Why this female CEO who traditionally dislikes routines wakes up at 5am (almost) everyday.

Disclosure: I am a 5am person. I do think it is for me! If you think 5am is crazy, it get you… but I’ll say I was the last person you’d think would ever be a 5am waker upper. Interested? READ.

I learned a hard lesson — if you want to be a boss, you have to have a routine. If you’re your own boss, if you manage people for someone else, if you have a few employees or even if you’re like me and have twenty employees who rely on you to feed their families— there are a lot of people counting on you which means YOU and the stability of YOUR life really matters. Your health. Your home life. Your body. Your attitude. Your love. Your brain. Your heart. IT ALL MATTERS.

Me in my element: Acting Chair for the City of Buffalo Zoning Board of Appeals

I’m a millennial. Routine? No way! I bragged about my lack of routine. I bragged about the pop, gummy worms and pizza I ate every day. I took for granted my positive attitude. Until my business advisors could see my mental capacity draining and my ability to handle stress diminishing and told me I have to work on myself to become a stronger leader.

After a lot of research, I kept coming back to the idea of the 5am wake up challenge. It is easy! Wake up at 5am. Work on being productive. Be a bad ass. YEAH! You got this, B!!

UGHHHHHHGGHHHHHHHH.

5am? No fucking way. I love sleep. But I also desperately needed alone time to get some proactive work done… and I can’t get that done at the office.

Many articles on medium recommended an early rise to get time to do more proactive work so, I committed to try 5am long enough to try to make a habit. 21 days makes a habit, right? I mapped out the weeks on a wall calendar in my home office. I promised myself if I made it for one week, I would pay off a student loan and if I made it the full 21 days… I would buy myself a vinyl record subscription for the year. I even told my instagram followers just so they would see me fail which helped me commit.

HERE IS THE DEAL — I DID IT! I committed. I worked. I conquered.

After a few weeks, I realized it wasn’t so bad. The second week was horrible but after that, 5am didn’t seem so impossible.

Here is what happened.

  • My staff soon told me they loved emails from me in the AM — it gave them direction, purpose and hustle. WIN!

So now, I am a 5am waker upper.

Here are some pieces of advice to trying this 5am Routine!

WAKE UP! Get the MATHE Alarm. It makes you answer math questions to shut the alarm off. Some mornings it is evil…but you will be awake! Also, there is a “don’t wake my spouse button” which pauses the loud alarm for a few seconds which helps as you’re trying to solve a math problem and still half dreaming.

Get a morning routine: Here is mine: Wake up at 5am. Drink a glass of water. Tablespoon of local honey (to stop allergies). Make coffee. WORK FOR 1.5 HOURS. Get dressed. Go to the office!

Coffee Tip: I carry a thermos and a water bottle with me all day. Staying hydrated is super important. In the morning I make 5 cups of coffee in a french press — I put in 4 scoops of coffee and 1 scoop of Cafe Bustelo. Wait two min to steep. The coffee combo makes a highly caffeinated brew that keeps me going all day. Also, make sure you have a thermos you love. Mine is amazing — matte black, a lid that stays attached so I don’t lose it and holds heat for 12 hours.

One for coffee… one for water. They’re with me all day, every day.

Looking fly… on the fly: Looking like a baller CEO shouldn’t take a ton of work. I have a minimal capsule wardrobe, I set all my outfits out on Sunday and keep my make up routine pretty simple. My hair is rarely clean but still cute (thank the good hair gods and dry shampoo!) so getting ready for work takes approx. 15–20 min.

My minimal make up routine: mainly focuses on eyes, eyebrows, cheeks.

Let your people know! Someone has to hold you accountable or else you’ll sleep in. Even I sleep in from time to time! You know it isn’t the right thing to do but when the snows are falling, do you really want to get up at 5am? Hell no. Have friends support you, a significant other… or even just your instagram followers.

Don’t let perfection get in the way of the good. We all slack. Don’t set yourself up for failure! We want to go out on the weekends or work super late and need an extra hour of sleep. I have been slacking a bit the last week thanks to the holiday season and do like to sleep in with my husband on the weekends sometimes. Weekends are for relaxing, anyhow… right? It’s fine, all you have to remind yourself is that Monday is a new day and a new week.

Being A Badass CEO Lesson of 2018: Routines are difficult but necessary.

Real Estate developer. Lady builder. Tiny titan. Job creator. Buffalo, NY. Done with love, always.