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Cory Booker
Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, and U.S. Senator-elect

Most Productive People: Cory Booker

Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, and U.S. Senator-elect

Cory Booker

Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, and U.S. Senator-elect

"I'm a guy who's always trying to pack as much as I can into a single day. I'm going to fill every minute of my day. I wish I could say I have a set routine.

I try to end each day with a clear plan of where I'm going to go the next day, which is challenging, because much of a mayor's job is reactive, and you've got to deal with incoming issues as well as the strategy you're pushing forward. It means getting up in the morning and knowing that I'm trying to get this big developer to come here, so I have to make these 10 calls about financing or negotiating with the unions. But having a blueprint also helps you to be flexible enough that you're able to jump out of a car and deal with a situation as you see it.

As I've gone through these eight years as mayor, my time management has evolved. I think impatience is actually a very good quality to have. An hour meeting usually doesn't have to be an hour--it can really be 15 minutes or over the phone. I'll view a crime report on the dashboard on my computer and, for example, see that [the number of] robberies in the second precinct isn't where it should be, so when I have a meeting about that, it's much more precise and focused.

If I've got three minutes between this call and the next, I can check my Twitter feed. Social media gives me another way to be productive: I can survey and engage with thousands of people like I couldn't before. There are times, like a couple months ago, when somebody tweets you at 10 or 11 at night and says, 'There's a dog trapped out here,' and it gives you the ability to be a first responder. If a traffic light is out, I can crowdsource info from my followers and find out about it before my traffic engineers. If there's a water-main break, I find out about it before my water department.

I think it's important to get rid of distraction and miscellaneous choices. When I get up in the morning, I don't have a million clothing items to choose from. In all sincerity, throughout my entire senatorial campaign--and my communications circuit is going crazy right now--if you look at the shoes I'm wearing, it's really the same pair over and over again. The more you limit your choices, thereby limiting thought, the more you can simplify your life and focus your energy elsewhere."


Time he gets up:

6 a.m. "If I didn't get everything done the night before, I'll get up earlier. If I stayed up way too late, I'll push snooze."

First thing he does each morning:

Meditate and pray, "even if it's just for a minute or two."

Apps and other assists:

"I have a BlackBerry and an iPhone on me at all times."

Philosophy:

"If you have a task to do, connect it to your overall passion or goal. Otherwise, you're not going to be able to tick it off and move on to the next thing."

Last thing he does each night:

"Clear my mind and focus on what the next day holds."

Time he goes to bed:

"I don't go to bed at the same time every night. Every day has different demands."

[Photo by Martin Schoeller | August]

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5 Comments

  • Damis

    Great job, J.J.! Booker has to be one of the most busy people in America right now, so your interviewing him was apt.

  • guest

    I agree with mhensgen, can we please keep political figures and political commentary out; the 24 hour news cycle gives us enough of these figures, both liberal and conservative. This is increasing with all publications I read, including several other major magazines. Stick to the old table manners rule; no politics or religion.

  • zschmiez

    Probably should have both sides, but I disagree that they should leave out politicians. The public would benefit from seeing them as common people who make choices, mistakes, have help, etc. and not holding all politicians, good or bad, on a pedestal to either bath with adoration, or call out when they pick their nose.

    Besides, he may be a mayor now, but at one time he was a football player, then a Rhodes Scholar. these practices may have helped him then too.

  • mhensgen

    Is it just me or is FC introducing an increasingly ideological (and waaaay Leftward) bent to many of their pieces...sure, Booker's an "anointed one" for the Democrat party, but there are MANY very productive Repubs, as well. If FC was evenhanded they'd just avoid all politicos, but "no." You're being kinda obvious guys.

  • Guest

    looks like the mayor's got some coffee or nicotine stains on his teeth. nothing a routine dental cleaning couldn't take care of.