Virgin Group: Richard Branson

Branson usually wakes at 5.45 a.m., irrespective he’s holidaying on his private island. He always leaves the curtains open to allow the sun to wake him. His habit is to exercise prior to breakfast, and then go to work.


CEO at Virgin America: David Cush

Cush wakes at 4.15 a.m. to get on with e-mail correspondence and calls to business associates in the East. Next, he reads the paper while listening to sports radio, then goes to the gym for some cardio.


CEO at Square: Jack Dorsey

Dorsey, who cofounded Twitter, wakes at 5.30 a.m. and meditates prior to going for a six-mile jog.


Founder and CEO of Hint Water: Kara Goldin

Goldin wakes at 5.30 a.m. “on the dot,” and checks over her calendar. She then catches up on any unread e-mails. Next, she sips a double latte and goes for an early morning hike together with her husband and dogs before getting on with work-related calls at 7.15 a.m.


CEO at Apple: Tim Cook

Cook wakes at 3.45 every morning to get on with e-mails for the first hour. He then heads to the gym, then to Starbucks where he deals with more e-mails, and then to work. He says that if you really love what you do then it’s never thought of as work and this is his good fortune.


CEO at Disney: Bob Iger

Iger rises at 4.30 in the morning and reads the papers while exercising, listening to music, watching TV, and checking e-mails – all at once. It’s his “quiet time,” but he’s still intent on multi-tasking.


Chair at Ellevate: Salle Krawcheck

Former Citigroup CFO and current chair of Ellevate, Sallie Krawcheck says that she’s always most productive at 4 a.m., at which time she brews some coffee, keeps the lights on low, and occasionally will light up a fire at home. She also says that at 4 a.m. it’s the best time for her to “have a rush of ideas.”

Perhaps it’s too much to ask of your own employees to begin work at 6 a.m. each morning, but with a tool such as Clockspot on your side, you’ll certainly enjoy a far more productive workforce.

Successful people wake up early