For many of us, working from home has been an adjustment—and a revelation. To find out how area executives are faring, D CEO has been talking with them about what their life looks like amidst the change. Along with the fun stuff, they also share their ideas for maximizing business productivity and remote-working tools.
KENNETH HERSH, George W. Bush Presidential Center
TV/Movies: At the urging of my kids, I watched the entire set of episodes of Ozark. Well done, but quite dark. When I need something lighter, I fit in episodes of The Office to add a little levity and to remind me of how not to act in the office.
Podcasts: I am not a big podcast guy, not yet anyway. However, I do listen to all the episodes of The Strategist, the informative and entertaining podcast series put out by the Bush Center. I am really proud of the unique and relevant content we have to share. Check it out!
Music: I love my Spotify app. When I need to listen to music, I revert to the “Legendary” playlist in the Rock section. When I need background music to work or write, I love the “Piano Reading” playlist.
Books: I am afraid that I have not been able to complete a book during the shutdown. Seems like I have doubled my news periodicals and commentary list to read most days. I keep up with business, energy, politics, and geopolitics. By the end of the day, I’m too exhausted to get to my nightstand book.
Exercise: Walking the neighborhood, including the wonderful Katy Trail.
Other ways I’m passing the time: Passing time? What is that? It has been a busy time. The issues we face are real and pervasive, and I spend all my waking hours thinking about how best to advance our various initiatives.
My best remote-working tips: Take a pause each day to call an old friend. Everyone seems to be near their devices, so it has been really easy to call and great to reconnect. It allows some personal space in the day. Otherwise, being a workaholic is not conducive to working remotely.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned: How professional and dedicated the Bush Center team is. They all responded to the work from home challenge well and we have hardly missed a beat. Leadership is easy when you have great people around you. Oh, and I also learned how to change my print cartridge!
JENNY BOUCEK, Dallas Mavericks
TV/Movies: This Is Us, Homeland, Grace and Frankie, Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Doctor
Podcasts: David Epstein, Simon Sinek, Tim Keller, and TD Jakes
Music: I’ve been listening to Hillsong United—and toddler playlists.
Books: The Real Madrid Way, Range, The Danish Way of Parenting
Exercise: Running workouts on Peloton, NordicTrack bike, and walks with my 2-year-old
Other ways I’m passing the time: Catching up with friends and family on Facetime, exploring and teaching my toddler, learning to cook, connecting with and serving other coaches around the world, and seeking wisdom from successful people in all spheres of life.
My best remote-working tips: Have a routine and schedule designated time to do focused work every day.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned: Find and fight for the pace of grace in your life to be the best version of yourself.
BEN LAMM, Hypergiant Industries
TV/Movies: Right now, I’m catching up on Altered Carbon, Outer Banks, and The Expanse.
Podcasts: I’m not a huge podcast listener, but I do sometimes listen to podcasts while I’m walking or driving. Recently, I’ve been listening to classic podcasts like the Ted Radio Hour, S**ttown, and Joe Rogan. Okay, I really love Joe Rogan.
Books: I recently did a LinkedIn post on the books I’m reading and would like to recommend all of them here, too. For me, quarantine has been a time to do a lot of reading, thinking and working and these books have been a big part of that for me: Thinking in Systems, Donella H. Meadows, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Becky Chambers, The Ethical Imagination, Margaret Somerville, The Science of Interstellar, Kip Thorne, The Green New Deal, Jeremy Rifkin, Aurora Rising, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff, Extraterrestrial Languages, Daniel Oberhaus, and Wilding, Isabella Tree.
Exercise: Walking. I keep making loops around my neighborhood, but the fresh air is nice and it’s nice to slow down from my normally frantic routine. I’ll do nearly 8-10 miles of walking a day while on conference calls. I’ll lift weights in the morning a few days a week too and swim in the evenings when it has cooled down.
Other ways I’m passing the time: I’m really focused on work right now and taking care of my health, but I am working on two books. So, when I have down time, I spend it writing and thinking about those projects.
My best remote-working tips: When everyone isn’t working, it is your time to take advantage. I’m lucky in that I don’t have a lot of distractions in my home. So, I have been able to really push forward with the ideas and projects I’ve been working on. I think quarantine has been a hidden blessing for me (I know it isn’t for everyone); I’ve really enjoyed the time inside to focus and dive deeper on a number of topics.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned: Take advantage of the present. A lot of people are phased out at this moment or focused on other things. I didn’t. I just decided to use this moment to work on everything I really wanted, and I can already see that that work is starting to pay off.
BETH GARVEY, BG Staffing
TV/Movies: New seasons of Billions, Ozark and You’re Dead to Me!!
Music: My 25-year-old daughter is home from DC and quarantining with us, she’s our resident DJ which she always has to evaluate the “vibe” we’re looking for, I can honestly say I have no idea who the artist is, but it is always amazing.
Books: My 2020 personal goal was to read more this year, can’t say that I’m doing a good job achieving it with everything going on, but I have a great list of books identified (many recommended in this series) when I can carve out the time.
Exercise: Again, my 25-year-old is a great motivator on the exercise front. She has me working out with her on an app called Sweat and I joined another app Openfit for Pilates and Barre.
Other ways I’m passing the time: We’re building puzzles, having a game night, and nightly cocktail hours. So thankful for the family time!
My best remote-working tips: Stick to your schedule and lock yourself away if it is at all possible. Oh, and after nine weeks of WFH, I’ve decided every day can’t be a messy bun, makeup-free kind of day … or can it? When it comes to apps and tools, I love that our company is on Microsoft Teams; it has been the glue that is keeping us connected.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned: Professionally: It is more important than ever to develop a culture of trust in your organization, work from home is not going away, manage results and let your teams design their week so they can be successful. Personally: I’m grateful for time with family and so much appreciation for the essential workers who are not able to work from home. I hope that many lessons of humility and gratitude don’t get lost when we get back to whatever the new normal looks like.
ROGERS HEALY, The Rogers Healy Cos.
TV/Movies: I’m a music buff, so I’ve been watching a new music documentary every day. I’ve re-watched The Last Waltz and The History of the Eagles at least 97 times each. My greatest find during the past few months was a documentary called Once Were Brothers, made by good pal, Daniel Roher. This incredibly well-done movie was about the relationship of the members of The Band, and Robbie Robertson’s (their lead guitar player and songwriter) point of view.
Podcasts: Ed Young has a great podcast on leading as a Christian, and my church, HPUMC has a library of all their old sermons. I’m not a big podcast guy, since it’s hard to pull me away from music.
Music: The easiest answer would be all of it, but I’ll narrow it down to my top five because I believe everyone needs a top-five list with everything: The Eagles/Don Henley solo stuff, Van Morrison, The Temptations/David Ruffin solo stuff, The Band, and Boyz II Men. My bonus pick: Dallas’ own, Ray Johnston Band.
Exercise: My fiancée Abby and I start our days with a walk, and we are both avid Peloton users. As a real estate guy, I’ve learned so much by walking around different neighborhoods.
Other ways I’m passing the time: As you can’t tell by the theme of my answers, music is my hobby. I can’t sing, I can’t dance, and I can’t play an instrument, but I’ve been collecting music memorabilia since 1980 and I’ve found myself on eBay way too many times recently. Each night, we pick five new records to listen to. We all know the hit songs from famous bands, but we love discovering the B-side songs. It’s my escape, and thankfully I’ve got my fiancée’ hooked, too. Also, eating is fun. That has become a hobby.
My best remote-working tips: Stick with your routine, trick yourself on how to remain accountable, and avoid putting on pants at all costs. If you have dogs, keep them around you. If you don’t have dogs, get dogs yesterday. Have music going all day, pick up the phone and call a friend. Watch the news at specific times of the day, instead of having it on all day long. We have Vari office furniture at our offices and our homes, so we’re able to keep our creative flows going, whether we’re standing or sitting.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned: I can work from home, and I can be productive. For the past 19 years, I’ve been obsessed with having to be in my physical office, and being available during business hours, while wearing business clothes. As I type this, I’m in a Mizzen + Main polo shirt, while wearing workout shorts, a hat, and an aggressively thick mustache. My team and I have stayed connected thanks to technology and we plan on keeping this approach moving forward. Old dogs can learn new tricks, we just have to have the mindset to do so. Also, cooking isn’t as awful as I thought.
TERESA MACKINTOSH, TrinTech
TV/Movies: I’ve never watched much TV, so this has been a bizarre time to be able to binge on a few things that I have heard about from others. I’ve worked my way through Ozark, passed on the Tiger King (too over the top for me), and now I’m into Billions. I guess that I should add Arrow to the list. I can lose a few hours watching that with my 13-year-old son. My girlfriends and I have “made” our 16-year-old daughters watch most of the ’80s classics with us (Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller, etc.). I’m pretty sure they disagree on the word “classic”.
Music: I’m a big fan of country music, but my husband is firmly stuck in the early ’80s (think Prince “B” sides). I’m very thankful that we have Sonos that can play different music by zone. It’s an eclectic list that my family would agree on—the soundtrack of Hamilton, Post Malone, and Billy Joel. I have no idea how that happened.
Books: I think we are all inundated with webinars and information overload right now, so I use books as an escape and for pure entertainment. I guarantee that I will not get smarter reading anything on my list! I just started Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner, but I’m also a fan of lighthearted romcoms. With all of the unrest and turmoil in our country right now, I’m going to reread Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. It is a thought-provoking book about unconscious prejudice.
Exercise: Exercise is my constant, my meditation, and my self-care all wrapped up into one. I live stream and now attend some classes in person at The Barre Code Plano and fill in gaps with my elliptical machine or walking outside. Pickleball and the trampoline with my kids are also fair game. I’m obsessed with the activity rings on my Apple watch and will do unnatural and borderline absurd things to close them all every day. My current streak is 70 days!
Other ways I’m passing the time: Does wine consumption count as a hobby?
My best remote-working tips: Everyone says to stick with a schedule, still get dressed, and approach your workday with as much normalcy as possible. That is all true for me. I do, however, feel like we have perhaps over-corrected on video and that is creating mental exhaustion. I’m starting to convert more meetings back to phone-only.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned: Virtually everything is flexible and things that I never considered negotiable, are indeed negotiable. I’ve also learned to be more prescriptive about keeping my global team engaged in creative ways. We held a virtual scavenger hunt tournament using a platform called GooseChase that was epic. I now have a video collection of people doing silly TikTok dances, walking through restaurant drive-thru while pretending they are in a car, playing leapfrog … the list is hugely entertaining.
DALE PETROSKEY, Dallas Regional Chamber
TV/Movies: The entire series on John Adams; and every episode of Downton Abbey, Ken Burns’ Country Music series, and his Vietnam series.
Podcasts: Making Obama
Music: A mix of my favorite songs given to me as a gift by my daughter, Kathleen
Books: No time for books at the moment
Exercise: Walking for an hour each night
Other ways I’m passing the time: Playing golf on weekends
My best remote-working tips: Have a routine, and stick to it every day.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned: What interesting DRC teammates I work with by getting a view into their homes and their interests!
MERILLEE KICK, BuzzBallz/ Southern Champion
TV/Movies: Ozark, Breaking Bad, I tried watching Tiger King but just couldn’t take it.
Podcasts: I don’t do talk radio – I listen to music on Sirius XM, Pandora, Spotify.
Music: Sting, James Taylor, Rascal Flatts, Sade, Boccelli, Billy Joel.
Books: Chasing Stars by Boris Groysberg – Harvard Business School
Exercise: Carrying my wine glass to the chair, then carrying the empty bottle to the trash. Exhausting. But! I did open up Beth Shaw’s YogaFit, flipped through the pages, then went right back to my unhealthy ways.
Other ways I’m passing the time: Visiting my family, designing our building for tours, keeping up with social media, and I plan to go camping in my RV.
My best remote-working tips: Lots of coffee. Don’t watch TV. Get your work done. Help others out, do something nice. Some are so scared right now, and the news is always bad news, but look for a silver lining to boost someone up. We have to keep swimming and keep living. We’ll get through corona, and riots, and all the stuff life brings us, just in time to suffer through election coverage! Just keep swimming.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned: Relationships are key, and everything you do is a “people business.”
MATTIA FLABIANO, Page Think
TV/Movies: I’m not really a TV Show or binge-watching person but my wife and daughter (who came home for spring break and never went back) watched all seasons of the West Wing. My son and his wife (living with us since March 9) have been watching every new series between Netflix and Amazon Prime. I stroll through the den and catch pieces here and there, but mainly doing more reading or spring lake projects.
Podcasts: I’m mostly into TED Talks on design and architecture, specifically urban planning, density, and the modern city. This is now very interesting with the overlay of the pandemic challenging the ideas of urbanism, density, and mass transit. All the things we love about a walkable city and community are the very things that feed a virus. It is a very interesting dichotomy.
Music: I started playing ’70s classic rock again to reintroduce the kids to the music of their parents. Plus Jazz music for our cocktail cruises.
Books: I like thrillers where there is a long series of books building the characters. Authors such as Daniel Silva, Vince Flynn, Ted Bell, Lee Child, Ludlum, and Clancy. I always have two to three books going at the same time on my iPad, including The Man in the Glass House about Philip Johnson written by Mark Lamster.
Exercise: I have a daily regimen of pushups, sit-ups, and crunches, followed by riding the Peloton in Dallas, walking, or riding a bike when at the lake. I also play a little golf with my son.
Other ways I’m passing the time: I love cooking and grilling; it is a big chore planning meals for the last nine weeks with five of us all eating together with a variety of tastes from the meat-eaters to non. It is a tough day for the non-meat eaters when I fire up the smoker for brisket, ribs and pork butt! The best was perfecting pasta dishes; I now make a very good cacio e pepe. At the lake, there is always a project or chores to do or something to fix. I love my garage and tools.
My best remote-working tips: Keep a routine, and rule No. 1: Get out of your PJs. This has been our favorite saying every morning. Change your scenery, get up, walk around, get some water, or iced tea. For idea stimulation and time to think, ride the bike around the block, it’s good for the soul. If you think about the office, most people are moving around a lot, collaborating with your colleagues, getting coffee, or having formal and informal meetings. Recreate these breaks in your day to avoid just sitting in front of your computer.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned: Savor the time with family. You don’t really know how much you miss everyone being together until you have this extended time living back in the same home. It has been 10 years since all of us were under one roof, and in that time, we added a daughter-in-law to the crew.
PAIGE FLINK, The Family Place
TV/Movies: Schitt’s Creek is the funniest show on TV, The Last Dance about the greatest basketball player ever, and the YouTube series Some Good New,s because who doesn’t need some good news?
Music: We were so lucky to see John Prine on New Year’s Eve. The Angel from Montgomery wasn’t able to save this awesome singer-songwriter from COVID-19, so I’ve been listening to all of his music and reminiscing about his greatness.
Books: I just finished The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich. I’m trying to find the time to read a Mother’s Day gift from one of my sons: How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. We shall see.
Exercise: My gym, Equinox, released an app called Variis that has virtual classes similar to what they offer in the club. I also have enjoyed discovering some great yogis on YouTube. Cat Meffan and Boho Beautiful may have me mastering the crow pose by the end of shelter in place!
Other ways I’m passing the time: My husband Randy and I have been riding bikes. Finally, we have the time to discover the amazing trails we have in this city. My garden looks awesome, and I’ve baked so much bread. We were inspired by our younger son to project movies on the side of our garage and sit outside for a backyard drive-in. Animal House never looked so good.
My best remote-working tips: The mute button is your friend.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned: I learned that some people handle uncertainty easily in an ever-changing environment and others need structure and specific answers to keep them moving forward. Some people need constant watering like hydrangeas, and other people can live with little water like succulents. Both plants will die if you don’t have a plan to meet their specific needs. Understanding your team and knowing how to nurture each one of them before you face a crisis will help everyone thrive.
ADAM ZEITSIFF, Gold’s Gym
TV/Movies: My wife and I have recently binged through Season 3 of Ozark, Outer Banks, and Dead to Me on Netflix.
Podcasts: With everything going on right now, I’ve needed some levity in my life, so I have been tuning in to the weekly live Q&A and commentary broadcasts that Ricky Gervais has been hosting on Twitter. He really helps me laugh and not take myself so seriously for 30 minutes at a time.
Books: I’m reading just about every adorable baby book to my 9-month-old daughter each night during our bedtime routine.
Exercise: Working out in my garage with dumbbells, a bike, and my Gold’s AMP digital personal training app.
Other ways I’m passing the time: I recently set up a badminton net in the backyard and have been playing with the kids.
My best remote-working tips: It doesn’t matter if it really is “5 o’clock somewhere;” always make sure it is at least 5:01 p.m. where you are before pouring that first glass of wine.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned: Luckily, I learned the value and importance of doing a much better job of balancing my work and family life as a result of this crisis. I worked 12 to 15-hour days for much of the lockdown period, but yet I was able to form such a stronger bond with my wife, kids (and yes, even the dogs) by allocating time to them consistently throughout the day. This included quick visits in between calls, eating lunch in the kitchen with them instead of at my desk, and being focused and present during dinner and bedtime activities, knowing that my work will always be there for me after they are all in bed.
TIFFANY ZAMORA, Her HQ
TV/Movies: Ohh this is tough – The Office and Schitt’s Creek have been on repeat. Beyond excited for the new season of Queer Eye, and in light of the current political climate, I have been diving into some great films on Prime and Netflix, Just Mercy on Prime, Selma on Prime, When They See Us on Netflix to name a few.
Podcasts: I’m a huge fan of The Office and recently discovered The Office Ladies with Angela Kinsey & Jenna Fisher, which has been quite entertaining. Same as above, in light of the current political climate I’ve discovered some amazing podcasts that have been amazing resources during this time. To list a few: Good Ancestors, Co-Conspired Conversations, Speaking of Racism, Seeing White, Combing the Roots with Ally Henny, #TellBlackStories, School Colors, The Stoop, At Liberty, Therapy for Black Girls, Pod Save The People, and Momentum: A Race Forward.
Music: I discovered the Lo-Fi Cafe station on Spotify; it’s a mix of vibey chill instrumental songs but it immediately gets me in the zone and in a focused headspace. Highly recommend!
Books: I have found it difficult to immerse myself in books throughout the quarantine… that is until recently when we brought back our Her.HQ Book Club in May and read The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey. It was such a beautiful read that I got completely lost in. Now, I’m doing all I can to learn, listen, and educate myself on our country’s history, political structure, and racial injustice. I’ve picked up Women, Race, & Class by Angela Davis and So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and looking forward to reading those.
Exercise: Plenty of dog walks and IGTV! Class Studio and TruFusion have been hosting a series of great live workouts, that have me breaking a sweat!
Other ways I’m passing the time: I took up a UX/UI design class over UDEMY, started embroidering again, been spending a lot of time tending to my indoor garden, and cooking/baking up a storm!
My best remote-working tips: Establish a routine to allow your mind to focus. The days where I wake up late, skip my lemon water, hang out in my pajamas a bit too long—those are the days where I find it hard to get back into a focus.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned: I have come to realize just how important and valuable a healthy relationship with myself is. Like many of us had, I found myself facing my fears head on—the ones directly associated with loss and stress and it’s definitely an eye-opening/life-changing experience for me.
TREY COX, Gibson Dunn
TV/Movies: I got sucked into the Tiger King during the early days, but have moved on to catching up on Billions.
Music: Pandora thumbs up playlist, with all my favorites.
Books: Jonah Catalyst’s How to Change Anyone’s Mind, Crushing It!, How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too
Exercise: My garage gym. I have a rower, assault back, barbell, a rope hung from the ceiling, and the mean streets of University Park. I have gone back to good old CrossFit
Other ways I’m passing the time: We have been taking the whole family to the lake house every weekend for a change of pace and different environment.
My best remote-working tips: Keep a normal structured schedule. Get up at the same time, work at the same time, workout at the same time, and conduct your day like a normal day.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned: The new school schedule has allowed my wife and I to take an hour-long walk every morning. It has been great; we have had more uninterrupted talk time in the last 60 days than we have in the last two years.