How you wake up in the morning can often set the tone for the rest of your day. And for one HR executive with a built-in alarm clock, that means taking care of business before even setting foot in the office.
Get a glimpse into the personal life of Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder’s chief human resources officer, who dishes on her morning routine and spills secrets on how she keeps herself — and her family — on the go.
Here’s our Q&A with Rosemary.
CB: What time do you wake up? How many times do you snooze your alarm?
RH: I don’t use an alarm! I’ve always detested the sound of an alarm — it’s really jarring to me. I will use one from time to time if I have to get up early… like if there’s a really early flight that I’m afraid I might not wake up for, I’ll set an alarm, but that’s only like twice a month. In general, I just wake up when I need to. I’m not a very good sleeper so I wake up a lot during the night. Everybody in my house will still be sleeping and I don’t want to wake them up, so I do email quietly lying in bed under the covers trying to hide the light from my iPhone until it’s time to get up and go.
CB: Would you consider yourself to be a morning person?
RH: I’m more of a morning person than a night person. I know I’ve got to get up and it’s time to go. My husband sometimes lays there pretending he doesn’t hear my daughter crying, and I’m like, “Who are you trying to fool?”
CB: Briefly describe your daily morning routine.
RH: Usually when I get up, the sun’s not up and everybody is still sleeping. I usually check email for about an hour or so, and sometimes I have early calls with my team in Europe or Asia. Then I have morning duty with my daughter. I get her up and try to get her to put her clothes on. She likes to read books in the morning and ease into the day. So I get her ready and then there’s the mad dash for me to get ready and get out the door.
CB: Are you one of those people who has the phone right by the bed or are you against that?
RH: Some people are like, ‘Oh I don’t want to be disturbed, so I don’t have my phone by me.’ But I have it next to my bed every day — for me, it causes less stress than if I come into the office and don’t know what’s greeting me… and with the time differences! My role is global, so if I wait three hours until I get in to work to check my email, sometimes I’ll lose the ability to respond that day to somebody.
CB: What do you typically eat for breakfast? Do you skip it or is it sit-down or do you just fly out with breakfast in your hand?
RH: I’m not a good breakfast person. I’m go-go-go and I forget breakfast. This spring I tried to change that and I noticed a difference. Over the last three weeks, I’ve gotten back to old habits and haven’t had anything for breakfast — the difference is so noticeable. When I usually have breakfast, it’s smoothies or yogurt.
CB: What is one thing you’d turn around and go back to your house to get once you realize you forgot it?
RH: Definitely my phone. Anything else is replaceable — I’ll be fine or I can buy it. If I was headed for a flight but and forgot my toothbrush, I can always buy one.”
CB: How do you get your news in the morning? Newspaper? Local news? Morning shows? Twitter? Other?
I have definitely moved away from the newspaper. I do feel like in the morning and even throughout the day, it’s about getting information in bursts — and the digital culture makes it easier to do that. It’s little bursts: apps, blogs, the TV monitor in the elevator, etc.
When I watch the news, it’s usually BBC World. I like more world news versus local news because it has a broader perspective. And have you heard of Sonos? It’s a streaming service and when you get the speakers, you can get access to 200,000 radio stations from around the world. It’s so easy to [consume news that way] in this day and age.
CB: What’s on your playlist in the a.m.?
RH: ‘Wheels on the Bus!’ It’s so embarrassing! People are like, “Did you listen to this or download that?” And I’m like, I have four versions of ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.’ My daughter loves music, so she’s belting it out. She wants to do duets. My sister is a music professor and she said it’s good to expose her to all kinds of music as early as possible, so we always have music on. Also, we’re just lazy at this point. It’s like there are only so many things I can handle, and I would love to know that new song, but [it’s easier to have] Spotify or Pandora serve it up to me and she’ll listen to that.
CB: Are you a coffee or tea person?
RH: Coffee! I like tea, too, but I like coffee better in the morning. I actually gave up coffee for a while and I just missed it. I was OK for a while, but then I was like ‘I give up, I can’t, I just like it too much and I have headaches.’ I definitely love my coffee.
CB: Do you have any tips for others to kick-start their morning?
RH: I feel like you’re born [a morning person] or you’re not. Somebody once told me about an alarm clock that you put under your pillow that doesn’t just make a sound — it vibrates and the whole bed starts to shake. I’ve also heard of adjusting the temperature a certain way… but at the end of the day, you just have to do it. You just have to keep at it for about a month or so to try to get into a routine.
This is the second in a series of blog posts featuring CareerBuilder executives discussing everyday topics to help you live a better life both at and outside of work. Topics range from work-life balance tips to productivity hacks. You can read the first post here.