As the founder and chief executive of Bonobos, Andy Dunn, 30, lives the hectic life of an entrepreneur. From back-to-back meetings to tracking his Fitbit, Mr. Dunn has been trying to carve out more “me time.” Here is his (not always successful) strategy for balancing life and work.
Yoga and Tennis
One thing I learned from my mom and my wife is that even exercising 20 or 30 minutes in the morning is enough. My mom is an immigrant; she was born in a refugee camp in India, and she has an incredible work ethic. So I do three or four laps around Washington Square Park, and then I stop at the benches and do push-ups and dips. There’s a sandlot across from the small-dog park (they are always barking more than the big dogs) where I do some stretching and light yoga.
I actually got the routine from a tennis instructor I had from McCarren Park, but who has since moved to Miami. On good mornings, like today, I go to McCarren Park to play tennis. This is a recent thing, and it’s a hike to get there. I played doubles in high school, but I hadn’t picked up a racket in 20 years. My wife got me back into it. She’s made my life immeasurably better.
Skip the Bacon
My wife is a Brazilian Jew from Rio; I converted to Judaism in February. She changed to veganism because of its environmental impact. My mom comes from a Sikh tradition, and she became a vegetarian. Then it was my dad and father-in-law. I was the last one to fall, so to speak. I used to love to eat meat. Especially in New York we have so many incredible options. Now in the morning, I drink a lot of coffee — one of my vices — and then usually have vegan eggs and avocado, plus some sort of cereal mix. Puffins is the greatest cereal since Corn Pops.
I have a new Goby toothbrush that I’m a big fan of. Then I have Kiehl’s products. The regimen is a fairly new thing. It blew my mind that you need multiple products to do it. I have the Kiehl’s facial wash that’s blue and comes in a clear bottle, a plain witch hazel toner and then Kiehl’s moisturizer. I have finally learned that I put the one with SPF on for day and the one without for night.
‘Wannabe Steve Jobs’
I don’t have a crazy amount of closet space. I decided less is so much more. I have a six-foot-wide closet with maybe a total of 50 to 60 items in it. Working in fashion, you just have so much clothing. You’re thinking about clothes all the time. So I go to Goodwill every two weeks and clean stuff out. I often like to dress in a navy theme. Sometimes, it’s a navy shirt, navy denim and navy tux jacket. That’s my wannabe Steve Jobs outfit. I love to mix in tux jackets when I can because I feel like life is a party in some ways.
I wear a Fitbit and I have a 10,000-step goal. I was in L.A. recently and walked a total of 42 steps in one day. In New York, I love to walk to work in the Flatiron and back. Including a day of walking around, I’ve made my goal.
Stick to the Schedule
One of my recent initiatives is to keep the day on time. If I’m in the office, I’m usually in back-to-back meetings. If one of them gets pushed back, then I have a mountain of email that needs going through. Lunch is the other thing I’m learning is important. I spent years and years just skipping lunch, but now I’m making time for it. One of my favorite spots: There’s a diner on 25th called Johny’s, which according to Foursquare is the highest rated diner in New York. It’s also a great place for a meeting.
One of the best pieces of leadership advice I got and am challenged to follow: Great leaders spend a lot of time alone. When you’re alone is when you can think, reflect, write, read, dream. That enables you to show up better when you do have to show up to group settings. I’d love to tell you I do that successfully, but the life of a start-up C.E.O. is so frenetic. I’m also highly extroverted, which sometimes doesn’t help.
But now, rather than doing the treadmill of dinner and drinks after work all the time, I’ve been getting pretty aggressive about making sure I get unstructured free time at home. I watch movies. I recently became a chess addict, which I was in high school. I’m getting back in touch with the person I was when growing up. And I’ll just block time in my calendar as free time. I’m not rushing to the office for the sake of being there.