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9 favorite productivity tips from the Dr. Bronner’s CEO

The soap company’s ‘cosmic engagement officer’ credits psychedelics for his return to the family business.

9 favorite productivity tips from the Dr. Bronner’s CEO
[Photo: John Francis Peters]

I joined the company in 1997. When I was graduating from college, the one thing I knew I wasn’t going to do was work for my family. I love my dad, mom, and uncle, but I wanted to do my own thing. But eventually, I got to a place where my experience with psychedelics helped me understand my grandfather and his All-One philosophy. It wasn’t a straight line from there to joining the company, but it was definitely foundational.

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It’s a great company. . . . I’m a founding member, along with Patagonia, the Rodale Institute, and others, of the Regenerative Organic Alliance and Regenerative Organic Certification, combining the best of sustainability, animal welfare, and fair labor in a single standard. That’s a real example of our activism and policy intersecting with our business. It’s all hand in hand.

My primary responsibility as cosmic engagement officer is obviously to make sure we’re running a tight ship—making the profits necessary for everything else we do—but also leveraging our profits to fund allies, causes, and campaigns that are doing good things in the world. I’d say about two-thirds of my time is spent in a traditional CEO role, managing the company, making sure we’re rocking everything we need to rock. And the other third is dedicated to activism, which primarily nowadays is psychedelic integration [the process of incorporating what one experiences while under the influence of psychedelics into everyday life] and regenerative agriculture.

One thing I like to do from time to time is clean out with a Master Cleanse or some other fasting regimen. [Right now] I’m on day 4, which is kind of a hard day. They recommend doing 10. My friend just turned me on to this mung bean Ayurvedic cleanse, which is anti-inflammatory, gluten-free, sugar-free, everything-free. So I think I’m going to do 5 days of this and 5 days of that. I’ll get the whole 10 days in that way.

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Time he wakes up

5 a.m.

First thing he does in the morning

“Meditate, do some fitness, get some time that’s not in ‘go’ mode.”

How his routine has changed over the past 18 months

“Being in the soap business, things got nuts for us. My meditation routine went out the window. I got into bad habits like checking my phone first thing in the a.m. Earlier this year, I realized how out of balance I was and have been working to correct that. Living near San Diego, I’m lucky to be able to have the ocean to surf and swim. That is restorative.”

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His relationship with social media

“Early on, I saw it as a whole other time suck. My dad threw out our TV when I was 4, and we didn’t get another one until I was 11, for the Los Angeles Olympics in ’84. But by then, I had developed some decent habits. I have taken a similar approach to social media. I’ll check it for news and stuff, but not a lot.”

How he keeps his team from feeling burned out

“We increased our annual childcare credit from $5,000 to $7,500, maxed out sick days to as many as people needed, did appreciation pay [of $2.50 per hour worked] for all of the COVID hassles. We also did a $5,000 additional bonus for everyone, just to say thanks. We organized a surf morning or evening, for anyone who surfs, and monthly staff hikes.”

Best habit

“The ability to really crash the work, go nonstop, in order to get things done. When it’s required.”

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Worst habit

“[Poor] time management, maybe. Understanding how long things take can be a challenge.”

Last thing he does at night

“Right now, [I’m reading] Carl Jung’s Red Book.”

Time he goes to bed

9 or 9:30 p.m.

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Read more about the secrets of this year’s most productive people.

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