Janet Rowse
Paul Wellman

Janet and Randy Rowse may be best known as the owners of Paradise Café, which the husband-and-wife team has operated for the past 36 years. But Janet has also championed several important education initiatives throughout her career. She served on the board of directors for the Santa Barbara High School Education Foundation, and on elementary, secondary, and GATE parent advisory committees in the S.B. Unified School District for 14 years.

These days, Janet is most passionate about SafeLaunch, the primary prevention nonprofit she began a decade ago. To accomplish everything she does, she’s turned to some very useful productivity hacks.

How do you define a successful day? A perfect day is one that’s balanced — one where I meet my health and work goals, spend time with people I care about, and make progress on SafeLaunch. SafeLaunch is my big dream, and I started it 10 years ago with a couple of friends. Our children had just about graduated high school, and it was crystal clear that teen drug exposure is a problem that we haven’t been able to solve. … The overdose epidemic has underscored the critical need. Of the 72,000 people who died from overdose last year alone, 90 percent were exposed to alcohol or other drugs as minors.

Because most parents don’t know much about brain development, or the risk of alcohol and other drugs to their child’s brain, we’re focused on parent education. (Check out more at safelaunch.org).

What else defines a successful day? Taking pictures from an airplane! One of SafeLaunch’s most unique programs involves flying a Cessna to aviation events and letting kids paint her. While they’re painting, we talk with their parents about how to keep their families safe from drugs and addiction.

We’ve also memorialized the names of more than 300 young people who have died from drug-related deaths under the wings of the plane. The parents of these children want every parent to know that it can happen to them.

What is your #1 time-saving hack? Saying no … to distractions and sometimes to invitations. SafeLaunch is a paperless organization, which means that I spend a lot of time at the computer. Technology is a huge time-saver, but it also steals time. To reduce distractions, I make sure all notifications are turned off on my other devices when I’m working on a deadline.

Name something you do now that you wish you had started earlier in your career? When I was in college, I took ground school but not flight lessons. Fast-forward 30 years, and I now find myself in the right seat of an airplane pretty often. I love it. Had I known then how much I would love flying, I would have gotten my license back then. That said, I don’t regret my choices. Everything happens for a reason.

How do you “go to the beach” during your work day? I’m fortunate to work from home and live within walking distance of the ocean. So I can literally take a beach break. But if there’s not time for that, I move my body and practice intentional breathing. Also, I’m very close to my mom, so I take daily breaks by calling her. (Hi, Mom!)

Bonus Question: What is your ultimate productivity tool that you cannot live without? Google Docs and Trello!

Sara Caputo transforms how individuals, teams, and small businesses navigate workflow and increase productivity. Her work has been featured in Working Woman, Success, and Forbes, as well as other national and regional publications. She can be reached at sara@saracaputoconsulting.com.


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