Productivity

I'm Guy Kawasaki, And This Is How I Work

Thirty years ago, Guy Kawasaki was the chief evangelist for a little company called Apple. As he explains it: “When I saw what Macintosh could do, the clouds parted and the angels started singing.” Since leaving Apple, Guy has founded several companies (including software developers ACIUS and Fog City Software, venture capital fund Garage, and online magazine rack Alltop), established a career in consulting and public speaking, and written 10 books.

He even played the role of publisher with his most recent book, What the Plus!. We wanted to find out how Guy manages it all, so we stole a few minutes out of his schedule to talk about apps, gadgets and workspaces.

Name: Guy Kawasaki

Occupation: Author, publisher, entrepreneur

Location: Silicon Valley, CA

Current computer: 13-inch MacBook Air

Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy SIII. That’s right, I don’t use an iPhone. Real men use Android.

I work: Relentlessly

What’s your best time-saving trick?

I really don’t have many shortcuts. I simply work long and hard, hacking away at the challenges I face all the time.

What’s your favourite to-do list manager?

For the intellectual challenge, I never make lists. I challenge myself to remember what to do in order to delay the decay of my brain.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Microsoft Word, Outlook, Evernote, YouSendIt, TextExpander, PowerPoint, Life360, Chrome, Google+ Android clients, Lightroom, TripIt, Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500, Dymo LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo, and Nexus 7.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

Nexus 7.

What’s your workspace like?

I have a home office, but I do much of my writing at Cafe La Tartine in Redwood City, Cafe Barrone in Menlo Park, and Ann’s Coffee Shop in Menlo Park. At home I use a 27-inch iMac in one room and a 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt display with my MacBook Air. I also fly a lot and have written much of my books in Virgin American 2C and United Airlines 1A.

What do you listen to while you work?

I have Ménière’s disease, and one symptom is tinnitus, so I listen to ringing in my ears 24/7 x 365. I seldom listen to music while I work. I can focus so hard on what I’m doing that I can blot out everything that’s happening around me and work for hours.

What’s your sleep routine like?

I work from about 7 PM to midnight and wake up at 7:15 AM to take my daughter to school. Sometimes I ride a stationary bike from 10:30 PM to 11:15 PM if I haven’t played hockey that day.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Introvert. Severe introvert, actually. People might find this amazing because I have so many public appearances and social media presences. However, these are roles thrust upon me. I would be perfectly happy to fade into obscurity because I don’t need the attention. It’s just that I have three private school and one college tuition to pay every year, and my youngest is only seven, so I’ll be working a long time. In a perfect world, I would just hang with my kids and play hockey everyday.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

I can tailor a speech to an audience better than most speakers.

Is there anyone you’d kill to see answer these same questions?

Not really. There’s no right and wrong of lifehacking. There’s only what works for you and what doesn’t. I also understand the difference between correlation and causation. For example, if I read that JK Rowling uses a Mont Blanc fountain pen, it doesn’t mean that if I used the same pen, I would sell millions of copies of my book. That said, I hear she does use a MacBook Air.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Make Lifehacker my homepage.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I have a theory about email: you can delete anything 21 days and older, and it won’t matter. I often do this for peace of mind. The assumption is that if the email were important enough, the person will follow up. I figured this out when I’ve lost my entire inbox and noticed that no one complained about not getting a response.

Follow Guy on Twitter @GuyKawasaki.

We’ve asked a handful of heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Every week we’ll feature a new guest and the gadgets, apps, tips and tricks that keep them going. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? Let us know.


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