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Acumen Connections » Blog » CEO Habits that You Should Adopt, According to the Pros

CEO Habits that You Should Adopt, According to the Pros

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Is there a CEO you admire? There is a good chance that they have a bizarre habit. Most CEOs have something strange that stands out about them. It might be the way they present themselves, or even their work process. Today we are looking at some of the most successful businesses owners’ weird habits.

We will be looking at the weird habits of CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and more. It could be anything from the food they eat to the times of day that they sleep. There is a reason these successful individuals have weird habits. Today we will be taking a look behind their strange habits. We will be able to see how that specific habit might have helped progress their career.

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Keeping a right/left notebook

When Nike CEO Mark Parker takes notes, he uses one specific notebook. On the left page, he writes out his notes. On the right page, he draws and sketches. The idea behind the notebook is to help balance out his brain. He tries to use both sides of his brain when making notes.

Most people would just take notes on any notebook they could find. There might be some truth behind this weird habit though. It is true that one side of our brain tends to be more organized and structured. Meanwhile, the other side tends to be more creative and artsy. Using both sides of the brain when taking notes may help you remember the topic better. It also might offer a unique point of view on a problem or issue. Sometimes thinking outside of the box can help you find a solution to a problem you had not previously considered. In addition, drawing sketches can help you keep your notes organized. If you are looking for a certain page in your notebook, you can find it easily. Flip through the pages until you find the drawing associated with the topic.

Scheduling their day in 5-minute intervals

Most people schedule their day in hour-centric measurements. They might schedule something for two hours, a half hour, or even 15 minutes. All of these measurements are hour centric. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is different though. He schedules his day out in 5-minute increments. He even eats his lunch in 5 minutes!

There might be some truth behind this weird habit. As we have previously mentioned, time can be constricting. Not every meeting needs a full hour and not every project takes 15 minutes. With Elon scheduling his day in such a way, it makes great use of his time. Having a strict schedule can actually help keep you more focused. When you set time limits, you are more likely to accomplish tasks in less time. In addition, by scheduling 5-minute increments, it means that he is not setting aside too much time for a project. 

Limit 2 pizzas per meeting

How much food does a company need to order for a lunch meeting? Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos limits it to two pizzas. Or, at least, he follows a “two pizza rule”. He does not invite too many people to a meeting. His rule is that the number of people in a meeting should never require more than 2 pizzas to feed everyone. It helps ensure that only the most important people are there. You do not need to invite an entire department when only one or two employees from that department are involved in decision-making.

There is some truth to this bizarre rule. Having a large group stifles creativity. Having a large group can lead to groupthink or even social loafing. When you only have the decision makers at a meeting it can help keep the meeting focused. It also ensures that everyone gets a chance to speak or share their thoughts. From a finance point of view, only ordering one or two pizzas, might save money on catering.

Scheduling personal appointments at the office

Almost everyone says they can multitask. However, people like Ranker CEO Clark Benson take multitasking to another level. This CEO is known for scheduling personal appointments, like haircuts, at the office. He has had stylists follow him around the office while he talks. He has even been known to schedule haircuts during meetings.

We hear the term “time is money”, and it rings true for many business owners. It never feels like there are enough hours in a day. You need to schedule haircuts because personal hygiene is important. However, they can take an hour or more out of your day. During a haircut, you do not need to think much, so they can feel time consuming. Scheduling an in-office haircut at the same time as a meeting is one way to multitask that actually allows you to focus on other topics.

Writing and practicing fictional speeches

Every family has weird traditions. The family of PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi stands out though. Growing up, Indra’s mother had her write a speech during dinner every night. Her mother then had her give the speech at the end of dinner. There was different topics and themes. She was even told to write the speech as a person of power. Sometimes she pretended to be a president or prime minister. At the end of the night, the mother would vote for which kid had the best speech.

There is a reason that public speaking tends to be a mandatory course in most colleges. One important life skill is knowing how to present. You might need to sell a product or sell others on an idea. Having a speech prepared can make sure that you back up your argument with several points. Research shows us that practicing conversations is actually good for us. On top of that, limiting the time to come up with a speech can help with quick-thinking skills

Spending their weekend jousting

Cisco Systems CEO Sandy Lerner is a little quirky. She spends her weekends jousting. She really gets into the hobby. She wears traditional costume attire, and even breeds her own horses. If you are not familiar with modern-day jousting, that is okay. The jouster rides a horse and takes a large sharp stick that they use to impale targets.  Most business leaders have busy work schedules. It can be surprising to hear they have a hobby they are passionate about, especially one that is not common.

There is something to be said about being passionate. Some people find that they achieve a better work/life balance when they have a huge hobby outside of work. It can give them something to focus on outside of work. It offers a clear division between work and personal life. That clear division can help improve mental health. Having a hobby shows dedication, and it can help a person learn a lot of life lessons. People with hobbies tend to continuously work on improving their skills in that hobby. They may take those same skills and lessons into their work.

Sticking to a unique sleep schedule

CEOs seem to swear by their sleep schedules. In one article, several CEOS were interviewed, and almost all of them had different sleep schedules. For example, the Fitbit CEO goes to bed at 1 am and gets 6 hours of sleep a night. Another CEO swears by going to bed at 10 pm and getting up at 7 AM. Others recommend getting two 4-hour naps throughout the day. Each of these leaders have a different sleep schedule, but they all seem to agree on one thing. They all suggest that it is important to have a sleep schedule that matches your needs.

We have all heard how the early bird gets the worm. Some believe that going to bed and waking up early leads to productivity. That is not the case for everyone though. Some people identify as early risers, and others identify as night owls. It is important to know what time of the day you typically feel most productive. It is equally important to know what time of the day you feel sluggish. Knowing that about yourself and working it into your work routine can have benefits. Every CEO has a different circadian rhythm. The most successful ones have learned what their rhythm is, and then scheduled their day around that.

Setting spontaneous personal goals

Do you ever set goals for yourself? You might set a few new year’s resolutions each year. Or you might set small goals throughout the week. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg takes goal setting to the next level though. Mark is known to set strange goals for himself. He likes challenges and to try new things. He might try to learn a new language, or even just change up his diet entirely. In 2015, he made a goal to read a new book every two weeks

If you have ever set a goal for yourself and achieved it, then you know how it feels. Achieving goals can boost your confidence.  Working at goals can help you learn more and even meet others. Sometimes there are even networking opportunities for certain hobbies! Setting goals can help you problem solve by deciding what project you want to tackle next. Setting and achieving goals can do a lot of good for you. It makes sense that a successful business leader would set goals for themselves not only at work, but also in their personal lives.

Reading about the success, or even failures, of others can sometimes help you pave your own path to success. Was there an interesting habit on this list you want to try? Do you currently have a weird habit? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Renee McBride

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“A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one,” is my favorite quote. I’ve been working since high school mostly with small, growing businesses across various industries. I’ve had to wear many hats for each role. In that time, I’ve learned that problem-solving and helping pass on that information to others is what drives me. Today, I’m the Digital Marketing Manager at Acumen Connections.

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