• Harry Overly is the president and CEO of Sun-Maid based in Fresno, California.
  • Each morning he catches up on agriculture news and meets with staff about timely supply or labor challenges.
  • This is what his workday morning routine is like, as told to writer Robin Madell. 

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Harry Overly, who is president and CEO of Sun-Maid. It has been edited for length and clarity.

My typical 'scheduled' workday begins around 7:30 a.m. But we have international teams and other domestic-based teams working in various time zones, so some days I log on as early as 6 a.m. to coordinate with them.

I have a hybrid schedule and work in the office at least 3 days a week

Currently, Sun-Maid has a flexible office schedule that calls for three days in office and two flex days where employees can work from their preferred location. I also occasionally work onsite at our manufacturing locations. 

COVID-19 has brought work-life balance to the forefront at Sun-Maid — the entire team has a new level of appreciation for everyone's time outside of the office and schedules meetings accordingly. The majority of my meetings are virtual now, which allows me to make more time for family needs than in pre-pandemic times.

We've even issued guidance to avoid meetings on Friday afternoons to allow our teammates to catch up and prepare for the following week. 

For me, specifically when working from home, I can use the extra time and flexibility to take my 3-year-old son on a morning jog. Sometimes for a change of environment, I'll work in-office in the morning, leave for dinner and work out, put the kids to bed, and then use my home office for the last few hours of work.

I like to spend time each night reviewing information for meetings the next day to ensure I'm properly prepared and have more uninterrupted time in the morning.

I spend 30 minutes prepping for the workday by checking my email and reading the news

With so many meetings, the first thing I do each day is review my calendar for changes that may have happened overnight. From there, I jump right into my inbox and review my emails and respond to those that are timely and high priority. 

I spend another 15 minutes or so catching up on market news and any other top news stories — I follow business and world events with The Wall Street Journal and Apple News, and follow daily industry-related updates from Consumer Brands Association, FMI - the Food Industry Association, and Ad Age

I stay on top of anything commodity-related, agriculturally focused, congressional activity, pertinent industry dynamics on M&A, new product performance, and strategy. It's important to understand any event or trend that may have an impact on our business.

I connect with my senior staff to discuss high-priority items that need immediate attention

Since my days tend to be meeting-heavy, I make it a point to pre-schedule blocks on my calendar to allow time to complete different projects.

I address all urgent matters as soon as possible each morning, whether it's something that relates to the health and wellness of any of our employees or a rapidly approaching deadline on a major initiative.

Given the current state of the US supply chain woes, I've had to initiate more and more regular operations and supply chain meetings where we focus on everything from labor challenges within the manufacturing facilities to inbound and outbound material issues. 

As our specific market (specialty fruit and baby food) experiences a variety of disruptions, I check with my sales leaders almost daily across all of our channels, including retail and industrial sectors.

In terms of a to-do list, I'm a bit old school in that I very much prefer the feel of pen and paper

However, with the amount of information I need to cover and have readily available, that method isn't the most sustainable, so I generally create weekly task lists using the typical Microsoft Office tools — Outlook's calendar and reminders are great for keeping me on track. Additionally, since my go-to has always been pen and paper, I've started to transition to the GoodNotes app — it's perfect for syncing across my devices. 

Read the original article on Business Insider