My (usual) daily routine

Black and white close up of Richard Branson smiling with a clenched fist
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Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 6 April 2017

Thrive Global recently asked me a series of questions about my day-to-day life, what inspires me and how I get on and get things done. The interview got me thinking about my daily routine – here’s a rundown, which I thought might be useful to share. 

I like to wake up early; usually around 5am. I get out of bed and do some exercise – play a game of tennis, go for a walk or a run, jump on my bike, or if there’s enough wind, go for a kitesurf. Then I eat breakfast and spend time with my family. Exercise and family time put me in a great mind frame before getting down to business.

Richard Branson kite surfing in the ocean
Image by Jack Brockway

The reason I like to wake up early, is so that I can work through my emails before most of the world logs on. Living in the BVI, I like to be online early, so that I am accessible and available to our offices in other timezones. Throughout the day I also sit down with my assistant, Helen, to reply to anything else that comes in. 

I’m constantly connected and engaged. And I like it that way. Being a modern business leader is all about having your finger on the pulse and knowing what you’re talking about. I’m always checking in with our Virgin teams. This means having an ear on the ground in all corners of the globe.

In between emails and calls, I catch up on the news – which normally leads me to writing blogs. I find myself speaking out more and more about the things I cannot accept – like the failed war on drugs, mistreatment of refugees, prejudice against the LGBT community, or the fact that the death penalty still exists despite being proven to not deter crime. But my blog is not always filled with calls to action. No two days are the same: one day I’ll be writing about conservation, the next I’ll sharing family photos from Necker Island, and then the following day I’ll be offering business tips to help young entrepreneurs find their stride.

Richard Branson sitting by the pool on Necker Island, reading
Kevin Wolf

And when I blog, I make sure I share my thoughts via social media. As someone who started out in business 50 years ago, I can’t begin to tell you how much mobile phones, email and social media have changed the state of play. I love logging onto Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram everyday and reading your feedback. Social media has opened up the world, and given the public the power to really have a say – it’s a wonderful thing.

To keep me energised, I drink lots of tea. I’m talking 20 cups a day – don’t tell my doctor! I grab food when I can, normally scheduling a meeting over lunchtime. I’m not a fan of formal meetings and would much prefer to lighten the mood with a shared meal, or if I’m pressed for time, a walking meeting.

Black and white image of Richard Branson sitting at a table drinking from a mug
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Regardless of where I am or what I’m doing – perhaps with the exception of kitesurfing or swimming – I always have a notebook on hand. My secret ‘life hack’ has also been to write it down! I can’t tell you where I’d be if I hadn’t had a pen on hand to write down my ideas as soon as they came to me.

My day normally wraps up with a group dinner, where stories are shared and ideas are born. My bedtime is generally about 11pm. I need around six hours sleep do it all again – a little differently – the next day.