Today we get to learn how Mika Brzezinski gets shit done! This Friday I’ll be attending her Know Your Value live event here in Washington DC — be sure to follow me on twitter @megbiram as I’ll be live tweeting all the best nuggets from the event with the #KnowYourValue hashtag! I’ll also be snapping on Snapchat — find me: megbiram. Now let’s get to this amazing GSD interview!
Mika Brzezinski is the co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and the author of three best-selling books. Her memoir All Things At Once became a New York Times best seller in January 2010. Her second book, Knowing Your Value, which examines the role of women in the workplace, reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for business books in 2011. Her third book, Obsessed: America’s Food Addiction and My Own, debuted on the bestseller list in spring of 2013. Mika also writes “Getting What You Want” for Cosmopolitan, a monthly column about career confidence and empowerment. Most recently, Mika began working on the next chapter of Knowing Your Value with her new book, Grow Your Value, out this month.
In April of this year, Mika and NBC Universal took the message from Knowing Your Value on the road with a series of conferences in Philadelphia, DC, Chicago, Boston, and Orlando to empower women to express their worth in business.
Prior to joining MSNBC in January of 2007, Mika was an anchor of CBS Evening News Weekend Edition and a CBS News correspondent who frequently contributed to CBS Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My alarm goes off at 3:30 a.m. every morning. I head into the city for hair and makeup before a three-hour, live taping of Morning Joe. After that, it depends on the day, but it never stops when the show ends. I am currently partnering with NBCUniversal News Group to do a series of women’s events around the country and that requires a lot of time on the phone and additional meetings. I try to do as much of this as I can from home so I can be with my family, but certain events and projects have me traveling or staying in the city a few nights during the week.
You are an avid runner, at what point in the day do you fit a run in?
Running is the best way for me to relieve stress, so I always make time to do it during my day. I do a lot of conference calls while I am running so that I can fit it in no matter how busy my schedule is. Sometimes I run really, really slow but I get it done.
What parts of your work do you love the most?
Since the beginning of Morning Joe, I have had the opportunity to pick the brains of some of the smartest, most interesting people in the world on our set. Our shows format allows me to have real conversations and I believe that is why it works.
What parts of your work do you dislike?
Not getting enough sleep. Also, not getting enough sleep. And finally… not getting enough sleep.
What type of calendar do you keep? How do you plan out your calendar?
I live and die by my Google calendar; I check it first thing every morning and keeping it up-to-date and accurate is very important to me. A number of the staff at Morning Joe have access to the calendar and they help to make sure everything I need to know is on there. If something is wrong on the calendar, it has the potential to throw the whole day into a tailspin so everyone knows to add in everything and anything that could cause an issue.
How do you organize and tackle your to-do list?
Again, it all comes back to the calendar. Travel times, important things for my daughters, as well as actual work obligations all have to go in so that I am able to just move through the list.
How do you attack your never-ending email? Do you have a certain strategy you use?
No… That is a perpetual problem for me because I have a constant influx of emails. Sometimes I will get upwards of 200 in a day. It is a source of real stress because I am the kind of person who likes to get back to everyone right away and be attentive to their needs but it is impossible. In small doses I am trying to learn to put the phone down even though that email keeps chiming.
What is your process and/or work strategy? Anything that you have found that works for you?
For me, the days are constantly changing. Every minute and hour. Sometimes I will come home and think that I have the afternoon to work on my computer but by six in the evening, I am on a plane to cover breaking news or to do an interview and it changes everything. I just go. The one thing I do for my own sanity is I always know when I am going to run and I almost always make it happen. It gives me a sense of order and power amidst chaos.
How do you GSD at home?
I am a horrible decorator so I have finally learned to leave that to the experts. I cannot work in my home office unless it is stark and clean and that puttering around the house organizing things relaxes me.
In terms of family, our schedule changes so much that it is just about being awake and in the moment when I am lucky enough to get one. For example, my daughter Carlie will out of the blue ask to go get a smoothie and I will drop everything to go with her because that is a moment I didn’t know I would have with her.
Nuggets of advice you’ve been given that have stuck?
When I went for a proper raise, I was told people wouldn’t like me and I would get a bad reputation. It was the most insane advice I had ever heard.
Any other information about how you GSD, please share?
Sometimes, you just have to let things go and move on.
Top Photo: Mika Brzezinski at the “Know Your Value” event in Philadelphia on April 10, 2015, Louis Burgdorf/MSNBC
Second Photo: Co-hosts Mika Brzezinski with Joe Scarborough on the set of “Morning Joe”, Nathan Congleton/MSNBC