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5 Female CEOs Spend The First Hour Of Their Day Doing This

The start of your day has so much impact on how the rest of your day will flow.

Workin' Girl

January 11, 2019 was my last day working at a 9-5.

As I walked out of my dusty old office and said 'bye Felicia' to that boss that I couldn't stand, I just knew that I would be entering into my ultimate girlboss life as a full-time CEO. But then, the unexpected happened.

During the first few months as a full-time entrepreneur, I was a hot mess. My days were all mixed up, I either was working too much or too little, and honestly, I just didn't have a lot of direction in the way I tackled my day.

Because of this, I found myself in those first few months lacking focus, feeling unsure of myself, and struggling more than necessary. During this time, I knew that one of the most important things that I needed to do was learn how to effectively start my day. The start of your day has so much influence and impact on how the rest of your day will flow, so I knew it was critical for me to get that in order so that everything else could fall in place. It wasn't until the end of the spring that I finally got a grip on my new life as a full-time entrepreneur, but once I did, life as an entrepreneur became more fruitful and my business began to blossom.

Fast-forward to today, I'm one year in as a full-time entrepreneur and I'm still learning. Even though I have a pretty great system now, I've been wanting to pick the brain of some of my favorite boss women on how they spend the first hour of their day.

Here's what these leading ladies shared with me:

Kezia Williams

Courtesy of Kezia Williams

CEO of Black upStart

"I can be the wealthiest Black woman in the world, empowered to own any asset at my fingertips. But if I do not have time, my wealth is worthless. I cannot buy one minute of time. I cannot bargain another to own theirs. I cannot trade my minute for the next man's. My minutes are mine alone and every day I wake up, my cup is replenished with 1,440 marvelous, irreplaceable minutes of opportunity. I start my day at 5am because frankly - like Wiz said - it's some real boss shit.

"I can be the wealthiest Black woman in the world, empowered to own any asset at my fingertips. But if I do not have time, my wealth is worthless."

"I invest my minutes in appreciating intangible commodities: prayer, to-do lists, personal notes, #ProfessorKez videos because my first energy is always my best, cardio and finally CNN. My early morning initial investments - I try to multiply during the day - spirituality, organization, responsiveness, values, energy and information. And when late evening comes - and my body acknowledges I can't pour from an empty cup, I take care of me. Rest and repeat."

Isa Watson

Courtesy of Isa Watson

Founder & CEO of Squad

"My early mornings are dedicated to getting my mind and body right for the day. I wake up by 5:30am each day and the first thing I do is look out of my NYC window that overlooks the Hudson River and say the following sentence aloud: 'Today I feel grateful for [insert gratitude].' I do a short 5-10-minute meditation, followed by an 8-minute Tae Bo routine and a 10-12-minute conditioning workout that my younger brother makes for me each week. A shorter, but effective, workout like this in the morning is most conducive to my productivity throughout the day.

"Moving out of my morning self-care practice, I then get dressed, catch up on emails and prepare my lunch. Making and bringing my lunch to work has helped me get a bit healthier and save a ton of money."

Alicia Scott

Courtesy of Alicia Scott

Founder/CEO of Range Beauty

"The first hour of my day is crucial to set my intention for that day. I always begin with prayer, my daily devotional, and meditation for the first 30 minutes. Next, with breakfast, I review my weekly to-do board which is a whiteboard that has the days of the week listed and each day is divided by Morning, Afternoon, and Evening (great Target find!). I set this up every Sunday for the week ahead and then adjust the night prior or throughout the day. This helps me block out when to begin and end tasks and I use it with my weekly planner to stay focused. After this, I typically check emails and respond to any urgent requests."

LaKeasha Brown

Courtesy of LaKeasha Brown

Chief Juicing Officer at 1987 Juices

"I wake up everyday before 7am, I spend time with nature, God, and my priorities for the day. No emails, phone calls or social media. Before I put my feet to the ground, I meditate. In bed, eyes closed but mouth open and upward. 'Thank you God for waking me up this morning. Thank you God for every breath in my body. Thank you God for my peace of mind. Thank you God for an amazing day today, and thank you God for everyone one who experiences you through me today. Give me strength, give me courage, give me wisdom. Amen!' This sets the tone for the entire day.

"I then map out the entire day in the bathroom by order of importance and time. I write out my top 3-5 major tasks/goals for the day and set alarms to them in my phone. Setting an alarm to each goal reminds me to complete it but the time in between each alarm ensures that it's actually completed before moving on to the next. I'm extremely intentional about completing tasks, it's a form of self-care for me to finish what I'm setting out to do. I rarely plan more than 5 major goals a day, this helps me stay on track and makes sure I don't leave items for tomorrow to handle.

"From there, I drink my first cup of warm water, I make my green juice for the day (a Green Mile from 1987 Juices) and have my second cup of water before making breakfast. It's important to start the day off feeding your body with energy. This has done wonders for my digestive tract, mood and keeps my energy up daily.

"Next, I check my bank account. When it comes to money. I plan the big picture and break everything down into daily deposits. For instance, If I want to save $5k for at the end of the month, it starts with daily deposits of $167 daily. Checking my account each morning keeps me mindful about my flow of income and spending. Lastly, I step outside and smile at the sun. I spend a lot of time indoors. Whether it's pressing in the kitchen or at our Grab & Go location. The sun and the air are like charging stations in the morning. I plug in and go."

Yve-Car Momperousse

Courtesy of Yve-Car Momperousse

Founder of Kreyol Essence

"I wake up between 3am-5am, depending on what my intentions are for that day. In the first hour, I try to focus on some aspect of self-care to center myself. I often listen to one of my favorite podcasts such as Jay Shetty's On Purpose Radio, Oprah's Super Soul Sunday, Red Table Talk with Jada, or TD Jakes.

"I try to work out three times a week so when my body needs physicality, I either do CrossFit or go for a good run. For those mornings when I need to be reflective, I turn to journaling, meditation, and prayer. I know this is quite a mix of activity but when I direct my morning, I own the day versus it owning me."

"When I direct my morning, I own the day versus it owning me."

Featured image courtesy of Isa Watson

Originally published on February 17, 2020

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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