Routines are a funny thing in the professional world. Some professionals love them, some professionals hate them, some wish they had them, and some wish they didn’t have them. But I’ve found that no matter which side of the fence you’re on, finding some sort of work/life balance helps keep us all sane. There are so many articles floating around on the Internet saying that checking email right when you wake up is a no-no and that taking an afternoon nap is essential for productivity, but ultimately, as the saying goes, different strokes [work] for different folks.
Which is why the concept of “routines” intrigues me. My day is full of craziness, from the moment I wake up, to the last moments before I drift into sleep, so I’m constantly wondering how others handle their crazy schedules. Do they wait to check their email until they’ve gotten settled in at work? Do they make sure to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day? Do they eat the same thing for lunch every. single. day? The fact is, there isn’t a calculation for success. Sure, there are some key qualities and habits, but whether you check your email at 7:30 a.m. or 9:45 a.m. will not determine your ability to thrive.
I’ve been blessed to know some pretty remarkable people in my life thus far. I’m driven to movers and shakers who strive to make a difference in the communities around them, whether it’s through their 9-5 roles, non-profit work, or simply who they are as people. I want to know what makes them tick, what their stories are, and why they do what they do. Which is why I created this blog.
I asked some of my LinkedIn contacts, professional friends, and role models what made each of them tick, and they had some pretty interesting responses. Check them out:
ABBY SHUE, Vice President of the Kentucky Center for the Arts
(Here’s Abby’s bio and 40 Under Forty questionnaire.)
- What time do you wake up in the morning? 5:30 am when I’m working out, 6:30 am otherwise.
- What’s the first thing you do after turning off your alarm each morning? Drink a glass of water.
- What gets you going in the morning? Two to three days a week, it’s my 6 AM workout. The other days I’ll credit coffee.
- How do you deal with everyday stresses? It’s not so much about eliminating the stress as learning to live with it. I could not function without to-do lists, and the least stressful days are the days when I cross the hardest things off the list first thing.
- What do you do before bed? Check my email and let my boyfriend know that I love him.
- What time do you typically go to bed? I have finally come to terms with the fact that I’m no longer able to function well on 4 hours of sleep, so I shoot to be asleep by midnight.
- What’s your favorite quote/personal philosophy? “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs
- What would be one bit of advice you have for young professionals? Keep some perspective. A tough meeting most likely does not mean you’re getting fired, and a successful project probably won’t mean an immediate promotion either. When you’re new in your career, it’s easy to take it personally and take it home. The sleepless nights are usually not necessary or helpful. Try to enjoy the ride and get some perspective – the hills and valleys will get smaller in time.
ALLI TRUTTMANN, President and CEO of Wicked Sheets, LLC
(Check out Alli’s LinkedIn profile here.)
- What time do you wake up in the morning? Usually 6:30am.
- What’s the first thing you do after turning off your alarm each morning? Make my bed.
- What gets you going in the morning? Seeing how many sheets we sold overnight!! Annnndddd I’ll drink one cup of coffee or tea a day with my breakfast.
- How do you deal with everyday stresses? I exercise everyday except Sunday, allow myself to have dessert if I think that will help (usually the stress has to do with the hormones and the hormones have to do with the sweets) 🙂 I don’t care if you print that either! I absolutely utilize my friends if it’s a must-vent situation, otherwise I realize that things will work out without causing too much drama.
- What do you do before bed? Drink a glass of red wine and watch something I’ve DVR’d from the week. Have to turn the brain off and put the phone away!
- What’s your favorite quote/personal philosophy? “Too whom much is given, much is expected.” That’s what my alarm clock reads to me every day. No idea who said it.
- What would be one bit of advice you have for young professionals? Young professionals, the days of immediate graitifcation are upon us, but if you go too fast or want too much too soon you’re doomed to disappointment the rest of your life. Slow down, work hard, and watch the return on your investment (of time, money, love, in people, etc.) grow exponentially.
ANGIE FENTON, Entertainment Corespondent for WHAS 11’s “Great Day Live”
(Here’s Angie’s personality page on Facebook.)
- What time do you wake up in the morning? I’m usually up by 5:45 a.m. weekdays and 7:30 a.m. weekends.
- What’s the first thing you do after turning off your alarm each morning? I sit up and take a deep breath. Then, it’s go time.
- What gets you going in the morning? A routine that includes four dogs, my beau, coffee, a protein shake and at least one quiet moment with Zeke, a dog I adopted last year from The Arrow Fund. The organization rescued him after he was found nearly dead on the side of a road. Zeke’s back legs are paralyzed, so he uses wheelchair on walks and when we speak to groups, but at home he mostly drags himself, which sounds awful but is truly amazing to watch. While the other dogs play or go back to bed, Zeke will sit in the entrance to the bathroom and wait for me to finish getting ready. Once I’m done, we spend a few minutes together. He’s a beautiful, gentle giant, and that moment with him is a daily reminder to take the time to be grateful and appreciate life and the opportunity to really live it.
- How do you deal with everyday stresses? I write about it. Sometimes, I’ll share with others. More often than not, I’ll keep it to myself. Writing is how I process everyday stress in the most effective way.
- What do you do before bed? I go through tomorrow’s schedule, spend time with the dogs and my boyfriend, and I dream. There was a time when getting ready for bed was incredibly stressful because I’d worry about everything I didn’t accomplish that day. Now I use that time to prepare for tomorrow, spend some moments with those I love and also dream about the future. I sleep much more soundly now.
- What time do you typically go to bed? I try to be in bed no later than 11:30 p.m. Note I said “try.” It doesn’t always happen, but it’s a goal I take far more seriously the older I get.
- What’s your personal philosophy? Don’t just exist — live. And do it in such a way that you make others feel like they matter.
- What would be one bit of advice you have for young professionals? Always give more than is expected. If it scares you, go after it even harder. Embrace failure as an opportunity. And always remember: you are not defined by what others expect you to be.
HOLLY HOUSTON, KY Family Lawyer, NFOCUS Writer, Founder of Greater Louisville Outstanding Women (GLOW)
(Holly’s bio and website can be found here.)
- What’s the first thing you do after turning off your alarm each morning? First thing I do when I wake up is grind Heine Bros. Mary Catherine’s Coffee for my lightspeed Bunn coffee maker, while simultaneously feeding Mr. and Mrs. Cat. My boy cat is especially vocal and if you catch me on the phone and we’re in the kitchen, you will tell me to go tend to my clearly upset toddler. I check all messages immediately after pouring coffee, even though every productivity advice blog says don’t. But since anything can happen overnight in my business, from arrests to settlements, to reconciliations, it is incumbent upon me to be ready with a quick response.
- What gets you going in the morning? See #1, and whatever deadline is looming-est and/or the client crisis du jour.
- What do you do before bed? I read and write and project plan when the legal work is done and inevitably fall asleep with a magazine or book on my lap. I am nerdy that way.
- What time do you typically go to bed? I am a full night owl, which I attribute to my mom, who put my older brother in afternoon kindergarten. My dad always said I am happiest at about 10 p.m., and I’m also the most creative at night.
- How do you deal with everyday stresses? I have to quickly assess and prioritize. My life is entirely deadline driven. Motions, hearing compliance, writing deadlines. The days it’s all due within hours of each other or on top of each other are challenging, but without that kind of chaos I would be bored and find another cause or mission. I pledged not to start any new groups this year, so that I may build our human rights section at the LBA and plan a trip to meet lawyers working with the UN and a trip or two overseas to facilitate law clinics. I have to remember to stay nimble and be able to adapt to ever changing schedules and circumstances of clients’ and cases.
- What’s your personal philosophy? Don’t let moss grow under your feet. I also catch myself saying “oh my word” a lot lately which is much better than cursing.
- What would be one bit of advice you have for young professionals? I have 2 Hollyisms: “It is what it is,” and “It all works out.” Maybe not exactly the way I or you envisioned it, but that’s when life really gets exciting. Shifting gears is essential to moving forward in work and in life. Learning how to live in the unknowns of self employment and self awareness is not for sissies.
KEISHA NICOLE, Radio Personality for Afternoon Drive on B96.5
(Stay up-to-date with Keisha’s show by visiting her website.)
- What time do you wake up in the morning? Between 6:45 and 7:00 a.m. to go to the gym.
- What’s the first thing you do after turning off your alarm each morning? Say a prayer and thank for lord for giving me another shot at chasing my dreams.
- What gets you going in the morning? COFFEE! Starbucks Vanilla Soy Latte.
- How do you deal with everyday stresses? Going to the gym has helped me here lately. This industry can be very stressful so I hit the gym to steam off some of the stress. Pray too. Cry every now and then.
- What do you do before bed? Pray, look at Instagram and twitter.
- What time do you typically go to bed? 1:00 a.m. on a good night
- What’s your favorite quote/personal philosophy? Success is not for the weak and uncommitted. It’s going to hurt.
- What would be one bit of advice you have for young professionals? Save money now. Especially when you’re in the business of becoming your own boss. Never let anyone define you. As much as possible live a balanced life. It’s okay to go hard for your career but you don’t want to look up 7 years later and you have no one by your side to share it with. Stay focus and committed.You will never be or have it, simply being interested in your dream. Move on it. SACRIFICE NOW. ENJOY LATER.
So either way you swing it, success doesn’t have a specific wake up call or to-do list. Each of these women rule the fields they’re in, while working with the different routines they have set for themselves in order to conquer the day ahead of them. I’m so thankful to know each of them, and it is thanks, in part, to their hard work, persistence, and leadership, that Louisville is the wonderful city it is today.