Embracing Good Habits Daily: The First 90 Minutes
By Deborah Goldstein, Founder Driven Professionals
Just as DRIVEN has been exploring key topics in business and life success, including time management and energy management, I personally have been applying these lessons to my own life as DRIVEN’s founder. After all, if I don’t walk the talk, I shouldn’t be the one encouraging others to work hard toward living more productive, engaged and energized lives.
In honoring this obligation to myself and our business community, last June, while preparing for Laura Vanderkam’s address to our select group of women, I identified a half-dozen key success goals to add to the firm dedication to daily exercise and gratitude in my life. These were the central activities and efforts that would result in a more satisfying, zen-like existence to complement my pedal-to-the-metal career life. Over time, I’ve created a routine to incorporate all six of these good habits into each day. And the amazing part: it all happens during the first 90 minutes of my day! Not only is this healthful to my body and mind, but it frees up my time and energy in the event that a dear friend in need should reach out to me unexpectedly.
Allow me to expand on these habits, detailing what I do for my body, my mind, my business, and my loved ones. Get a feel for which activities might be right for you, and consider adopting them as your own good daily habits. Before you know it, you may be reinventing yourself for the whole community to marvel at!
Good Habits For My Body:
Floss Daily, Drink 2 Quarts of Water, Do My Pushups
The first thing I do each morning, even before my eyes are fully adjusted to the bathroom light, is brush my teeth and floss. When I read that flossing could add 6 years to our lives, it became an effortless habit to ALWAYS follow my morning brushing with a 2-minute flossing of my chompers. After just a few weeks, it became so embedded into my muscle memory that I don’t even realize I’ve flossed! Then, it’s on to the water.
Part of the challenge of drinking 8 cups each day is keeping track of how much water I’ve consumed. The trick? As I’m making my morning coffee, I fill up two quart-sized bottles from my triple-filtered reverse osmosis tap, and blast in some carbonation using my SodaStream seltzer maker. I drink 16oz before my first sip of coffee, and the rest is effortlessly consumed throughout the day. But don’t forget those pushups.
My pushup routine was shaky for years, until I realized that 15 pushups take only 15 seconds. Since I indulge in 2 cups of coffee each morning, and heat the milk for the coffee in the microwave for 30 seconds, it sets the stage perfectly: as the microwave is heating the milk, I hit the deck and give myself 15. I’m able to cross 30 pushups off of my habit list within the first hour I’m awake!
Good Habits For My Business:
Maintain My Time Log, Engage In Network Management
I credit much of my productivity to Laura Vanderkam and her priceless books about time management. As my coffee is steeping in its French press each morning, I review my to-do list and then schedule my priorities into a Vanderkam-inspired spreadsheet that doubles as my time log. Once the most important matters are plotted into my day, I can fill in the rest by balancing heavy concentration activates with more mindless need-to-do’s, like exercise and restorative acts. Then there’s room for a little network management.
I still struggle with this important career success staple, but I’ve vastly improved my network management routine in recent months. We all know the importance of a strong network, and many of us know what we should do to manage our network. But so few of us actually block the time to maintain and nurture our networks. My approach? After I block my schedule each morning, I reach out to 3 people in my network. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but 3x5x4=60 people I contact each month! That’s significant relationship maintenance with practically NO effort. My 2016 goal is to dial it up to 5 people contacted daily. That would bring my total to 100 people monthly. This covers my VIP 100 list of contacts, and besides loving the ease of the habit, I can rest easier knowing that I’m servicing those who are supporting MY efforts. Talk about productive habit!
Good Habit For My Mind and My Loved Ones:
By now, we all know the benefits of meditation. It clears the mind to keep one engaged with work and family. The biggest challenge has now become “finding the time” to meditate. But I believe I’ve solved this quandary. Fortunately, one of my greatest delights is the quiet of the suburban morning. So after I’ve had my coffee, done my pushups, mapped my day, and engaged in network outreach, I can reward myself and refocus my brain for the first serious project of the day with the aid of a 20-minute meditation, compliments of Headspace. If you are already dabbling with meditation, or are thinking about trying it out, this online guidance is an effective place to begin.
Deborah Goldstein is a successful restauranteur and founder of the Driven Professionals, a community composed to serve NYC professionals sharing the common goal of career advancement, while integrating family life and personal development.