How Top CEOs Plan for Productive Days

Top executives and CEOs lead super-busy lives that don't leave much time for family, friends and general fun. However, some still manage to plan their days to be as productive as possible, while still maintaining some semblance of balance.

Tim Armstrong, the CEO of AOL, begins his day at around 5 a.m. and spends the early morning hours working out, reading and using his company's products. At 7 a.m., he begins checking his emails. Rising at such an early hour is easy for Armstrong, who says life is "too exciting" to sleep long hours. Plus, getting an early start to the day leaves more time for family in the evening.

When on business trips, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money, works longer hours. But when she's not travelling, she makes sure to be home by 7 p.m. While she is out of town, her work hours extend to 10 p.m. Gadhia says this is a way of "not letting things encroach on normal life too much."

Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment, makes sure to make it home for a set dinner time. With a big family (of nine kids!), she makes sure to leave the office at 6 p.m. to make sure she is home for her family's 7:30 p.m. dinner. Later in the evening, she puts in another two hours of work.

The one aspect of work that can put a bit of a damper on CEOs' productive days are the hundreds of emails (up to 500) they receive every day. Armstrong uses time in the morning, during his commute, and at night to check and answer messages so it doesn't take over his day. However, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao prefers to check emails throughout the day, saying "people need to progress with decisions and logistics."

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