If you’ve always wanted to know how successful people, professionals and freelancers start their day on a winning note, we at The Lifestyle Portal spoke to a few and here’s what they’ve shared with us.
Success does not mean how much money you have earned, it means how well you’ve managed to strike the work-life balance and enjoy both – working in the office and spending time with your family at home.
How we start our day matters, whether we’re a homemaker, a professional, a CEO of a company or a freelancer – starting our day on the right note that makes us click makes all the difference.
For some it is that perfect cup of green tea, for some a walk or a cycle ride while for others the simple yet powerful Pranayam. Read on…
1. Zubair Poonawala, Founder, CEO of ReachOut, Pune
Here’s how Pune-based 43-year-old Zubair Poonawalla Founder & CEO of ReachOut a PR firm starts his day, “I usually start my day at 5:30 am thrice a week with cycling until 6:45am where I go around Pune till the Race Course which normally takes me around 1 hour to and fro. Then as soon as I get back home, shower and have breakfast and start checking emails from home itself till around 8:30am.”
It is around this time that Zubair tries to finish off planning his activities for the day, browses through his to-do list, plans his meetings and appointments before reaching his office by 10am.
His office begins with morning meetings and then a briefing to his manager for what all is pending.
He further adds, “Once all done, I read the newspapers in office and if there are no meetings scheduled until 2 pm I leave for home for lunch. I also go for a media round thrice a week, meet journalists and editors, while the other three days I assign to meet clients and plan on the next agenda. I head back home by 5:30 pm and spend time with the family.”
2. Priya Menon, Founder of Sankalp, Palakkad
For 45-year-old Palakkad based entrepreneur and the Founder of Sankalp, Priya Menon starts her day with a 3- 5 minute of meditation and deep breathing exercises followed by a few rounds of Surya Namaskar that helps her kickstart her day with a positive mind.
She tells us, “Until sometime back, I was onto my regular cup of hot coffee, but these days I have switched over to half a litre of plain water which is helping me combat sluggishness. I then get out for some fresh air by watering the plants in the garden which also has a larger benefit of calming me and making me happy and energetic the whole day followed by reading the newspaper and checking emails comes only after that.”
Office hours are mostly spent sitting in front of the computer where Priya consciously tries to take short breaks whenever possible.
Back from office, her schedule includes a brisk evening walk for an hour and apart from the regular household chores, she finds time for reading and writing too. She ends the day with 10 minutes of meditation and 7 – 8 hours of sleep to recharge her for the next day.
Even though Dr Urmimala Sarkar, a 56-year-old Associate Professor at JNU in New Delhi is not a morning person but here’s how she’s managed to form a winning routine for her self.
“Morning walks are my favourite time for myself, but not all days I’m able to allow myself that luxury. Some mornings I need to start working on the laptop as soon as I am up to prepare for my classes or to meet a deadline. I do have my green tea though and sit in my balcony for while and there are days that I go for 5 km walk along the JNU main ring road”, shares Dr. Urmilala Sarkar.
4. Venki (T K Venkitachalam) an Illustrator/ Designer, Cochin
We also spoke to 48-year-old Venki (T K Venkitachalam) an Illustrator/ Designer from Cochin on how he starts and winds up his day and here’s what he shared with us, “After I wake up at 6pm and have my coffee or green tea, I go to Changampuzha Park (a scenic park in Cochin) for a 30-40 minute walk. I love that place for its greenery and I am a member of the walkers club as well where I get to meet my health conscious friends who’re full of positive energy that charges me up for the day.”
After a round of walking Venki practices some simple yoga under a tree and deep breathing such as Kapalbhati, Anulom Vilom and Pranayam and as soon as he reaches home he gets his son Dhrupad ready for the school and starts the day by 9 am.
“Almost every day I start my day with a short discourse of Osho, Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev or Sister B K Shivani in youtube. (They have improved my awareness about myself, made my mind spacious and sharp),” shares Venki.
He firmly believes that everyone should forget the world for sometime and scan through their thoughts every day to refresh their mind to make it less cluttered. For quite a long time he has quit his online chatting that has reduced his need for social media and unnecessary phone conversations. Now his effort is to enjoy whatever work he does and devote equal attention to big and small projects.
Some days before going to lunch at 1 noon Venki also practices some pranayam from his office and after lunch he picks up his son from school and returns to office. Venki’s work continues until 7 pm or on some days 8 pm.
Venki finishes his dinner before 8pm with his family and helps his son finish his homework. Following which goes for a short walk at night, with Dhrupad sometimes accompanying him on his bicycle.
“Some days I do prepare sketches for the next day’s work or read books for a short time before I go to bed by 10.30 pm. For the last 3-4 years I have stopped using the Internet after office hours and now I am happy to realise that keeping away from it for 12 hours a day has not affected my profession in a negative way. Another important finding is my present output is much better than those sleepless nights and now my schedules are simple and peaceful,” concludes Venki.
39-year-old Bangalore-based Founder and CEO of Redwood Associates, Gautam Munshi shares with us how he starts his day productively, “The following is what I think of time and I try my best to enhance the value I get from my time continuously. By value it is not about only money but also joy; so couple of points I always keep in mind are that the only thing finite in life is time while everything else is infinite, how we make sense of time and what we do with our time is how we experience our lives and so for me I like to be in control of my time.”
Gautam wakes up by around 5:30 am and spends at least 30 minutes reading the paper, have a leisurely and a hearty breakfast, see Aashi (his 4-year-old daughter) off to the bus stop whenever possible and try to leave home by 8:10 am latest so that he can reach office by 9 am.
” I have calculated that if I leave by 8:30am, a 20-minute delay will result in me reaching office by 9:45am because of the horrible traffic jams, so to be at peace I try my best to leave early. Oh by the way in the morning I try to complete all my priority emails so that by the time I reach office. I have largely cleared my mailbox and typically most of my work in office is planned for a month, but I definitely try my best to avoid ad hoc work during the day as that also results in stress. I then try to wind up my work by 6:15pm and reach home by 7:30pm latest, have a quick dinner and then take a walk and come back home by around 9pm. After watching the news till about 9:30pm, I read a couple of pages of any book before calling it a night by 10pm.”
6. Roger Dragonette, Jazz Guitarist and Writer
We also talked to 70-year-old Pune-based Jazz guitarist and writer Roger Dragonette about how he starts and spends his day, this is what he shared with us – “My day starts with getting up at around 7 a.m., making tea for the family and then taking my doggie for a walk. Either my wife or I make breakfast, unless we decide to laze it and get the cook to make it when she saunters in. I work from home, but adhere to my office’s timings and switch on the computer at 9.30am. My wife runs a little nursery school, so she’s out soon after, and comes back at lunchtime. Generally, I work until 6.30pm, after which I take my dog for his evening walk, unless the day’s workload has been an bit much. In that case, I stretch out on a sofa in the hall and unwind, in between helping to run the house. These are times when my wife’s energy amazes me. We watch the popular TV serials almost every night, although when there is a live sport event like a football match I try to persuade the others to switch. Friends drop in on the weekends sometimes to share goodies and stories. Lights out at around midnight, though I find myself finding it hard to track down Mr Sandman these days, and lie like a zombie till such time, till it makes more sense to jump into bed.”
Finally, back in Mumbai, 36-year-old Sales Professional Amit Khanna usually starts his day with an early morning walk followed by a glass of milk, reading the newspaper, having breakfast and leaving for office by 8:30am.
He adds, “These days due to so much traffic I do not take the car as driving has become painful, so I usually take a taxi to office in Powai which takes me about an hour and a half to reach. Once I reach office by 10 am I start by writing the task for the day and then prioritising the same in hours so that I can complete my work and be more effective.”
Whenever he’s in office Amit tries and take a 5 min break after every 45 minutes to stretch and unwind and he wraps up his work by 6:30pm to head back home. Once home by 8pm, family time begins for Amit as he freshens up to spend time with his four-month-old son and enjoying a cup of tea. “Post 9 pm we usually watch couple of serials, news and have dinner by 10:30 pm and go to sleep by 11 pm.”
These examples of professionals from across the country on how they choose to start and wind down their day help us in understanding how they achieve their work and home life balance.
For those of you who’re yet to start or are contemplating a shift in your daily routine, maybe our feature can give you an idea of what shift can suit your professional and personal needs and increase your output.
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