Advice

5 Evening Routines of Successful Philly Business Leaders

We’ve all worked to perfect our mornings, but what about the night before? Here’s how Philly business leaders wind down and set themselves up for the next day. 

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We’ve talked about the importance of maintaining a morning routine, but what about putting in some preparation the night before? Setting yourself up for the morning, is just as important as what you actually do in the morning. Some of the world’s most successful people have been known to stand by hard rules and habits for their evenings, like reading for one hour or no technology before bed. Here is what five Philly business leaders do at night to stay on top of their game.

Jon Gosier • venture capitalist and founder, Southbox

“I have horrible sleep patterns, but it makes me highly productive.”

I have horrible sleep patterns but it makes me highly productive. I usually head to bed around 11 p.m. or 12 a.m., sleep for three hours, then wake up. At that point, I start thinking about everything I didn’t get done during the day so I start working until around 7 a.m. Then I’ll take a one or two hour nap and get up again at 9 a.m.

What I like about that window between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. is how quiet it is. There’s no one calling or anyone up to bother me. Those are my most productive hours.

I started sleeping like this back in high school. Originally, it was because late at night I could play whatever music I wanted and watch late night movies. Then I’d go back to bed before my mom got up and pretend like nothing happened. It just sort of stuck.

There hasn’t been many changes to the routine. On some rare occasions I’ll go to bed around 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. and wake up at 12 a.m., so it means I get two night shifts in instead of one!


Susan Lynch • chief financial officer, Sungard AS

“It seems like I have had this routine forever, but it helps me make sure that I’m always operating at my best.”

I don’t eat after 8 p.m., but I do watch a little TV to get myself to wind down and relax. Sometimes I work at night, especially before a board meeting or an investor call. However, I generally try to set a good example by spending time with my family so that my team knows that can they spend time with theirs.

I make sure my three Jack Russell terriers go outside right before bedtime so they don’t wake me up in the middle of the night. I tell my kids that I love them, wash my face, brush my teeth, etc. I’ll check my email and my calendar one last time before I turn out the lights to make sure I know what tomorrow has in store. I also set an alarm for 6 a.m. and a second alarm five minutes later. I say a prayer and thank God for everything he has done for me and my family and I ask him to continue to guide and direct me, watch over my family, friends and coworkers. I give my husband a kiss goodnight, and then it is lights out, and I’m in bed by 10 p.m..

It seems like I have had this routine forever, but it helps me make sure that I’m always operating at my best. I also have a motto that if I’m tired and need to sleep, I will. On the other hand, though, I’ve woken up at 3 a.m., gotten out of bed and worked, cleaned the house, read or did something else.

There has been one adjustment to my routine. I noticed that by working late, my colleagues were often working late as well. It was an inadvertent consequence, so I decided a change was needed. Unless something important or time sensitive needed my attention, I would set the example for my coworkers (and my kids too), that spending time with family at the end of the day is more important than getting in an extra bit of office work.


Jeff Zinser • founder of Right Recruiting LLC

“I am a firm believer in the sanctity of the single post-work day Martini.”

I have an after-work routine that starts at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.. I am a firm believer in the sanctity of the single post-work day Martini. I either meet my wife Karyn at home, or I stop at my favorite bar, Phil’s Tavern, near my office, where my nickname became “One Martini Jeff.” It’s a 30-minute pause in life – no business or politics allowed. That leads to dinner, usually at home, followed by some emails and project research on my laptop while Karyn watches any TV show in which everyone has a British accent.

I usually prepare for bed by 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. by walking the dog. When he was younger, he walked me. An hour reading in bed leads to lights out by 10 p.m.

Sadly, this needs to be modified on occasion. West Coast clients and conversations need to be accommodated and the timeline delayed. Early calls the next day with European clients sometimes require it be compressed for a 4 a.m. wake up.


Aldustus (A.J.) Jordan • senior vice president & Northeast Community Relations senior manager at Wells Fargo

“I started these habits out of necessity.”

My typical routine is rushing to get home after an early evening meeting or event in time to spend time and read with my daughters (age 7 and 10) before they go to bed.

I then spend an hour or two responding to emails while catching up on the latest news on CNN and MSNBC. I try and get to bed by 11 p.m. and typically have my computer and iPhone turned on until the time that I fall asleep.

I started these habits out of necessity. My days are usually very busy, and I need extra time in the evening to stay on top of the mountain of emails that accumulate throughout the day. My routine has been pretty consistent over the years.


Francisco Garcia • director of Business Development at City of Philadelphia

“Basketball is one of my favorite things, so that just helps me unwind.”

During basketball season, I’m always watching college or professional basketball at some point in the evening. Otherwise, I try to do a light workout before bed, like pushups and crunches, and I’ll keep a book on the nightstand and read at least ten pages before going to sleep.

Basketball is one of my favorite things, so that just helps me unwind. I find that the quick workout and then going into reading helps me stay fit when I’m not finding the time to go to the gym, and doing some reading is key to ongoing learning and personal growth.

I borrowed that idea from a friend because it’s easy to say we don’t have time to read books anymore, but ten pages per night translates to at least ten books per year. The adrenaline from the workout also keeps me awake while reading in bed.

The time I go to bed varies significantly, but I try to get up at 6 a.m. no matter what so that helps me cut everything off by a certain time to avoid exhaustion.

Waking up at 6 a.m. is a fairly new routine for me. I do it mostly to get a chance to play with my dog in the morning, and to take some time to catch up on the news with coffee before work. That has forced me to refine my nighttime routine by going to bed at a reasonable time. Otherwise, I would be a 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. bedtime person.