I'm the CMO of Pinterest and always do creative work in the morning – Business Insider

I'm the CMO of Pinterest and always do creative work in the morning – Business Insider

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Andréa Mallard, 45, who is the CMO of Pinterest. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I start my day at 5:00 a.m. — not because I’m a masochist, but because I go to bed at 9 p.m. (really) and have a particular routine that I’ve optimized over the years.
Each morning, I get up at 5 a.m., do 45 minutes of intense cardio (Hydrow rowing and Peloton), listen to a five-minute meditation in the shower, and make a breakfast smoothie (it’s actually closer to a blended salad). I start doing “work” around 6:30 a.m. while drinking the smoothie in my kitchen. 
I start by checking what meetings I have planned for that day and reviewing any pre-read materials, which are documents or presentations that go along with the meetings. I take notes for myself on the pre-reads so we can get right to the meat of the discussion when we do come together. No one wants to be in a meeting that should have been an email.
This early morning routine gives me usually at least two hours of focused, uninterrupted work time before I pause at 8 a.m. to help ensure my three kids get out the door to school on time (they all ride bikes or walk).
I’m definitely at my most creative or innovative in the very early morning hours, well before anyone wakes up. If a work challenge needs lateral thinking or requires serious creative muscle or a tough decision, it’s the first thing I’ll tackle in the morning. 
But, since creativity loves constraints, I tend to give myself two or three hours, max, after which time I notice my state of peak creative flow tends to wane. 
I have a home office that I built myself during the pandemic, but after a few hours there I like a change of scenery. I’ll switch to a more comfortable living room chair, or sit out in my backyard, or even sometimes lie on the floor on my stomach (at this point, I’m not at all self-conscious about where I am or what I look like on video calls). 
It’s a perfect moment for me to directly hear what anyone on the team might need from me and raise issues with the most senior leader of a given team should I need their help solving something. 
If marketing is facing an engineering hurdle, for instance, I always know I’ll have an audience with the CTO every morning to raise it immediately and he’ll invariably help me tackle it right then and there. It’s also a super-efficient way to feel like we’re operating as one team even if we’re all focused on different tasks.   
I send this email to the entire global marketing team, the executive team, key board members, and all cross-functional teams — plus anyone else at the company who’s raised their hands to receive this particular email, which is a surprisingly large number.
In this email, I share what’s top of mind for me on that given week and any progress that’s been made on those work streams since I last mentioned them. It could be about decisions we’ve made on an upcoming brand campaign, details surrounding a new product launch, a cross-functional event about to go live, or any countless things in between.
I draft this email every Sunday afternoon, which is my forcing function to take stock of everything that’s coming up on my calendar for a given week, prioritize what I think truly matters, and cancel what doesn’t before the week even starts. 
This email has become a great way for me to actively prioritize my weekly to-do’s and communicate clearly to a widely distributed team. It’s the only org-wide email I typically send, so I take time to ensure it’s really thoughtful, comprehensive, and fun to read.
So if you need me to write a speech, draw a storyboard, or help edit our latest commercial, the earlier in the day the better my quick, intuitive thinking will be. 
On a given day, I might write a global strategy, review a creative campaign, deep dive on analytics, join executive team brainstorms, give press interviews, or speak about Pinterest at a conference. 
My job is to be as whole-brained as possible and be able to operate at any level of altitude depending on the needs of the business. 
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