Can Carrots on Tuesdays help you Focus?

Posted by martin.parnell |

As someone who works as an author and speaker my days are pretty varied. For most of the time I work alone and the rest of my days are spent making individual and conference calls or going to meetings with clients. My speaking engagements are usually in the evenings and my writing can be done wherever I happen to be, as long as I have my computer. Most days, I can fit in my running and other exercise and don’t even have to leave the house. I don’t have a set routine. 

But, for some people having a set routine is essential to getting their work done. It helps them prioritise and avoids procrastination. They can determine times of day when they are most productive and by keeping to a routine it relieves the mental stress of when to do certain tasks. 

However, there are people who take having a routine to another level. A recent article, posted by staff on the Love Money website, entitled  The world’s most successfulpeople's surprising workplace habits tells us about some company leaders who have quite diverse routines which helps them concentrate on their work. These include what they wear, what they eat and other little idiosyncrasies. 

Here are just a few of them: 

Many top bosses choose to simplify their work day by opting for a 'uniform'. Fashion designer Michael Kors, for instance, likes to sport the same style of black crewneck sweater every day. Other successful people who appear to wear the same clothes to work every day include Mark Zuckerberg, Segway inventor Dean Kamen, Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld and director/producer Christopher Nolan. 

Dr. Anna Akbari, the founder of,  keeps things simple by eating the exact same breakfast and lunch every day, which helps her free up time for more important decision-making. The late Steve Jobs had a similar approach and would often eat the same foods for weeks on end. At one time, the Apple CEO's skin reportedly turned orange from eating too many carrots. 

Jack Dorsey, the Twitter co-founder and CEO of Square, works ridiculously long hours but manages his time super-effectively by theming his days. Monday is Dorsey's management day for instance, while Tuesday is devoted to product development. 

Mark Parker, the CEO of Nike, has a little trick to ensure he's using both sides of his brain during brainstorming sessions, meetings and so on. The sportswear boss uses a notebook in which he devotes pages on the left-hand side to formal business note-taking and the right-hand pages to sketch whimsical creative doodles. 

Dan Brown, bestselling author, has a unique way of coming up with ideas when he's working on his novels. The Da Vinci Code writer hangs upside down. Brown is a big fan of so-called 'inversion therapy' and believes he comes up with his best story ideas while hanging precariously on his trusty inversion table. 

Although many successful CEOs will mull over ideas while sitting comfortably at their desks, Virgin boss Richard Branson likes to walk around to generate his best ideas. Branson's way of working is actually backed up by science. A study conducted by Stanford University researchers in 2014 found that people's creative output increased by 60% when they were walking.” 

I’m not suggesting you change your wardrobe or eating habits and I, for one, have no intention of trying to work while the blood drains to my head, but there is one idea that may prove more accessible to those of you in positions where you have people in your employ: 

According to the same article, “Flipping the conventional hierarchy on its head, one of the biggest names in technology today,  SendGrid CEO, Sameer Dholakia is an advocate of 'servant leadership'. Coined by business guru Robert K. Greenleaf, servant leadership is all about sharing power, being humble and putting the needs of others first.” 

This obviously works for Dholakia as he is one of the tech world's most admired bosses with a 98% approval rating on Glassdoor, a website where employees and former employees anonymously review companies and their management."

Nat Berman, on the Money Inc. website, writes, in his article “10 Things You Didn’t Know about Sameer Dholakia”,  SendGrid culture revolves around the four H’s – Happy, Hungry, Honest, and Humble. Though Dholakia has stated that “Humble” is his favorite H, he protects all of company culture. He even calls himself a Chief Cultural Officer, and views the preservation of company culture as one of the main jobs of the CEO.

Another of Dholakia’s traits that we all might try to emulate, he “Strives for a Balanced Life. The days of a CEO are incredibly busy and he travels all over the country. Of course, he also has a family that he must devote some time to. This is why he picks out a few activities to do with his kids, and sets aside an uninterrupted time to do so. This helps him renew his focus for when he returns to the grind of being a CEO.” 

So, whether you work alone or with others, lead a company or are just starting out, having a balanced life is one routine we can all strive for, whichever way we achieve it.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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