Mahattan CEO reveals the daily routine she follows working from home – Business Insider

Bess Freedman is the CEO of Brown Harris Stevens, a real-estate brokerage in New York City.

Because of the spread of the coronavirus, Freedman began working from her three-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side on March 21. She lives in the unit with her 14-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter. 

Freedman told Business Insider that she stays focused and motivated by following a daily routine — one that mimics what she’d do on a normal day and promotes self-care.

As CEO, Freedman said that while she’s confined to her home, she still has to be a leader. She knew from the get-go that in order to be the most productive, she had to separate her work life from her personal life. 

“I created this routine where I get up every day and I do these rituals,” she said. “It’s kept me positive. It’s kept me focused. You have to do it if you’re going to be able to survive this successfully.”

Keep reading for detailed breakdown of what Freedman’s workday at home looks like.

6:30 a.m.



Meditate for 10 mins so I can center myself for what lies ahead.

Listen to an uplifting podcast. I love Oprah’s “SuperSoul” and Sam Harris’ “Making Sense.” These get my mind going and offer a sense of calm and inspiration. If I need to laugh, I listen to Howard Stern.

Then I read the newspapers, NYT, WSJ, and daily business updates online.

8 a.m. 

At 8 a.m. every morning, I have a conference call with the entire Brown Harris Stevens executive staff for a daily check-in. It sets a good tone for the day.

9 a.m.

By 9 a.m., I am reading emails and returning phone calls.

11:45 a.m.

At 11:45 a.m., we have companywide conference calls or webinars, depending on the day. It’s important to keep everyone connected and informed. We talk about everything from state of the market and how to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic to social-media best practices and health and wellness tips. We also send updates to our agents on our new digital playbook and “virtual tour” guides so agents can keep their businesses afloat even in these challenging times.

After that, it’s a quick break for lunch, then back to calls with agents, Hall Willkie (the company president) and the other executives from our offices in Palm Beach, Miami, and the Hamptons.

I make it a priority to take an hour break to exercise. This includes the seven-minute app and jumping rope. I encourage all of my agents and staff to take time out to exercise, whether it’s a walk or yoga or something a little more intense. It’s a great way to beat cabin fever and keep your endorphins up — and we all need that during this time.

6 p.m.

I have teenagers home right now, so we try to vary activities. The other day, we baked cookies and played a board game. At night, we take turns and each pick a movie. 

My daughter, who is 17 and going to Berkeley next year for singing, serenades me, which always makes my heart happy. 

I have a group chat with my mahjong group, and we send each other funny videos and uplifting information. We are even participating in a Zoom conference.

I go to bed after my calls are done (including checking in with my mother and brother) and try to get as much rest as possible, which is important to stay healthy and focused. The next day begins again at 6:30 a.m.

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