Guy Kawasaki is a workaholic and he has to be because he does so many different things, from writing books, to investing, to speaking and more. In this interview, we find out exactly how he managers (or doesn’t manage) his time in order to accomplish everything important to him. Guy is the former chief evangelist of Apple and special advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google. He is the author of APE, What the Plus!, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College. This brief interview shows you that it’s not easy being Guy but that he has somehow figured out how to be with his children while still making an impact.
Dan Schawbel: You do so many different things, from authoring books to speaking. How do you remain productive as you add more to your plate?
Guy Kawasaki: I’m not sure people should listen to me in this regard. The attention I give to a task seems inverse to the money I can make from the task. Eg, infinite attention to social media with low dollar potential. Very little marginal effort to speaking, but most of my income comes from speaking.
I am productive because I have attention surplus syndrome. I can focus too much. Once I get rolling on something like a book, I am unstoppable and unperturbable. Also, I work very, very hard. People don’t realize how hard I work.
Schawbel: How do you decide which projects to take on and which to say no to? What factors into your decision?
Kawasaki: My decisions are subjective and instant– think “blink” in Malcolm Gladwell terms. I either fall in love, or I don’t. I don’t do any due diligence, background work, or forecasting. I just decide.
Schawbel: What is your biggest productivity challenge and how have you faced it?
Kawasaki: I so enjoy the interaction on social media that it robs me of several hours per day. I have not yet faced it or figured out what I should do. This is why I have to work so hard.
Schawbel: What tech tools do you use to be productive with your work and family life?
Kawasaki: I use several Macs, a Moto X, and a Nexus 7. Key software for me includes Postbox, SnapZ Pro, TextExpander, Lightroom, and Word. Key services include TripIt, Super.cc, Evernote, Dropbox, and Buffer.
Schawbel: What does a typical day look like for you? Is there something you could remove from your daily habits to make your life more productive?
Kawasaki: I get up at 7:00 a.m. to take my son or daughter to school. I go to Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park or Stack’s in Redwood City for a couple hours of email, social-media, and writing. Then I play hockey from 11:30 to 1:15. I return to Cafe Borrone to eat lunch do more email, social-media, and writing. Around 3:30 or so, I pick up my son or daughter and take them home.
At home I work until dinner is ready. Then I do something with my kids. From about 8 to 10:30 pm I work again. Then 10:30 to 11:45 pm I read a stationary bike and do some yoga. I go to sleep around 12:30 while reading a mystery or thriller on my Nexus 7 in bed.
I could remove hockey and gain about two hours per day, but that’s just not going to happen. I could do less social-media and gain about two hours per day, but that’s not going to happen either.