Jeffrey Zurofsky has the distinction of being one of the select restaurateurs who has not only survived the harsh New York City restaurant business but has figured out how to make a name for himself.
Along with his business partners, including celebrity chef Tom Collicchio, he cofounded the gourmet sandwich chain ‘wichcraft and the fine-dining restaurant Riverpark and its accompanying urban farm. The two also co-host the new Bravo television series “Best New Restaurant.”
Zurofsky tells Business Insider that part of his success is due to the sustained energy he gets from the huge, carefully concocted breakfast he eats each morning and the routines that surround it. “I’m an animal about my rituals,” he says.
He likes to think of his morning ritual starting the night before. Before going to bed sometime between midnight and 2 a.m., he writes out his to-do list for the next day on a small slip of paper that he can carry around. The small size also ensures that he keeps his list focused.
Then he’ll go through his emails, replying to the most important and moving important but non-urgent messages to a folder that he’ll go through when he starts work the next morning. He also gives his calendar a quick look.
He makes sure to eat two scoops of almond butter before calling it a day, a trick that “4-Hour Workweek” author (and Zurofsky’s favourite writer) Tim Ferriss recommends as a way to provide sustainable blood sugar while sleeping. Ferriss found that for him, it “eliminated at least 50% of ‘feel like shit'” awakenings.
After Zurofsky wakes up at 5:30 a.m. (he makes up for the limited sleep with a nap later in the day), he walks his dog and does some exercise, whether it’s running, a workout, or squash. He follows it up with meditation, and then he’s ready for an intense meal.
He changes up the cuisine and preparation of his breakfast each morning, but it always contains 1,000 calories and 30 grams of protein. It includes the following:
- 1 cup of legumes (here’s an extensive list of ones you can buy)
- Assorted vegetables
- Meat or poultry
- Green juice with ginger
Zurofsky showers after breakfast and then walks or bikes to work, often listening to an ebook during the commute. When he arrives at the office sometime between 7:30 and 8:30, he gets through two hours of uninterrupted work before he takes any meetings or calls.
The point of this structured, approximately two-hour morning ritual is to build sustainable energy and diminish stress.
“It’s just about keeping your mind clear and staying focused on the most important work of the day,” he says.
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