- Tom Keiser is the CEO of Hootsuite and lives in San Francisco.
- He starts his day reading industry newsletters before responding to urgent messages and emails.
- Here's how he organizes his morning routine, as told to writer Robin Madell.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Tom Keiser, CEO of Hootsuite, about his workday morning routine. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Each day, I wake up early and read a bunch of news and newsletters.
The sites I regularly check include Platformer by Casey Newton, Stratechery by Ben Thompson, Letters from an American by Heather Cox Richardson, Money Stuff by Matt Levine, DealBook by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Cup of Coffee by Craig Calcaterra, and The Information.
I usually start focusing on work at about 7:15 a.m.
I'm a big list person and I prefer tracking my to-dos on paper
I've used Engineering Notebooks from the Laboratory Notebook Company since the '90s to take notes and put my daily and weekly to-do lists together. I've tried to embrace technology for lists over the years, but having a physical notebook just works better for me.
I mostly work from my home office in San Francisco
When I joined Hootsuite in June 2020 during the pandemic, the entire interview and onboarding process was done on video, so I'd never met my leadership team or colleagues in person.
When restrictions were lifted, I was finally able to travel to our corporate head office in Vancouver, Canada. I was excited to meet everyone and work together in person, so I traveled to our Vancouver office every week throughout the fall months. But in December when Omicron hit, I had to stop traveling again and now work primarily from my home office in California.
As CEO, I spend a lot of time listening and communicating with my team
This means clarifying priorities, removing roadblocks, recruiting talent, motivating people, making decisions and communicating constantly, a bit of strategy, M&A, and fundraising work.
Writing is the first work task I do each morning
My brain is clearest in the morning to be able to think through and grind out whatever messages or emails I'm trying to send. Later in the day I'm in decision, speed, and deal-with-it mode, which makes it hard to slow down and communicate as effectively.
I always address the most urgent communications first
For example, if I'm working on a planning project where our team is expecting my feedback on their presentation, I've usually jotted down notes and thoughts the day prior so I have a basic outline of ideas to work with. This helps me better respond to their specific questions and package my response into an email when my mind is clear.
I believe in a weekly cadence of running the business. I have leadership meetings on Tuesday, weekly touch-bases with all of my direct reports, monthly touch-bases with board members, and then ad-hoc meetings as needed. I don't like surprises, so I try to stay immersed in every aspect of the business as much as possible.
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