21 CEOs Share Their Morning Routines for 2021

The pandemic has changed the way all of us live our lives. Here, a selection of executives profiled in our Business Leaders Weigh In section share their COVID-era morning routines.

Wolfgang Puck, Chef and Restauranteur, Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group

I haven’t changed much. I start the day with an espresso, which is always important. Then, I read the newspapers and have breakfast. I’ve taught my son Oliver to cook sunny-side-up eggs with cracked pepper and vinegar. Then, I go to the office. I still check in every day at Hotel Bel-Air, Spago, and Chinois on Main, mainly to encourage my staff and let them know it will get better. 

Wolfgang Puck cooking at Spago in Beverly Hills.

Elyse Walker, Founder and CEO, elysewalker and towne by elysewalker

My husband, David, and I are staying in our Napa home and every morning we walk with our dogs. David has been helping us with our leases and communication with the banks. He has always been so supportive of my business. I’ve also been spending a lot of time cooking, enjoying Zoom cosmopolitan cocktail parties with friends, and checking in with many of my peers and leaders in this industry.

Pete Girgis, Co-founder and President, Qui Tequila

I normally start my day with a bulletproof coffee followed by jumping rope and hitting a heavy bag. Fifteen minutes of meditation also helps clear my mind and set my priorities for the day.

Qui Tequila.

Adrian Cheng, CEO, New World Development Company

When working from home, I usually start my day by reading the news in the morning. After breakfast I hold Zoom meetings with my senior management teams to get important updates on different projects and make sure that everything is on the right track despite the social distancing. I always try to make time for some exercise in between meetings too to keep myself rejuvenated, upbeat, and energetic.

Jules Trump, Co-Chairman, The Trump Group 

I am early riser—up at 5 a.m. We have a lot of construction calls. I speak with my teams from Florida, New York, California, and Israel. I spend most of my day on Zoom. I think everyone has become a Zoom expert.

Scott Hunter, FAIA, LEED AP, Principal and America West Regional Director, HKS Architects Inc.

I am up early—before everyone else in the house, so my day starts with breakfast and tea and a short journey outside to the home office I’ve set up in the garage. That little walk outside helps me prep for the day and gets me in the zone. The days are longer than ever to accommodate increased connectivity across our global firm, but without the change of scenery that heading into the office provides.

Rooftop views from the West Hollywood Edition Hotel, which HKS designed in association with Ian Schrager and John Pawson.

Mark Durliat, CEO, Grace Bay Resorts

For more than 20 years I would rise around 6 a.m. Now I rise around 4 or 5 a.m. without an alarm. Sleep seems to be a luxury these days and doesn’t come easy. Once awake, I swim in the legendary oceans of the Turks & Caicos, plus some pushups and exercise on the beach—something I have done for 20 years. Now instead of the office, it’s the makeshift home office on a table that I borrowed from our restaurant. It sits at the end of a bed in our guest room and looks awful. Papers all over the place—my wife hates it!

Frederic Vidal, Regional Vice President, Managing Director at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort

I’m not really a morning person—I prefer my workouts at night. I typically start my day with work calls, which can be especially early when speaking with Hong Kong. I engage with my staff and managers over FaceTime or Zoom. If this had happened 15 years ago, it would have been much more challenging. 

The vertical garden at the entrance to the 28,000-square-foot Ty Warner Mansion at Las Ventanas.

Natalie Bloomingdale, Founder, The SIL

I’m a night owl, so my morning routine is nonexistent! 

Justin Wang, CEO and Founder, Larq

I’m starting my day by walking my dog, drinking tea (I’ve cut out coffee), and meditating. I find having a consistent morning routine is more important than ever for mental health and clarity to start out my day. The reduction in commute has allowed me to find a bit more time for reflection before starting out the day.

The Larq Bottle is the first portable water disinfection system, using proprietary UV-C LED technology to kill up to 99.99% of bacteria and viruses.

Steven Ehrlich, Founding Partner, Ehrlich Yanai Rhee and Chaney Architects

I love not having to rush to the office. I have time to read the paper at breakfast, exercise with my trainer on Zoom, then head upstairs to my home office in my sweats.

Elisabeth Holder Raberin, Co-Owner and President North America, Ladurée

I’m enjoying my new 30-foot commute and use my extra time for yoga or Pilates. After, I share my time between homeschool and calls with Paris in the morning and with the U.S. in the afternoon.

Edward Mady, Regional Director, USA, Dorchester Collection

I start the day by working out as it’s more important than ever to focus on my personal health and well-being. I then head into the office as the hotels are still operating and it gives me a bit of normalcy. My day to day is very different as our meetings are now virtual, and I don’t have the opportunity to interact with the team as much. But we are staying in touch with weekly Zoom meetings and letters, and I personally call every team member to check in and see how they are doing. I also call all the hotel guests to check in with them and see how they are doing. 

Dorchester Collection Regional Director (USA) Edward Mady.

Lindsay Cook, CEO and Founder, FitOn

I fit in a FitOn workout first thing in the morning before my kids get out of bed. It is what I call “me time” and I feel dramatically better the days when I get the chance to workout. Taking care of yourself is so important to helping you take care of the others you love.

Parisa Fowles-Pazdro, CEO and Founder, Max-Bone

Sticking to my routine is helping me to manage my time more effectively, so I make a to-do list every morning of important things I need to accomplish that day. It’s also important to me to continue exercising and eating healthy foods. I’m following some online workout classes, and walking my dog, Macintosh, also helps me to stay active.

Max-Bone features a range of chic pet accessories, clothing, and home items.

Joy Jibrilu, Director General, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation

Work traditionally begins at 9 a.m., and inevitably I have a conference call either with my team or external partners at 10 a.m. The advantage is that I can go outside and sit on a verandah to take some of my morning calls and enjoy a cup of coffee while observing the return of the wildlife to my neighborhood. This has been wonderful and has given me a new appreciation for nature.

Graeme Davis, President, Baha Mar 

I still go into the office to maintain close relationships with my essential team of over 300 associates working to uphold the entire Baha Mar resort destination. I’m waking up earlier these days to get in an hour of tennis five days a week. It’s important to me to always prioritize mental and physical health and well-being.

Andrew Cogan, CEO, Knoll

Historically, I’ve spent about half my time traveling and being with clients and our teams around the world, so this is the longest I’ve been in one place in decades. Now I have the chance to start each day with my wife taking our Newfies for a five-mile walk while listening to the latest Morning Joe.

Jordan Nathan, Founder and CEO, Caraway Home

I’ve been doing my best to keep my schedule relatively the same. The only difference is I am working from my apartment. I find that I get a lot more work done at home but need to go for a walk or exercise midday, otherwise I burn out easily. It’s been fun to be working from home with my fiancé as well, as we help each other with work, and I get to learn more about her day-to-day job.

Caraway offers cookware in four sizes and a range of colors, all of which are nontoxic.

Larry Korman, President, AKA Hotel Residences

I am in constant communication with my team at large to thoroughly review each AKA property. I schedule regular Zoom calls with leadership and each location’s respective team—we have one property in London and two in L.A., so I am cognizant of their schedules and the time difference. We are taking this time to plan for the future of the AKA brand.

Josh Wyatt, CEO, NeueHouse 

I have actually always been at peace being quiet and introverted, despite being in a job that requires me to be extroverted. Being at home is joyful as I get to walk my dog, Montauk, every morning, which allows me to think and slowly approach the key issues of the day. This newfound solitude is a habit I hope to keep once work from office time resumes.


Read more business leaders weighing in on life during COVID