After becoming part of a CEO group, Dean DeSantis decided to commit to a morning routine where the group has helped hold him accountable.
“My first rule is that I leave my phone on the charger outside of my bedroom and I don’t look at it until I’m done with my morning routine,” says DeSantis, president of DeSantis Landscapes in Oregon. “First thing is I make my bed. It feels good to accomplish a small task like this to begin the day. I then do some yoga poses, three sun salutations followed by 30 situps and 15 pushups. I then do 10 minutes of meditation; I use the Calm app. Finally, I take just a couple of minutes to write down one thing that I am grateful for and a list of top priorities or things I hope to accomplish for the day.” Here is DeSantis’ average day.
My wife is a fantastic cook and she enjoys making healthy meals for us. She makes an awesome homemade granola for me so that’s my go-to most mornings with a cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice. I will scan my emails, check the news and scroll through social media while I’m eating breakfast.
We have four locations around the Salem-Portland area and I split my time between these shops, so my commute is anywhere between 30-75 minutes depending on which direction I’m headed that day. I listen to a variety of things on my commute, from various podcasts to audiobooks, local music or news radio.
I’m usually in the office around 8 a.m. First thing I do is go around and greet the front office staff, check in on their day, ask how their family is, talk about sports or other small talk. I’m usually jumping into meetings right after that most mornings.
Most of my mornings are dedicated to regular weekly meetings at the various offices. I used to lead or co-lead most of these meetings but as we’ve grown, we have moved toward our team leaders leading them, which has been great in freeing up my time and spreading the leadership responsibilities throughout the organization. I still often attend these meetings but am more free and flexible if I have other things I need or want to take care of or be involved in.I go to lunch at 11:30 to 12, usually with a group of 3-5 people from the office I’m at that day. We mix it up quite a bit and will go to a variety of different restaurants, Mexican, Thai, Japanese, Mediterranean, Hawaiian are all common lunch options. Afternoons are pretty varied. I do site visits to visit with crews and see how construction projects are coming along. I often will meet with outside consultants or team members working on special projects or tasks. I always enjoy riding along with our salespeople when they are meeting with key clients or looking at special projects. Afternoons are also a time when I do most of my financial reviews or dig into some job costing to see how we’re performing in the various sectors we’re working in and if there are any areas that need extra attention.
I usually leave the office around 5 p.m. My afternoon commute is usually music time. I’m a big fan of Americana or roots music, classic rock, alternative. If it’s been a particularly stressful day, I’ll probably tune into the classical station to soothe and calm me down.
I usually go to bed between 10 to 11 p.m. I collect vinyl records, so I spend most of my evenings listening to music. I’m also a sports fan so I’ll often watch games but have the TV on without the sound and listen to records. I’ll often read trade magazines or business journals at night, too, or catch up on any work I didn’t finish up during the workday.
I don’t typically do much business work on the weekends. I enjoy working in my vegetable garden or around our wooded 5-acre property. My wife and I bought a converted sprinter van last summer so we’ve been having a great time taking off on spontaneous weekend trips in the van to explore the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I also just recently started fly fishing, so I’ve been having a great time learning how to cast, finding good fishing spots and just being out on our local rivers and streams.