February 15, 2019

Steve Jobs: The Incredible Founder’s Daily Routine

by Ricky Wild in Entrepreneurs

Morning Routine
Steve Jobs would wake up around 6am and get changed into his signature Issey Miyaki black mock turtleneck and blue jeans. Depending on if his kids were up or not yet, Steve Jobs would go through emails and get work done from home.

Once the kids would wake up, usually around 7:30, they would spend time as a family eating breakfast and doing homework. Breakfast was largely fruits and vegetables from their home garden. Jobs would send his kids off to school and resume his work.

When Jobs was younger, he believed showers were an unnecessary waste of time and would often skip them. Jobs held the idea that consuming fruits consistently, eliminated body odor and the need to shower. As he got older, he would begin to shower more often with the social and health problems he faced.

Jobs on Death

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Often Jobs can get an additional hour or more of work done from home, where he finds himself to be more productive in the morning. He gets to the office between 8 and 9am depending on if he is needed.

Morning Mararathon Meetings and  Design Lab Afternoons
On Mondays, Jobs would meet with the top 10 executives and leaders from different departments to have a weekly “Marathon Meeting”. During these meetings, Jobs and the team would review the entire business; products they sold the week prior, every product under development, products they’re struggling with selling, products they have greater demand than supply, and many other topics.

I put out an agenda — 80% is the same as it was the last week, and we just walk down it every single week. We don’t have a lot of process at Apple, but that’s one of the few things we do just to all stay on the same page,” says Jobs. During these meetings their would be no agenda, no PowerPoint presentations, but rather debate and conversations over where the future of Apple should be and what must be improved.

On Wednesdays, Jobs would meet with the marketing team and do a similar style of meeting. He would meet with the team to exchange ideas, but to also to make sure the marketing was reflective of Apple as a company and idea.

Jobs would spend his afternoons in the “heavily-guarded” Apple Industrial Design Lab. He would look at, analyze, and test the prototypes, giving feedback and requests to John Ive and his team of designers. “If they’re working on a new iPhone I might grab a stool and start playing with different models and feeling them in my hands,” said the Apple founder.

Get Rid of the Crap…
Steve Jobs found that innovation is the ability to say no to many things, in order to perfect and make better a few things. Jobs said, “I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.” Apple was to originally make the iPad, but Jobs felt that the iPhone was too important to not be created first and needed everyone’s attention.

Jobs echoed this philosophy when meeting with Nike’s CEO, “Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.

…and Filter Distractions
In order to get rid of the crap and focus on the best products and ideas, one must filter out all distractions. Jobs would often look at someone with a blank stare if he found what they were wasting his time. He would also ignore worker’s emails if they were not related to the task on hand.

Aside from the worker’s emails he would ignore, Jobs’ would answer about 100 emails and 10 phone call daily. He would directly respond to some customer complaints and emails some CEO’s wouldn’t have respond to. To this, he also kept his email public.

When meeting with another individual, Steve Jobs was fond of walking meetings. He believed they helped unite outlook and perspective.

After Work
Steve Jobs would eat dinner with his family every night at 5:30. Following dinner, they would enjoy tea and spend time together. Jobs would sometimes go for a run/walk around Palo Alto in the late afternoon.

In regards to his routine, Jobs said, “I have a very simple life. I have my family and I have Apple and Pixar. And I don’t do much else.” He wasn’t a fan of fancy dinners, being famous, going to galas, traveling, or anything of excess, but rather being with his family and companies.

Jobs enjoyed many different genres of music, from Bob Dylan to Bach, yet he found the music all emotional and spiritual. And while Jobs wasn’t a buddhist, he extensively studied their teaching and applied their principles to aspects of his life, such as minimalism, saying no, and removing excess.

Steve Jobs’ diet is interesting, to say the least, and has changed over many years. He once considered himself a fruitarian, a subset of veganism where one only eats fruit, nuts, seeds, vegetables, grains, and absolutely no animal products.

For many years, Jobs would obsess over a food item and only eat that item for weeks on end, such as apples or carrots. In regards to his strange eating habits, his sister said he would eat just one vegetable. Lots of that one vegetable. But one. Broccoli. In season. Simply prepared. With just the right, recently snipped, herb.”

This help lead to naming the company Apple. Jobs recalled, “I had just comeback from the apple farm. It sounded fun, spirited, and not intimidating. Apple took the edge off the word ‘computer’, plus it would get us ahead of Atari in the phone book.” The name stuck by the next day and it stuck since.

After being diagnosed with cancer, Jobs was told by his family and physicians to begin a carnivorous diet so he could get the protein he lacked. Later in his life, he considered himself a pescatarian, as he began to eat fish and eggs.

It was also reported that Jobs would experiment with fasting to create feelings of euphoria and ecstasy.


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