Like many other tech titans, such as Elon Musk and Tim Cook, Bezos is an early riser. He’s usually awake around 6:30 am. According to Bezos, “I go to bed early, I get up early”.
After rising, he is known to enjoy “putter” around the house in the morning. He’ll brew some coffee, read the newspapers, and generally not start work.
When his kids get up, he prides himself on making them breakfast. Apparently, he’s a whizz in the kitchen, cooking up fresh batches of blueberry-chocolate chip pancakes from scratch. Remarkably he even does the dishes!
After breakfast, he will continue to putter until around 10 am when he drives to Amazon HQ. His most productive time is between 10 am and midday, a two-hour-long period during which he tackles the day’s priority meetings and paperwork.
In the afternoon he will either have meetings in the afternoon or visit the floor of one of his fulfillment centers to make an appearance.
His employees know him as a demanding but fair boss and he likes to get down to the employee level at least once a week, taking impromptu meetings on warehouse floors with managers and workers.
He sees himself as responsible for driving the company in the right direction and that making high-quality, well-thought-out decisions is the hardest part of his daily routine at Amazon HQ.
His approach is to make a few high-quality decisions per day instead of hundreds of low-quality decisions providing lackluster outcomes.
By 5 pm he’s done with work and anything remaining is pushed over to the following day.
Evenings are typically used for business dinners, where he enjoys more exotic menus. Once, Jeff celebrated a prestigious exploration award by dining on an iguana. After finishing dinner, Jeff heads home. He is a big believer in having an early night, and he’s usually in bed by 10:30 pm.
In an interview for The Economic Club of Washington D.C., Bezos revealed a routine that enabled him to start his day in a slow and calm fashion. After getting his standard 8 hours of sleep every night, Bezos like enjoy time with his family and read the newspaper.
So I like to putter in the morning. I get up early. I go to bed early, I get up early. I like to putter in the morning, so I like to read the newspaper, I like to have coffee, I like to have breakfast with my kids before they go to school, so I have my kind of puttering time is very important to me.
JEFF BEZOS AT THE ECONOMIC CLUB OF WASHINGTON (9/13/18)
While he doesn’t like to have meetings before 10am, Bezos also doesn’t like to make any diffcult decisions after 5pm as well, so there’s a 10am to 5pm window where a bulk of his decision-making gets done, “I like to do my high-I.Q. meetings before lunch. Like, anything that’s going to be really mentally challenging, that’s a 10:00 meeting. Because by 5 p.m., I’m like I can’t think about that today, let’s try this again tomorrow at 10 a.m.”
This is a great way for him to avoid decision fatigue. Similarly, Bezos likes to stick to making three good decisions per day, a strategy that Warren Buffet also uses.
As a senior executive, you get paid to make a small number of high-quality decisions. Your job is not to make thousands of decisions every day. Is that really worth it if the quality of those decisions might be lower because you’re tired or grouchy? If I make, like, three good decisions a day, that’s enough. Warren Buffett says he’s good if he makes three good decisions a year.
1 BIG THING: JEFF BEZOS’ SECRETS FOR LIFE, BUSINESS | AXIOS AM