Penelope Trunk is an author, entrepreneur, and the founder of Quistic, providing online courses designed to help you build a career.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Do what you love. Here’s why that’s stupid advice.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

My whole childhood was dark. I was removed from my parents’ house when I was 15. It took me twenty years to understand why I was removed; kids can normalize anything. Now I trust myself that I can handle anything. Now I know that “handling” something doesn’t mean being unphased by it, but rather it means that I am a better person for it.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

Set goals and meet them and do it again.

What is your morning routine?

I started coaching people at 7am so that I would have to get out of bed. So I get up when they call, I do a coaching session and then I try to work in between taking care of my kids.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Shutting up. I have Aspergers and I always think what I want to say is so important. That’s an annoying thing about me. I’m trying to be more quiet.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

Vodka shots. Vyvanse. Ten chocolate bars. Whatever I need to do to get through the day. I am the sole breadwinner for my family and I homeschool my kids. I find the productivity advice is useless when you’re dealing with kids all day. Productivity is not a deep enough goal for kids.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?

I tell myself the terribleness will pass. And I keep taking my pills.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. It taught me that people most enjoy reading stories that are real, and have messy endings

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

I tell myself all the time that high earners go to the gym regularly. That research is true. And that’s how I get myself to the gym.