Editor's note: Inc. asked eight entrepreneurs at the top of their game to track for one day (Tuesday, November 29, 2016) how they spent every single hour. Productivity expert and author Laura Vanderkam then weighed in on what they're doing right, what they may be doing wrong, and how you can apply their productivity skills to your life.
Seven years after the launch of Warby Parker, "the Netflix of eyewear," Neil Blumenthal and his co-founders are no longer fulfilling orders in a cramped apartment. Today, they're running 49 retail locations across the U.S. and Canada and have built an iconic brand. That's allowed Blumenthal, 36, more time to work on the company's long-term vision and his role as father and husband.
12:00-6:30 a.m. Sleep.
6:30-6:45 a.m. I use this early-morning time to think of ideas and avoid looking at my phone. But often I can't help looking at my phone. It might be an addiction.
Laura says: No-phone zone.
Yep, the phone is an addiction. If you find yourself looking at your phone first thing in the morning, leave it outside the bedroom and get an old-fashioned alarm clock. You can plug it in across the room, and that way you'll have to get out of bed to turn it off--which cuts down on the snoozing.
6:45 a.m. I look at my phone (inevitably). Then I go through a few email news digests, like the Ozy Presidential Daily Brief, to satiate my current-events quota. Then I lie in bed a little more. My wife, Rachel, is usually still sleeping. My six-year-old son, Griffin, crawls into the bed and falls back asleep. I lie there and jot down ideas or items on my phone on Evernote, where I keep my daily to-do list.
7:00 a.m. I get up, grab Griffin's clothing, get him dressed, and pull together his breakfast, usually a hard-boiled egg and a yogurt. It's one of the few times in the day I can influence what he eats, so I take advantage of it. I also get our 1½-year-old daughter, Gemma, fed.
8:00 a.m. We sprint out the door and catch a cab to school at 8:15. When I'm with Griffin in the car, my phone is off. It's the best conversation I have all day. Griffin is wide awake and fully engaged. We talk through the day ahead and compare our schedules.
9:00 a.m. After dropping Griffin off, I walk the mile from his school to my office and arrive by 8:45. For the first half of the walk, I ignore my phone, zone out, look at the cityscape, and think. Walking in the morning improves my whole day. I think more clearly, my points of view are sharper, and I'm more decisive.
At the end of the walk, I review my schedule and make sure I'm prepared for all of my meetings. I try not to schedule meetings until 9:30. That lets me do additional prep for the day ahead. I also walk around the office and check in with folks, say hello, gauge the mood, and try to start the day off right.
10:00 a.m. I eat breakfast around 10--an açaí bowl from Juice Generation. Açaí bowls are healthy and tasty, but it looks like I'm eating chocolate pudding for breakfast. I've gotten into a weird habit of not eating until 10. I want to go at least 11 hours without food. I sat next to Hugh Jackman at a conference, and he told me he fasted 12 to 14 hours when he was training for the Wolverine movies. I've deluded myself into thinking I can effortlessly achieve the same body type as Hugh Jackman if I keep up this eating schedule.
Laura says: Your most vital meeting.
Car time with the kids can totally be quality time. Try asking what they're excited about for the day, or try describing what you'll be doing while you're away from them. It's a way to catch up on one another's worlds. Also, I don't think it's the fasting alone that makes Hugh Jackman look like that.
11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Back-to-back meetings. To avoid the dreaded "endless-wasteful-meetings" syndrome, we follow meeting guidelines stringently. We send an agenda with goals and prep reading at least 24 hours in advance. Prep materials are sent via Google Docs so I can post comments and get most of my questions answered ahead of time.
Laura says: Why am I here?
Some good questions to ask about any meeting: Does it have to happen? Could it take less time? Could fewer people go? Could someone else go for me?
6:30-8:00 p.m. Around 6:30, I race home to see Griffin and Gemma before she goes to bed. I put Griffin to bed after reading him a few chapters in the latest Jack Stalwart book, which is about a 9-year-old spy. I'll kick back with him until he falls asleep ... and maybe check a few emails. Last night, I fell asleep on Griffin's bed while emailing and dropped my phone, resulting in a loud noise that woke us both up. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.
8:00 p.m. By now, the kids are fully asleep. Rachel and I catch up on our days and go out for a work-related dinner. A nanny comes to make sure everything is safe and sound with the kids.
10:00 p.m. After dinner, we turn on the TV, and watch the latest episode of Ray Donovan. For the first 15 minutes of it, I'll look at my schedule for the next day and prep. Then I turn off my computer and try to zone out.
11:00 p.m. My goal is to get in bed by 11. That rarely happens. But I celebrate when it does happen.