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What time do high achievers get up?


Leah McLennan

What time do you get going? What time should you?

What time do you get going? What time should you?

Early rising is a common habit found in many CEOs, presidents and other influential people. But do you have to run several kilometres, drink a detox juice and check your emails before 6am to be considered a high achiever?

To find out we asked several people who are enjoying career success what they do each morning. Not everyone we spoke to is an early riser - but one trait all these careers guns have in common is they've developed a personal morning routine over the years to ensure their day starts on a positive and productive note.

Dermot O'Gorman: CEO, WWF Australia

Dermot O'Gorman.

Dermot O'Gorman.

What's your morning routine?

I wake up at 6.10am during the week. I like to go swimming three to four times a week for about an hour.

Do you ever press the snooze button?

Ruslan Kogan.

Ruslan Kogan. Photo: Mike Baker

I keep my phone in another room, which forces me to get out of bed to turn it off.

What time are you at your desk?

I normally start work before I get to my desk; I check emails about 8am. As for getting to the office, it could be before 8am or after 9am depending on whether I have a breakfast meeting or somewhere to be.

Kristie Buchanan.

Kristie Buchanan. Photo: Danielle Smith

How often do you check your email?

Too often. But I do have a rule not to check emails during personal time, like evening meals.

Ruslan Kogan: CEO, Kogan

What time do you wake up?

It varies significantly and depends on what time I go to sleep. On average, I sleep about four or five hours a day.

What time are you at your desk?

Always. My desk is very portable. It can take the form of a tablet, an ultrabook, a smartphone or a seat on a plane.

How often do you check your email?

I check emails over 100 times a day. I often check emails in my sleep. Sometimes I even send emails in my sleep and then I have to translate them to my staff in the morning.

How do you feel?

Happy. I love what I'm doing and couldn't imagine doing anything else.

Kristie Buchanan: CEO, RedBalloon

What time do you get up?

On a typical day I wake up between 8am and 8.30am, depending on what time I went to bed the night before - eight hours' sleep is imperative.

What time do you arrive at the office?

Here at RedBalloon we have very flexible work hours, so I start any time between 9am and 9.30am.

How often do you check your email?

The first thing I do after the alarm goes off is check my emails. During the work day, I check my emails at three set times: mid-morning, lunchtime and early afternoon. I delete my email account off my phone when I go on holidays to avoid temptation.

Bryan West: Director, Fortress Learning

What is your morning routine?

I get up at about 5.30am and sit with my wife having two cups of coffee on the front verandah in the pre-dawn for about 45 minutes. The kids slowly emerge and join us.

What time do you start work?

I take the kids to school about 8am. At 8.30am I attempt to meditate for 20 minutes. After that, I spend another 20 minutes reading or otherwise learning about something new. Then I start work.

David Prior: Founder, Five:am Organic Yoghurt

How and when does your morning start?

I start each day with either yoga, meditation or a wee-hours surf, and I never let a healthy, delicious breakfast (yoghurt, naturally) go astray. The Five:am philosophy is that you get a unique view of the world at 5am - a sense of clarity rarely seen throughout the rest of the day.

Dean Ramler: CEO, Milan Direct

What time do you get up?

I start my day early - at the gym by 5.45am. Into the office by 7am, fresh and at my most productive.

Maureen Pound: Melbourne-based business coach

Do you have to get up early to be a high achiever?

I feel very strongly that you don't have to get up early to be successful. I spend the morning with my kids, playing on the couch, having breakfast, getting showered and dressed and then getting them off to school and childcare. I am not in the office until 9.30am.

What time do you go to bed?

I choose to do two to three hours of an evening after the children are in bed and I am a gun during that time.


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