Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American business magnate, industrial designer, investor, and media proprietor.
According to resources including documented first-person interviews, TIME magazine and Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs’ biographer, here is a mosaic of Steve Jobs’ sample day:
6 am: Wake Up
“I’m a good morning person. I like it early in the morning. I wake up six-ish.”
Steve put on the same outfit every day – an Issey Miyaki black mock turtleneck and blue jeans, so he didn’t have to “waste time” picking what to wear every morning.
6:30 am: Work
“I have a pretty sophisticated setup; whether I’m at Apple or at Pixar or at my home… wherever I am, my complete world shows up, all my files. Everything… I put in a T1 to my house… so my office is at home too. And when I’m not in meetings, my work is fundamentally on email. So I’ll work a little before the kids get up.”
7:30 am: Breakfast with Family
“We’ll all have a little food and finish up some homework and see them off to school.”
Preferred snacks included whole and dried fruits, vegetables, and Odwalla juices “with the screw-on caps”. Many of the family’s fruits and veggies came from a home garden.
9 am: Arrive at Office
“If I’m lucky I’ll stay at home and work for an hour because I can get a lot done, but oftentimes I’ll have to come in. I usually get here about 8 or 9, having worked about an hour or half or two at home.”
9:30 am: Meetings
“What we do every Monday is we review the whole business. We look at what we sold the week before. We look at every single product under development, products we’re having trouble with, products where the demand is larger than we can make. All the stuff in development, we review. And we do it every single week. 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.”
Monday’s “marathon meetings” were reserved for the top ten executives at Apple. Wednesdays, Steve would meet with the marketing team.
Steve considered himself fruitarian, a subset of veganism, and would occasionally eat only one or two foods, like apples or carrots, for weeks at a time. His obsession with food was profound and began in his teens. It also came to identify the company he would create, as detailed by Isaacson:
“I was on one of my fruitarian diets” Steve 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.” He told Wozniak if a better name did not hit them by the next afternoon, they would just stick with apple and they did.
After his cancer diagnosis, Steve was encouraged by family and physicians to consume more protein, including from animal sources. He developed an affinity for sushi including fatty tuna, salmon and yellowtail, and ate eggs as well. In his later life, Steve would most accurately be considered a pescatarian.
He was also a regular at the Fraiche yoghurt cafe in Palo Alto, and the local Whole Foods where he would go pick up whole wheat bread and vegetables.
1:30 pm: Visit Design Lab
“I’ll visit the Industrial Design’s lab in the afternoon, where Jony Ive and his team of designers work on prototypes of future hardware products. 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.”
Product review sessions and related discussions took up most of Steve’s workday. He established himself as his Apple’s ultimate end user, and trusted his own intuition on improvements for new products.
3 pm: Emails, Meetings & Phone Calls
“All these customers email me all these complaints and questions, which I actually have grown to like. It’s like having a thermometer on practically any issue. If somebody doesn’t flush a toilet around here, I get an email from Kansas about it. Sometimes I can get about 100 or more of those a day from people I will never meet. But I zing ’em around, and it’s good to keep us all in touch.”
Steve made his email address public while CEO and averaged over 100 email responses and 10 phone calls a day between Pixar and Apple. Other events in the afternoon might include rehearsals for upcoming keynote presentations.
Notably, Steve was a big fan of walking meetings. He felt they could help unite outlook and perspective.
5:30pm: Family Dinner
Dinner is pasta with raw tomatoes, fresh raw corn from the garden, steamed cauliflower and a salad of raw shredded carrots. While Steve, his wife Laurene and his daughters eat, their six-year-old son picks lemon verbena and other herbs in the garden for after-dinner tea. His reward is a tickle and being tucked into bed by Dad later at night.
Steve’s sister recalls meals would often consist of “just one vegetable. Lots of that one vegetable. But one. Broccoli. In season. Simply prepared. With just the right, recently snipped, herb.”
Steve never drank alcohol besides the occasional glass of wine.
6:30pm: Walk w/ Laurene
Grabbing a couple bottles of mineral water (usually Smart Water) from the fridge, the two would take off for a stroll around Palo Alto.
10pm: Music, Meditation & Spirituality
Favorite artists ranged from Bob Dylan to Bach. Music helped to re-center Steve emotionally and spiritually. Cellist Yo Yo Ma once played in his living room, and Steve called the performance “the best argument I’ve ever heard for the existence of God.”
Steve practiced Zen Buddhism and always carried a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi with him.
Isaacson said that while he appreciated Jobs’ candor throughout many hours of interviews, and in encouraging his co-workers, family and peers to talk about his life, he was also puzzled by Jobs’ openness, given his well-known penchant for privacy throughout his life. Jobs, who died in October a few weeks before Isaacson’s bio was published, told him he wanted the book to be an “honest” look at his life and legacy.
“He astounded me with the intimacy and the openness about people, about ideas, about strategies, about family, about what was valuable, about his place on the Earth, and his mission and why he cared about things,” Isaacson said. “In the end, it was clear what his passions were and how he felt. As he said to me near the end of his life, he had taken a lot out of the flow of history, as we all do — things that people do in the flow of history that helps us be where we are. And so what really counts is what you put back into the flow of history, those things that you make that people after you will use.”