This Entrepreneur Turns Answering Emails into a Fun Game

He also says Tim Ferris' book transformed his life and career.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What's the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Carter Comstock: The first thing I do every morning is put on headphones and listen to a guided meditation. Before I added meditation into my morning routine, I'd spend my entire day in reactive mode. Now, being able to ground and center myself in the morning allows me to be in a different and more productive mindset throughout the course of my day. Meditation has a snowball effect for me - I get more out of my workout and then get to the office early, which makes me feel accomplished and ready to take on anything!

TG: What gives you energy?
CC: For me, it’s all about consistent basic habits, such as clean eating, plenty of sleep, exercise, and meditation. When something feels off, there’s a good chance I’m slacking in one of those core departments. On tougher days, I sometimes feel, “I really don’t have it today,” but then I think about all of the people who get up every day and make Freshly work, the customers who rely on us, the investors who bet on Freshly, and I truly draw a ton of energy from that.

TG: What's your secret life hack?
CC: I’m definitely a lifehacker by nature, but my best hacks aren’t really secrets. There isn’t one hack, but rather, I find a bunch of little ones add up. I think we all wish there was one simple answer that would solve all our problems, but for me, it boils down to 3 things: building my life around good habits, surrounding myself with kind, smart, ambitious people (I truly believe you become the average of the people around you), and making sure my perspective represents who I want to be as a person (positive self-talk is key).

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
CCThe Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris has probably shaped my life more than any other book. I read it for the first time in college and it completely changed the way I looked at life, managed my time, and defined “success.” This helped me focus on spending most of my time doing things I love with people I love and less time doing things that don’t make me feel fulfilled and happy. You don’t have to wait until you’re done “working” to start living.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
CC: I love my phone because it’s such an incredible tool and allows me to do what I do, but I also value mindfulness and being present so my phone can really challenge me. I keep it out of sight or face down when I'm talking with people, and I try to take some time away from electronics every day - try being the important word there.

TG: How do you deal with email?
CC: I could get stuck in my inbox all day so I try to limit the number of times I look at it in the day. I like to gamify email a bit, too! I’ll set a timer and I’ll see how many emails I can get done in a certain window, then try to beat it the next time. “Inbox Zero” sounds like a dream (or a bad movie about a robot takeover) but I’ve had to learn to be OK with the fact that I am not going to get to everything.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
CC: While it’s likely that it ends up going back into work, I do try to schedule in time to meditate or take a walk around the block to break up the day and get my blood flowing so I can be more focused and productive!

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
CC: I went home to visit my family once, and I was so pumped to spend time with them. When I got there, I realized I was on empty - my family wanted to hike, bike and do active things, but I was beyond exhausted. It was a good reminder that I need time to reset and recover, and I now try to check in with myself regularly. My goal is to bring the best version of myself to work every day, and avoiding burnout is a big part of that. If I feel it coming on, I make adjustments as much as I can to my routine.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
CC: To me, failing means you’re getting closer to something great. The most successful people in any trade are the people that failed the most and learned from it. At Freshly, we launch new meals regularly, and put months of work into each one—from planning to testing to tasting to training to making the meal. We might think we have a winner, but when it doesn’t resonate with our customers, we’re ready to act by tweaking the meal in real-time through our kitchen technology or replacing it. We’re not afraid of that, and it informs our next steps and our next winners.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
CC: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle

Carter Comstock is the Chief Innovation Officer and co-founder of Freshly. Comstock brings to Freshly his passion for health and fitness combined with years of experience in business. As CIO, Comstock oversees nutrition and recipe development, leading the charge to deliver great tasting, high-quality and nutrient-rich meals directly to customers’ doorsteps. 

Technology, Success, Sleep, Productivity, Morning Routines, Mindfulness, Meditation, Family, Thrive Questionnaire

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