Calm Questionnaire: Anne-Laure Le Cunff — Calm Blog
Anne-Laure Le Cunff has always been fascinated with the mind and how it works. In fact, she left a career in tech to launch Ness Labs, a neuroscience-based website centered on creativity. On the new Calm series The Spark, she discusses how to bring a mindful approach to work and productivity. We also took some time to learn how Anne-Laure stays calm and focused in a busy world:
My morning ritual involves: Making myself a cup of tea and stretching while it cools down. Then, I take a Post-It note and write what I want to accomplish that day. I try to always keep that list short.
My work-at-home staples include: A laptop stand, a wireless keyboard, and a giant mouse pad. The number one complaint I hear from people working from home is how their back hurts. It’s 100% worth it to invest in equipment that helps you naturally sit right.
One piece of advice when it comes to being productive: Take care of your mental health. Sometimes, we become so obsessed with being productive that we forget to take a break and breathe. We are not robots. We need (mental and physical) fuel to be productive.
Pick a superpower: It’s going to sound creepy, but I would love to be able to converse with dead people. Imagine having a conversation with Albert Einstein, [NASA mathematician] Katherine Johnson, or Marie Curie!
Beach, mountain, or city? I live in the city, but I’m definitely a mountain person. My two favorite experiences ever were climbing Kilimanjaro and hiking in the mountains of Patagonia in Argentina. The stillness and timelessness of mountains give me a deep feeling of peacefulness.
What’s on heavy rotation when it comes to music? Lately, I have been listening to a playlist on Spotify called “All about 50’s”—I probably listened to it a hundred times already. I didn’t think I would enjoy old school music this much, but that playlist never fails to make me feel energized.
One movie that automatically puts me in a good mood: Little Miss Sunshine! Just thinking about that movie puts me in a good mood.
My bucket list includes: Israel, New Zealand, and climbing Argentina’s Aconcagua mountain, which is the highest peak outside of Asia.
What is one activity you find meditative? Heraclitus supposedly once said: “You cannot step into the same river twice, for other waters are continually flowing on.” Besides meditation itself, I think there is nothing more meditative than putting your feet in a river or a stream, and watching the water flow. That’s one of my favorite things to do when I go on a hike.
When I need to blow off steam: Igo for a run. I’m probably one of the most conflicted people about running. I find it incredibly boring, but it’s also important to my mental health. It’s actually a good barometer: If I run a lot, it means I have a lot on my mind. If I meditate a lot, it usually means I’m in a good place.
My sleep ritual involves: I plug my phone in the living room. Then, if I have an early meeting, I turn on the alarm on my analog clock on the bedside table. Forbidding myself from bringing a phone in the bedroom has been one of the best decisions I have made this year. I light some candles and read a book for a while. When my eyelids get heavy, I know it’s time to go to sleep.
A motto I live by: “Fail like a scientist.” Each failure is an opportunity to learn. As Thomas Edison put it: “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work.”
Tune in to The Spark for more inspiration.