“Email is like a tsunami ev­ery day.”

MEL­LODY HOB­SON PRES­I­DENT, ARIEL IN­VEST­MENTS

Fast Company - - Secrets Of The Most Productive People - —As told to Stephanie Me­hta

Peo­ple over­value money and un­der­value time. I have been will­ing to spend money to make sure I am fully staffed so that I can lever­age my time bet­ter. I have a house as­sis­tant in Chicago [where Ariel is head­quar­tered. Hob­son also has a home in San Fran­cisco, where she lives with her hus­band, Ge­orge Lu­cas, and their daugh­ter]. One of the main [du­ties] is pack­ing and get­ting things to me when I’m in other cities. I [travel with] what I call my util­ity bag—my pa­ja­mas, dopp kit, run­ning shoes, and work­out clothes. My suits are sent

[via] Fedex to me in each city, in a white box, and then I just send them back. When I open that box, I have shoes, suits, all of those things for that city.

I ar­range stand­ing [phone] calls be­cause I travel a lot. For the mar­ket­ing team, I have a stand­ing call at 7:15 Chicago time ev­ery Fri­day morn­ing. When I’m in San Fran­cisco, on Sun­days I do a whole list of calls. My first is with [Ariel chair­man, CEO, and chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer] John Rogers, both of our chiefs of staff, and a cou­ple of as­sis­tants, and we walk through the week that we just had and the week that is com­ing up. I’ve ba­si­cally talked to John Rogers ev­ery day for 28 years, but Sun­day is a very or­ga­nized call, run­ning through things that need fol­low-up. It could be as seem­ingly mi­nor as a thank-you note to some­one su­per sig­nif­i­cant, or [maybe] he’s meet­ing some­one and needs a briefing doc­u­ment. I’m run­ning point and mak­ing sure we get it done. Sun­day morn­ings feel more leisurely—we’re not un­der siege and pres­sure. We can ac­tu­ally think [things] through. Every­one’s in their own en­vi­ron­ment and a lit­tle more re­laxed. Even if we go out to break­fast, I’ll do my call at the res­tau­rant. We go to the same res­tau­rant, so it’s not a big deal. I stand out­side.

Time she gets up Be­tween 4 and 4:30 a.m.

First thing she does in the morn­ing

“Look at my phone. I’m [typ­i­cally] in a gym, work­ing out, by 4:30 a.m.”

Lunch rou­tine

“If I’m in Chicago and don’t have a lunch, I eat pret­zels at my desk. Or maybe my as­sis­tant might grab me some veg­etable soup.”

Email strat­egy

“I have not cracked

the code on email. Email is like a tsunami ev­ery day. My re­la­tion­ships have been very di­rect and very au­then­tic, and [hav­ing] some­one screen [emails] and tell me what to re­ply to is some­thing I haven’t been will­ing to do.”

Last thing she does at night “Look at my phone.”

Time she goes to bed

“Early. When my 5-year-old goes to bed. When I’m on the road, the times vary greatly.”

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