Welcome to the 6am CFO, where CFOs talk about how they start their days and engage in the tasks ahead of them. In this series, CFOs share when they start their morning, start their workday, and of course, their caffeine of choice. They also share best practices on how they structure their mornings for maximum productivity and leadership lessons. (We also ask for their favorite numbers because, why not?) If you want to be featured in a future article, please email us here.
Today, Vacasa Vacation Rentals CFO Jamie Cohen shares her rigorous morning activities, her love of puns, and how hiring smart people makes her a better leader. And if you want to learn more about Cohen’s perspective on leadership, you can listen to his keynote at CFO Live, or our post-event executive note.
Weekday wake up time and first thing I like to do: I wake up at 4:15 a.m. because it’s important for my focus and growth mindset to start each day with movement. I take my dog, Zoey, a 6-year-old French bulldog, outside and then spend about 2 hours training: running on the treadmill and rowing or lifting weights. It may seem like a lot, but I run over 60 miles every week and reserve that time for myself to reset. It’s almost meditative for me, and I think there’s so much value in finding – and committing to – a habit that provides that benefit, whether it’s a physical, spiritual, or creative outlet. .
Time I send my first email: I usually send my first email around 7am, but if any important emails come in overnight, I’ll respond to them before I start my workout.
Start time of working day: 7:45 am
Coffee, tea or other morning drink of your choice? : My go-to is Nuun Immunity Blueberry + Tangerine with sparkling water, but I’ll mix it up depending on the season. In the winter, you’ll find me with a cup of Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice tea.
First dashboard I look at: I start by reviewing our Booking Pace Dashboard to get an overview of overall revenue performance.
How I usually spend the first hour of my day: I’m a big fan of word puzzles, Wordle, Waffle, Jumble, Spelling Bee, Crosswords, you name it. It’s a great way to stimulate the brain before diving into my inbox to catch up on my emails.
I also like to dedicate part of my morning to reading newsletters and business articles, making sure I’m on top of the latest news or macro-trend coverage.
How I structure my morning meetings: I typically schedule my morning block of meetings with one-on-one meetings or, depending on where we are in the quarter, investor meetings, as many of our investors are on the east coast.
Mid-morning snack of your choice: Red grapes, because they’re healthy and easy to grab a handful from the fridge between meetings.
Top tips for writing an effective email:
- Be concise and direct – don’t bury the purpose of the email
- Format with bullets or sentences
- Be clear about what you are requesting and the action requested from the recipient
Most notable items in my workspace: The two most notable elements should be:
- Zoey’s bed and heating pad, which is right next to my desk and where she hangs out all day, often snoring.
- A beautiful large painting titled “Say Something” by Denver artist Deidre Adams, which I also use as my background for video calls.
Favorite quote or mantra: I have two favorites that together have helped guide my personal and professional journey: “Always be curious” and “What made you successful today is not what will make you successful in the future. “.
Something important to know about me that you wouldn’t know from my corporate bio: I’ve confessed my love of puzzles before, so maybe it’s no big surprise, but I discovered wooden puzzles, made by Artifact Puzzles, during COVID and have been hooked ever since.
Favorite number (and why): Five. I don’t have a specific reason, but it’s an important number in math and in the natural world.
Also, I prefer to run in half mile increments – you won’t find me running 8.2 miles, always 8.0 or 8.5.
Favorite leadership lesson: Leaders cannot be intimidated by talent. If you hire people who are better or smarter than you in certain areas, it will make you a stronger leader. Also, always build your case and give the reason or “why” when you ask something from – or something for – your team.
Favorite app on my phone that is not related to the company: While Apple Watch + Strava is probably the app I use most frequently for heart rate and fitness tracking, I’m also an avid reader and love using Goodreads to keep track of my “want to read” books. “.
When do you take time to learn/read? For me, it depends on the type of content. At the start of the working day, I spend time reading business articles and keeping up to date with the newsletters I subscribe to. But, at the end of the day and while I’m working out, I like to read fiction books on my Kindle to clear my mind.