In 7 Hours With, we explore the routines of leading professionals in their space to learn the when, why, where and how they work. In each diary, we will look at what they’re doing at seven different check-ins throughout their day.
Rachel Bowie is the Senior Editor of Special Projects at PureWow, a digital lifestyle brand for women, where she produces and edits content on a variety of lifestyle topics including travel, wellness, fashion, beauty, entertainment and more.
My son—who’s almost 16 months—has been my human alarm clock for the past year and a half. I didn’t used to be a morning person, but I’m getting better. I also don’t drink coffee, so a shower is usually what I need to look alive. 😉
My morning routine goes something like this: My son wakes me and my husband up, I feed him, then we play and read books and cook breakfast for him for a couple of hours while my husband and I trade off showering/getting ready. A lot of days, we’re up so early that I actually put my son down for his first nap before I leave for work. If I have a morning event or breakfast with a colleague or friend, we trade off with child care until my nanny arrives.
Lately, I’ve also been trying to restart my running routine. My strategy has been to squeeze in a 15-minute run most weekday mornings. Why? 15 minutes is enough time for me to run at least a mile or a mile and a half, but it also doesn’t totally derail the morning (i.e., I still get to work on time).
I’m at my desk by 10 most days unless I have a press event or early morning meetings. I usually alternate between The New York Times app and Instagram on the subway unless I have a book club pick I’m racing to finish. (Right now, I’m behind on Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi, which is so good so far.) Once I’m at my desk, I check email, tie up any loose ends on stories I worked on the day before (input copy edits and such) and do a quick scan for any royal family news—one of my beats. I also catch up with my coworkers—we are a tight-knit group.
I’m usually deep into writing or editing around this time of the morning. My day is never ever the same. One day, I’m dressing like Meghan Markle for a week and writing about the style lessons I learned along the way and the next I’m interviewing Bryce Dallas Howard about her role in Rocketman for our Instagram feed. I get such a rush from the variety. And I love toggling between a deep dive into tax advice or when to cut the pacifier to working with our podcast crew to record our Alexa flash briefing, Good News.
I’m a huge fan of time blocking when it comes to items on my to-do list. I actually keep a running Google doc of everything I want to get done in a day that I update every night before bed. I break each day out in sections: “before work,” “work,” and “after work,” then I categorize within those areas by separating to-do’s that take a ton of time and those that I can do quickly. (Examples: Send an email follow up vs. research and write a money story.) I occasionally keep paper lists, too—and jot down to-do’s in various notebooks and on post-it’s throughout the day—but the Google doc is the place I funnel everything into since it’s so easy to update in real time. (My day pivots a lot.)
Lunch time. I try so hard to bring lunch, but there are so many to-do’s related to my son these days that I’m lucky if I remember my wallet in the morning when I walk out the door. It does help that our office is at Hudson Yards, which means that I have a plethora of brand-new food options, not to mention an incentive to take a quick break and get away from my desk. My coworkers and I make a concerted effort to either stroll the mall for a bit or venture out to the Vessel or High Line if the weather is nice and time allows, just to get some fresh air while we’re picking up a bite at Sweetgreen or Citarella—both go-to spots.
This afternoon, I didn’t have any meetings, but I popped out for an event with Hilaria Baldwin—the host of Mom Brain, one of Gallery Media Group’s podcasts—at the Crosby Street Hotel in Soho. She was hosting a tea with My 1st Years in honor of the royal baby Archie, which we covered on our social channels. Prior to heading over, I actually worked out of Luminary, a co-working space for women on the east side of the city near Flatiron and a space that PureWow has a partnership with. I’m all about setting a timer for getting work done (for example, you have 45 minutes to write this news story…and go!), but Luminary is a dream for concentration. There are so many conference rooms and couches to set up at and really get a lot of work done. I try to work there at least one or two days a month.
I cut out at 5 PM sharp since my commute is about an hour and I have to get home to Brooklyn to relieve our nanny. The minute I walk in the door, I’m prepping dinner for my son followed by a bath. If I have a work event, my husband and I trade off, but I love the nights when we’re both home. Our son gets such a kick out of it when we both walk in the door. He’s even applauded our entrance. Ha! He is in his crib by 7:30 PM. (sometimes earlier), then I usually hop back online to tie up any loose ends from my day while my husband cooks dinner.
Since I leave at 5, work definitely spills into the evenings and weekends a bit, but that’s really just the nature of the job. You never know when a source is going to get back to you or when a story is going to take longer to produce than you thought it would. Another occupational hazard is the fact that story ideas are everywhere. My poor friends! We’ll be talking and I constantly interrupt with: “Oooh, that’s a great story idea! Let me just write that down real quick.”
In my home, I’m usually the last person awake. After I’ve finished up my work — typically, by 9 PM — I’ll watch TV with my husband (we’re super into Fosse/Verdon right now) and call it a night. Of course, I can’t go to bed without one final Instagram scroll or late night text to two of my closest mom friends. (We’re always managing middle of the night baby wake-ups, so text each other at all hours of the night. They’ve become my final “goodnight.”)