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Anne Wojcicki: Daily Routine

On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, business executives and athletes to explore their routines, habits and rituals.

Anne Wojcicki hasn’t had to set an alarm in years. Not since she worked on Wall Street (which she quit in 2000). These days, the co-founder and CEO of personal genomics and biotechnology company 23andMe gets woken up every morning by her kids, anytime between 6.30-7.30am.

I feel like my morning begins whether I want it to or not. So I mean, I like my coffee, but I think that’s the thing with having small children, is you wake up in the morning and the morning kinda starts whether you want it to or not. And so, by the time we’ve successfully got to school, I’m in full swing.

How Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe CEO and mom, starts her day | Today

From there, her morning routine usually is a scramble of checking her phone for any urgent text messages and emails, scanning the news, getting her kids ready for school and then hopping on her bike to get to work. “Rain or shine, I always bike to work and I always bike home,” Wojcicki told Today. She continued her 5-mile bike commute routine, even when 8-months pregnant, a Forbes profile revealed.

Wojcicki will arrive at 23andMe’s headquarter typically in the late morning or early afternoon. As a fitness fanatic, Wojcicki designed the company’s open-plan office to include treadmill desks, elliptical machines, Peloton bikes, as well as an on-site gym. She’s also known to strongly encourage her team to take the stairs instead of using the elevators.

I have this huge thing at the company, I really push people to take the stairs. When I see people taking the elevator, I’m like, “Why would you take the elevator in front of me? Why would you even humiliate me that way? Take the stairs, what’s wrong?”

Full transcript: Too Embarrassed to Ask asks techies about their morning routines | Recode

While she has her own office, Wojcicki will bounce around from cafes and office kitchens to get her work done.

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“I carry my iPad and laptop with me everywhere. I find that I’m more productive at the café, because at the office I spend a lot of time chatting,” Wojcicki wrote in a profile for Inc. “I think it’s important to have flexibility to work wherever is best for you. I actually encourage people to work at the café–or from home or wherever works best for them.”

She will also spend a lot of her time in meetings with 23andMe’s research team, “About a third of our employees are top-notch scientists: geneticists, biostatisticians, neuroscientists, computational biologists, and medical doctors. I’m usually trying to suck knowledge from them.”

As a way to encourage team bonding and idea generation, 23andMe has catered lunches every day. “We have lunch catered every day. I like company lunches, because I think going out wastes valuable time; plus, a lot of good ideas come up over lunch.”

Wojcicki will typically leave the office at around 4pm, unless she’s working late — in which case she’ll leave at 7pm. After a family dinner at 6pm and putting the kids down to bed, she’ll continue to work until 11pm, “I’m unusual in the capacity that I’m a both morning person and a night person; I like to stay up late and I actually like to wake up early.”

You can’t do it all, and for me part of it is that acceptance that there’s just choices you have to make. And I think it’s also really good for my kids to see that, you know, the family is core. But what you do and your impact on society is really important.

How Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe CEO and mom, starts her day | Today

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Balance The Grind gives me a platform to talk to these people about how they're achieving their ideal lifestyle. I'm inspired by the passion, the work ethic, the hustle; and these conversations motivate me to live life the way I want to live it.