Welcome to How I Work It, where women we admire share the time management routines, rituals and motivations getting them through the week
Alia Eyres doesn’t do small. Born and raised in Hong Kong as the eldest of seven kids, she is expecting her seventh child—a girl who will join six brothers, ages 10, 8, 5, 3, 2 and 1. As CEO, she’s also responsible for a large team: 150 staff and 800 volunteers at Mother’s Choice, a charity founded by her parents and their friends.
“I don't like to just scratch the surface; I like the things that are going to totally change somebody's life story,” says Eyres. “That's why I like working at Mother's Choice, because we're not just dealing with a girl’s pregnancy or helping her make a decision or bringing her to safety. We're really dealing with the root issues.”
This desire to inspire transformations prompted Eyres to leave a career in M&A law in 2012. Her family moved into one of the Mother’s Choice dormitories for pregnant teens, where she was both CEO and an emergency onsite officer responding to all kinds of scenarios—from an abandoned newborn to a threatening boyfriend or a drug dealer. Covid-19 has only exacerbated these social problems, with more calls for help and kids being referred.
“I felt like this is a time it will be healthy for me to have some boundaries and space,” says Eyres, who chose to move into their own apartment in October 2020. “It’s tempting to say, I’m just going to focus on all this case work and set the self-care aside, but the self-care actually becomes more important so that I have enough bandwidth to care for others.”
Here Eyres shares more lessons learned, including how she prioritises her time and manages work-life balance alongside her husband, also a CEO.
MY SECRET WEAPON: SLEEP
I learned the power of a full eight hours of sleep and how much it affects my physical and mental health when I was a rower on my university’s crew team. Unless we have a big event or dinner out, you’ll find me fast asleep by 9:30pm. I take a hot bath beforehand, with candles and uplifting music or a podcast, and let the problems of the day go down the drain. I’m not just fanatical about getting sleep for myself, I am also good at training babies to sleep through the night—which is probably why I have so many kids.
MORNING SNUGGLES AND EXERCISE
I’m up by 6am and love seeing the sun rise and relaxing with my children before the worries and demands of the day set in. The older four share a room with two bunk beds and the youngest two are in another room. Hugs from them renew my hope for the day.
Then we have breakfast together. For me, it’s eggs, toast, yogurt, juice, coffee, the works. Breakfast is my most important meal of the day. The older ones head to school, and I head to Pherform, an all-female strength and conditioning gym. After my workout, and before the office, I need at least 20 minutes to myself to pray, meditate and journal—my “quiet time,” that’s what my kids call it.