The Small Habit That Helps Valerie Wong Fountain Stay Productive and Organized

In her Thrive Questionnaire, the Managing Director at Morgan Stanley shares her favorite mindfulness exercise, her morning time-saver, and the smart way she prioritizes when she has a full plate.

Gold House, the largest nonprofit collective of Asian cultural leaders that accelerates the inclusive representation and empowerment of Asians, announces its third annual A100 List to celebrate Asians and Asian American & Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and their transformative contributions to society. The seminal 2020 A100 commences Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by spotlighting the 100 most esteemed and impactful Asians in entertainment and media, fashion and lifestyle, technology, business, and social activism. Meet this year’s Honorees at A100List.com.

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. Below, Valerie Wong Fountain talks about playing golf to stay mindful, how she saves time in the morning, and why she swears by making a list of tasks and projects.

Thrive Global: What’s your secret life hack?

Valerie Wong Fountain: My secret life hack is surrounding myself with high quality family and friends who inspire and motivate me, but most importantly, provide support as well.  I try to avoid unreliable people and those who focus on the negative.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

VWF: If it is in the morning or afternoon, I walk to a bakery and treat myself to a pastry or dessert. Hopefully, I burn off all the calories on the 15 minute walk!

TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?

VWF: First, I write down a list of tasks and projects.  Then, I quickly knock out anything that takes less than 5 minutes to do, whether by doing it myself or delegating it to someone else – it feels great to check off a completed task.  Next, I prioritize the remaining items and put together a project plan for each.  Finally, I roll up my sleeves and get to work — the sooner I tackle each, the sooner it is off my list.

TG: What’s your personal warning sign that you’re depleted?

VWF: I know that I’m depleted when I have zero desire to socialize with family or friends.  I refill the tank by carving out some important me time.

TG: What’s a surprising way you practice mindfulness?

VWF: I have never been good at traditional mindful activities such as meditation or yoga.  My mind is always racing when I feel like I am not being active or making progress.  Instead, I practice mindfulness on the golf course through the game of golf.  I love spacing out and letting instinct take over on the golf course – hopefully, hitting fairways and greens.

TG: What brings you optimism?

VWF: I am inspired by young people at the beginnings of their careers who dream big and are ready to change the world.  This is why I enjoy mentoring students and young professionals, they have a kind of blank slate energy and enthusiasm that allows them to focus on opportunity, rather than obstacles.

TG: What’s your secret time-saver in the morning?

VWF: I check the weather and select my outfit the night before so I don’t spend 20 minutes changing three to five times in the morning.  I pick out everything from my clothing to accessories (jewelry, shoes, handbag, etc).

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    The Thrive Global Questionnaire//

    The Powerful Lesson Leo Wong Learned From a Major Turning Point In His Life

    by Leo Wong
    Community//

    Social Impact Heroes: How Lisa Sasaki of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center is helping to bring the stories of Asian Pacific Americans to the public

    by Yitzi Weiner
    The Thrive Global Questionnaire//

    The Simple Phrase That Helps Phillip Lim Course-Correct From Stress

    by Philip Lim

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.