The productivity-guru author of 'The 4-Hour Workweek' keeps his phone on airplane mode 80% of the day

tim ferriss

Andrew "Drew" Kelly

Tim Ferriss likes to stick to his own plans, with minimum distractions.

  • Since the release of "The 4-Hour Workweek" 10 years ago, Tim Ferriss has built a career on gathering the best habits and insights from top performers.
  • He keeps his smartphone on airplane mode for the majority of the day, forcing him to receive voice mail, texts, and emails in blocks he's scheduled.
  • Ferriss said this is particularly important from the period between the end of dinner and the end of the next day's morning routine.


Tim Ferriss has spent the last decade gathering insights that help his audience optimize their lives. He's a self-described "human guinea pig" because he's constantly trying new habits himself.

Ferriss recently released a podcast episode around communication rules he's set, he said, to "help me maintain my sanity." First on the list was keeping his smartphone on airplane mode about 80% of each day.

That is, Ferriss disables his ability to get calls, texts, emails, or social media and news updates from his phone for most of each 24-hour period.

"This is particularly critical post-dinner all the way until I finish my morning routine the next day," he said.

It should be noted that Ferriss has an assistant to help him manage requests when he's off the grid. Even with that benefit, he still blocks off parts of his day to receive all of the information he missed in real time. That way he's not constantly interrupting his schedule with a series of minor distractions.

Ferriss may have an unusual schedule with an unusual amount of freedom - he's the head of his own enterprise - but his main point is that a flurry of information is especially harmful at the beginning and end of the day.

At night, it's a distraction from sleep; in the morning, it's a distraction from beginning the day with focus and energy.

After completing his morning routine - which involves meditation, journaling, breakfast, and a workout - "then and only then, once I've calibrated my true north for the day and my one or two must-dos that make everything else on the list easier or irrelevant, only then do I open the window in my bullet-proof car and let the bullets start whizzing," he said.

You can listen to the full podcast episode below: