Arianna Huffington

Okay, Potatoheads, full disclosure: Arianna Huffington makes us feel unproductive. As founder and former EIC of the Huffington Post, syndicated columnist, author of two majorly inspiring books, and an advocate for equality in the workplace, this woman makes us consistently ask ourselves, “What are we doing with our lives?”

Huffington is the kind of mover and shaker we’ve always idolized. Not to mention her brand, Thrive Globalis all about prioritizing personal wellness in order to be most productive; making the every elusive work/life balance actually seem achievable. In Thrive’s newest collaboration with Quaker, there’s been a premium put on making mornings more joyful and productive, which is something we all no doubt strive for on a day-to-day basis.

We sat down with Huffington to talk about what makes for good content, why we need to try for balance in our work lives, and how to silence our inner critics. See below for the interview we’re particularly proud of this week…

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

I’ve always loved oatmeal. I went to school at Cambridge in London, and of course oatmeal is a very British breakfast food. I love a cup of Bulletproof Coffee in the morning, oatmeal, and two poached eggs. That’s an ideal breakfast for me. I get my protein, I get my healthy carbohydrates, and I get my coffee.

I don’t really get hungry until after lunch, so if I have lunch out I like some sort of salad. It could be a Cobb Salad but without bacon or blue cheese (I don’t like blue cheese), so when I order it I have a long list of things I want it without. Lots of greens with a little bit of protein is my ideal lunch.

If I get hungry during the day I love almonds, pecans, or walnuts. I drink tons of water with lemon and Green Tea throughout the day. I absolutely adore coffee, but I stop drinking it at 2pm so that I can sleep.

And then for dinner again, I love salads. My children laugh at me because lettuce is my favorite food – with a great vinaigrette, dressing, or sauce. If I feel like something sweet, I’ll have a baked apple or dates. I’ve kind of given up white sugar; I have an addictive personality, so I can’t just have a bite. If I’m at a dinner it’s easier for me to just say no to the dessert than these people that have more self control, who just take one bite. I see these people and I say “Who are you? How can you have one bite? That’s a real talent!” For me, it’s much easier to not have it in front of me.

How do you personally always start your day off right? What are your words to yourself upon waking up?

I start the day with ten minutes of meditation and breathing. I don’t have any set words, but after my breathing, I take another minute to set my intention for the day. This is a great way to start the morning, and it stays with you all day. The key is to do it before you reach for your phone. 

In a world inundated with so much content, what’s your personal definition of good content?

It’s got to engage the reader. And that can mean entertaining, inspiring, motivating, and/or informing. But time is a very special thing, and if you’re asking for someone’s time, it should be for something worthwhile.

What do you think the future of publishing and content looks like?

We’re obviously in a time of transition right now, as are many industries. But in many ways, this is a golden age of journalism. There’s no shortage of great work being done, and there’s no shortage of people hungering for it. There are also a lot of business models trying to connect the former with the latter. And I think that no one model is going to be the silver bullet of the future. Sure, there are challenges, but because the demand for narrative and stories and great reporting has never been higher, I’m optimistic.

What’s been the best advice you’ve ever received? The worst?

One of the best pieces of advice came from my mother, who would always say, “Don’t Miss the Moment.” That’s increasingly important in today’s screen-filled digital age.

The worst advice often comes from ourselves – that voice of doubt I call “the obnoxious roommate” living in our heads. We can never fully get rid of them, but it’s important to refuse to take their chatter to heart.

What’s one piece of advice would you give young, motivated women who’d like to be entrepreneurs?

To, as best they can, not abide by the prevailing culture of macho burnout, which was largely put in place by men. The costs of this culture of overwork and sleep deprivation fall most heavily on women, and it becomes a back door way of keeping women from rising in the work place. So as you succeed, do what you can to change this culture, which will allow more women to come up after you.

What issue are you most passionate about right now and why?

Our global epidemic of burnout and stress. It’s not only costing billions of dollars to economies around the world, but the human costs – in terms of our physical and mental health – are also enormous. And this is to say nothing of the opportunity costs for people living stressed out, unfulfilled, unhappy lives.

Have you read our interview with Katie Couric? Also check out our interview with Tamron Hall.