8 Women Tech Leaders Reveal Their Monday Morning Rituals

8 Women Tech Leaders Reveal Their Monday Morning Rituals
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa

I want to start this story with an apology. Recently, I profiled several leaders in techwho explained what they do every Monday morning to start their week. The article was a big hit. Yet, without even thinking, I made the mistake of taking comments from several tech companies that happen to have men in the top leadership role. It was dumb. I should have offered a better mix of genders in leadership roles. To balance the scale, here are a few women in top leadership roles who have explained what they do to start their week.

1. Embrace the day full on

"Like most days, I wake up Monday mornings by 5:30 a.m. I start the day by keeping up with current events through Flipboard--usually honing in on news relevant to my industry. I have to admit, I'm sometimes checking email around this time as well. But then I have some quiet reflection time for a solid 20 minutes and with no distractions. There's a rigorous workout, typically a mix of boxing and running, for the remaining hour, and by 7:00 a.m., I'll have breakfast ready for my sons, which is also when I get the rundown on what's going on at their schools. As we head out for the day, I'll take the train into work, while I communicate with our teams across the globe. This is a time to get a pulse on the latest work and market movements, because, depending on where they are in the world, they may be closing out or starting their day as well."--Carey Kolaja, vice president and head of global consumer products at PayPal

2. Plan for success

"My son Cole is big a priority during the weekend, so Monday mornings begin early, at 5 a.m., with a focus on work. I start with a massive download of weekend email and news headlines, reading The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and San Francisco Chronicle first thing, along with industry news aggregators that align with specific clients. It's important for body to follow mind, so I take a break at a nearby gym for a 6 a.m. spin class and am back home by 7 a.m., making sure Cole has breakfast before eating my own breakfast of champions--homemade granola, blueberries, and plain nonfat yogurt. I drop Cole off for the school bus and then dress for the day with an eye towards in-person meetings; urban hipster for tech clients, more conservative for others. I'm in the car by 8 a.m. for (hands-free!) conference calls on the way to the office, doing my best to keep all in-person meetings from 9 a.m. onwards."--Teresa Briggs, west region managing partner at Deloitte

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3. Come prepared

"A successful Monday morning actually starts on Sunday night. I get the house straight, since messy surroundings lead to a messy mind. I review my week: Important meetings. Schedules. Evening obligations. Travel. I think about where things are going to go awry, where I'm going to get exhausted or hit the wall, and I plan for them. I make sure my bag is stocked with the essentials--power bars, charger, ChapStick, sometimes an extra pair of shoes, if I have an evening event where I know my feet will hurt. I pack my gym bag with the next day's clothes and my laptop bag. I have a bottle of water with me at all times."--Gretchen Curtis, co-founder and CMO at Piston Cloud Computing

4. Start your Monday on Sunday

"My Monday starts on Sunday evening, so I can hit the ground running on Monday. Organization is key, since each Monday starts with a 6:30 a.m. meeting with sales that helps me stay grounded around what sales needs and needs to know. I am an outdoor person, and since I can't bring my meetings outside, I bring in fresh flowers every Monday. Finally, I make a list of all my 'big boulder' priorities and the important 'little pebble' priorities that keep the trains running on time."--Janet Matsuda, senior vice president of global marketing at Blue Coat Systems

5. Always walk to work

"8 a.m.: I have always chosen to live close to work so that I can manage my commute free of stress. Because walking is more predictable than driving or taking public transportation, it's easier for me to be punctual and manage my time. With walking, there is no waiting for a car to arrive or for a stalled subway, no unforeseen traffic or sudden delays. I know my walk to the office is exactly 34 minutes from my apartment--the perfect amount of time to call my best friend in New York or my parents, or simply think. A walking commute removes unnecessary stress and helps me start my day in a composed and deliberate way. I am able to enter the office, prepared with a clear head, ready for whatever lies ahead."--Christina LaMontagne, general manager and founder of health at NerdWallet

6. Plan how you will focus

"Preparing for Monday's madness begins Sunday night with a yoga class, a hot bath, and turning in extra early so that I wake up refreshed and energized. After nine sun salutations, 24 minutes of mediation, and a protein shake, I head to the gym. I like to lift heavy weights on Mondays. When I'm trying to deadlift my bodyweight or perform a clean to overhead press, I feel 100 percent focused, driven, and alive. When I get to the office, I reevaluate my priorities with that same presence, strength, and resilience, and start the week with a sense of optimism and accomplishment."--Dara Sklar, senior vice president at MSLGROUP

7. Swim to think

"Monday morning I am recharged and ready to go. Up early, grind the beans, and make a French press of Illy coffee while talking with our dogs and checking my email. Then, I drive to a dawn swim for 45 mins. Swimming outside (all year round in California) and watching the sun come up as I swim makes me see the world as new and full of possibilities. And I do some of my best thinking doing laps. Quick shower, into the office, and I'm pumped to talk with my staff about the challenges of the week."--Penny Herscher, president and CEO at FirstRain

8. Prioritize with intent

"Mondays generally start as a centering exercise. After completing my early morning routine as a mother and family member, I transition to my professional role. Being a morning person, I typically start out with a burst of energy and accomplish what I see as a 'head start' on the workweek. I take the time to ensure my commitments are on-track and contemplate how certain project elements will contribute to the overall corporate objectives. With these areas reviewed, each Monday I draft a new priority list, so that my approach to the week is crafted. Where busy schedules often collide, establishing an element of order is a good way to maintain a sense of direction and progress. An evolving task list helps with the dynamic pace that is characteristic of a medical device startup company, where the days and deliverables can be intense with unexpected learning curves. Through the application of my Monday morning routine, I am able to quickly re-engage."--Tanya Eberle, director of regulatory affairs, Cartiva