This is What a Typical Day Really Looks Like for an Editor-in-Chief

Kate Ward is the current Editor-in-Chief of BDG Media (Bustle, Romper, Elite Daily, The Zoe Report), the former Executive Editor of Hollywood.com, a former editor and writer for 'Entertainment Weekly' and EW.com, and a member of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in Media. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Ward — whose work has also appeared in 'Glamour' magazine — loves talking about nutgrafs and hates exclamation points, despite using them on a regular basis. Specializing in reality TV, ’90s nostalgia, and bad movies, Ward is likely the oldest person to attend "American Idols LIVE!" every year with her mom.


5 a.m.: I wake up in a panicked state after dreaming that I forgot to study for my physics final. After about five seconds, I remind myself that a) I am no longer in college, and b) I would never put myself through physics again. I attempt to fall asleep again, but my brain rejects it, deciding to one-up an anxiety dream with actual anxiety. How will I get everything done today? How will I be the leader my team needs? I calm myself down when I remember that I’m surrounded by an incredibly smart team of women who continue to work hard every day to bring women’s voices to the forefront and to help and inspire those around them — including me. This thought allows my anxiety to shift from the years ahead to the hours ahead to the present challenge: my 5-mile daily run.

7:30 a.m.: Literally dripping in sweat, I head to the shower, then blow dry my hair and attempt a hair hack my Zoe Report co-worker taught me. Confident in my execution skills, I assume I’ll walk out of my apartment looking like Gisele. Instead, the look is more '80s metal, but I decide nostalgia is in anyway. On the way out the door, I scroll through some Instagram Stories from co-workers, one of which happens to be about perception, beauty, and our collective struggle as women to accept our bodies in a world constantly trying to make us smaller. I realize I needed that reminder to be kind to myself.

8:00 a.m.: I actually get a seat on the subway (the benefit of living off the local line in Brooklyn) and spend my commute reading a book about 19th-century shipwrecks because it somehow feels better to read about a disaster that’s in the past. My office is on 24th Street, but I get out at 14th Street, partly to breathe some extra fresh air and look at pies at the farmer’s market, but mostly to get in some extra steps.

9:00 a.m.: The fresh air was nice, but to be honest (and cheesy) stepping into Bustle’s offices is really what gets me going. For the last five years, the best part of my day has been being able to walk into a workplace with this team, and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to say that. I open up a recent email from a co-worker detailing plans for Bustle’s Rule Breakers digital issue. Impressed by the team's creativity, I dive in to make sure the Issue is moving along and hitting all the notes we’re aiming for. I continue to furiously go through my inbox until it reaches zero, save for the one unopened email about my upcoming vacation, which I haven’t touched since mid-June and probably won’t touch until September.  

11:00 a.m.: Meetings. Meetings, meetings, meetings. So many meetings my Google Calendar is needing a vacation. But I actually enjoy them. They keep me close to the teams from all our sites and various departments, and there’s nothing more satisfying than working with our editors and creatives to come up with innovative ways to grow our four brands. During one meeting, we dream up a particularly great idea for IGTV. Maybe we’ll order Taco Bell to celebrate. During another with executives, I showcase a new, strategic organizational chart featuring a brand-new Editorial department that will help us manage mergers and acquisitions better. The presentation goes over well. Maybe we'll order more Taco Bell to celebrate.

2:00 p.m.: Just another mid-afternoon: We find out we just locked in the cover star for our next digital issue, and — holy celebrities! — one of the Bachelor men is in the office for an interview and photo shoot. Our Bookings Manager asks if I want to meet him, and I say yes, but then find myself in a meeting during the time he’s in. Typical.  

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5:00 p.m.: I do some last-minute Google Analytics data collecting for our new Bustle UK team (spoiler alert: everyone loves Meghan Markle), and catch up with Bustle, Elite Daily, and Romper’s Instagram Stories series. Even though the series launched a few weeks ago, I continue to laugh at the name of Elite Daily’s IG stories series, Blend & Snap. I laugh even more scrolling through Bustle’s meme-heavy feed. Looking at our Instagram follower count, I take a minute to remember that we started five years ago with just a few editors (and zero followers) in a Brooklyn townhouse, and now, over 80 million people are following what we're producing every day. Sometimes I have to remember to enjoy it all. What I never forget is that none of this would be possible without our team of editors, which now 90+ strong.

6:00 p.m.: I begin to head home, texting my husband about what to get for dinner. Of the two of us, he’s the chef. I once made penne à la vodka and failed to burn off the vodka. (I kind of liked it, though?)

7:00 p.m.: Home! First order of business: Remove pants. Second order of business: Inbox zero. Third order of business: Stare at a wall for five minutes.

8:00 p.m.: My husband is also from the start-up world, so, when he arrives, we spend 30 minutes problem solving for one another and strategizing for the day ahead. It’s a lot of thinking, so we adequately dull our brains for an hour with a new episode of Big Brother and then spend 30 minutes strategizing on behalf of the house guests. We talk about how far we’d make it on the show, which inevitably turns into a conversation of how long we’d last on Naked and Afraid. I estimate I’d last all 21 days, then declare our 73-degree apartment freezing and unlivable.

10:00 p.m.: Time for bed. I plan to really get eight hours of sleep tonight. It’s time to plug in my phone.

11:00 p.m.: [Scrolling through Instagram, scrolling through Instagram, check email one more time, scrolling through Instagram, check out Tumblr quickly to see if anything is happening in the Big Brother house, scrolling through Instagram…]

11:30 p.m.: I somehow end up on the “list of unusual deaths” Wikipedia page. I take that as a sign to officially shut down. I close my eyes and start to dream away.

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