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Tim Cook's daily routine: The schedule of the Apple CEO who wakes up at 4 a.m. and reads hundreds of customer emails a day

Tim Cook's daily routine: The schedule of the Apple CEO who wakes up at 4 a.m. and reads hundreds of customer emails a day
Tim Cook smiling.
Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up early and starts his day by sifting through the hundreds of emails he gets from customers.Andrew Burton / Getty Images
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook's day starts at 4 a.m. and is full of hourslong meetings.

  • Cook is an intensely private person but has given some insights into his daily routine.

  • He's said he reads hundreds of emails a day and is the last one to leave the office.

It takes a lot to run the world's largest company — including a very early wake-up call.

Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up before dawn and begins his by reading hundreds of feedback emails from customers before heading to the gym. Once he's at the office, he works long hours and leads notoriously lengthy meetings.

Cook is a famously private person, but over the years, he's shared glimpses into his daily schedule.

Here's a look inside the typical day-to-day routine of Apple's CEO:

Cook typically wakes up between 4 and 5 a.m.

Tim Cook waving while walking with a coffee.
Tim Cook wakes up before dawn.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

"I get up really early, I'm an early bird," Cook said on an episode of the "Dua Lipa: At Your Service" podcast that aired in November, noting that he generally wakes between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m.

He's said that at that early hour, he has the freedom to spend his time as he sees fit.

"I can control the morning better than the evening and through the day. Things happen through the day that kind of blow you off course," he told The Australian Financial Review in 2021. "The morning is yours. Or should I say, the early morning is yours."

Once he's up, he spends about an hour reading through his emails.

Tim Cook and Maddie Ziegler looking at a phone.
Tim Cook reads hundreds of emails a day.Stephen Lam / Stringer / Getty Images

"I spend my first hour doing email, and I'm pretty religious about doing this," he said on Dua Lipa's podcast. "I read emails from a lot of customers and employees, and the customers are telling me things that they love about us or things that they want changed about us. Employees are giving me ideas. But it's a way to stay grounded in terms of what the community is feeling, and I love it."

Cook told ABC News in 2014 that he was getting 700 or 800 emails a day and read "the majority of those," including customer feedback.

"I cannot read all of them, no. I'd not admit to doing that," he told the Australian Financial Review. "But I read an extraordinary number of them. It keeps my hands on the pulse of what customers are feeling and thinking and doing."

Employees, too, have experienced Cook's early-morning emails.

"Tim wakes up really early and is very well capable of expecting you to reply back before the sun comes up," one source told Insider in 2014.

Before he can head to the office, the Apple CEO hits the gym several days a week.

Tim Cook in front of a large screen showing graphics for Apple's fitness apps.
Tim Cook considers himself a fitness nut.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

"I spend an hour in the gym, usually doing strength training, and I've got somebody to really push me to do things I don't want to do," he told Dua Lipa. "I do no work during that period of time at all, I never check my phone, I'm just totally focused on working out."

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2014 that Cook didn't work out on Apple's campus, opting instead for a gym where he was less likely to run into his employees.

Cook told Axios in 2018 that working out helps "keeps my stress at bay."

After his workout and a shower, Cook heads to Starbucks.

Tim Cook talking to someone with one hand on his head and one holding a coffee cup.
Tim Cook reads emails again from the coffee shop.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A 2012 Time article reported that there, he'd read through more emails before heading to the office.

It's not clear whether Cook regularly eats breakfast, but he dug into scrambled egg whites, sugar-free cereal, unsweetened almond milk, and bacon during an interview with the New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin in 2017.

Once he's at work, Cook hosts marathon meetings.

Tim Cook talking and pointing.
Tim Cook is known to relentlessly question employees in meetings that can last hours.AP

The Journal's 2014 article reported that Cook's weekly operations meetings could last five or six hours and that he was known to relentlessly question employees.

"'Talk about your numbers. Put your spreadsheet up,' he'd say as he nursed a Mountain Dew," the Journal wrote.

Mike Janes, the former head of Apple's online store, told CNN Money in 2008 about an afternoon meeting with Cook.

"A number of us had tickets to see the Mets that night," Janes said. "After hours, he was still drilling us with question after question while we were watching the clock like kids in school. I still have this vision of Tim saying, 'Okay, next page,' as he opened yet another energy bar. Needless to say, we missed the Mets game."

He also has no problem sitting in silence until he gets a suitable answer.

"In meetings, he's known for long, uncomfortable pauses, when all you hear is the sound of his tearing the wrapper of the energy bars he constantly eats," CNN Money reported.

As a result, the Journal said, employees had learned to be prepared, cramming for the meetings as if they were tests.

For lunch, he keeps it pretty simple at the Apple cafeteria.

Tim Cook raising his hands and clapping among a group of Apple workers.
Tim Cook snacks on energy bars during the day.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The Journal reported in 2014 that besides the energy bars he was snacking on throughout the day, he stuck to meals such as chicken and rice for lunch.

Cook is known to eat his lunch in the cafeteria with employees, unlike his predecessor Steve Jobs, who would typically eat with the design chief, Jonathan Ive.

Cook works long days at the office.

Tim Cook waving against a black background.
Tim Cook has said he's one of the last to leave the office for the day.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

"I'll divide the day in terms of spending time with product teams or spending time with marketing teams or spending time with the executive team, and we're either handling issues of the day or hopefully our balance is more on working on future stuff, and thinking about what's next," he said on Dua Lipa's podcast.

When he was COO, he was known for being one of the first people in the office and one of the last people to leave.

 

After-hours, Cook's life is pretty much a mystery.

Tim Cook holding up a peace sign and smiling.
Tim Cook's hobbies include cycling and rock climbing.Kevin Dietsch

We don't know much about how Cook spends his weekends and evenings, though he's outdoorsy and enjoys rock climbing and cycling.

The Journal reported his favorite vacation spots included the Yosemite and Zion national parks.

He has also vacationed at the Canyon Ranch resort in Arizona, where guests spotted him keeping to himself, often dining alone and reading on his iPad, Fortune's 2012 profile of Cook said.

Áine Cain contributed to an earlier version of this story.

Read the original article on Business Insider