The Productivity Giants Series with Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Author, Speaker, and Technology Innovator


Claire Diaz-Ortiz is many things – an author, speaker, advisor, and technology innovator. She was one of the early employees at Twitter, hired by co-founder Biz Stone to lead social innovation at the buzzy startup. She’s known as “The Woman Who Got the Pope on Twitter” and “Twitter’s Pontiff Recruitment Chief”  for her relations and communication with the Vatican. She was even standing by his side when he sent his very first tweet!



Image: Inside the Vatican


Claire was the first employee to write a book about Twitter, and is now the author of several books, including Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time, Greater Expectations: Succeed (and Stay Sane) in an On-Demand, All-Access, Always-On Age, and Hope Runs: An American Tourist, A Kenyan Boy, a Journey of Redemption.


We think Claire is pretty awesome, and a lot of other people do too – she’s #4 on the “15 Fascinating Twitter Employees” list put out by Mashable, and she was named “One of the 100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company.


We talk to Claire about how her views of productivity has changed since becoming a mother, why she doesn’t have email on her phone, and how she got through the worst year of her life.


Read on:


What does the first 90 minutes of your day look like?


I have three little kids, so productivity has changed dramatically for me in the last 3.5 year. The old adage of doing my morning routine first no longer applies. These days, I typically spend the first 90 minutes of the day dealing with family stuff. Then and only then do I shut myself in my office, start my “real” morning routine, and get done to work.


What’s your number one productivity/time-saving tip?


Focus is key. Do one thing at a time. The end.


Any favorite tools?


Unroll is a great one for putting all your newsletters in one place, Rescuetime helps tell you how much time you’re spending doing what, and Moment app keeps you off your phone!


How often do you check your inbox?


A couple times a day, and email is not on my phone. This is the system I use:


#1 Email tip?


Take email off of your phone!


Favorite SaneBox feature?


Not seeing things that should just be dealt with later! (Like on a weekly basis!)


What’s the biggest hindrance to your productivity? How do you combat it?


Connection. Responding to texts, etc. Not having my phone, and no wifi on my computer is the best way for me to get things done.



“Good enough is great.”




When you lose focus, what do you do to regain it?


Get OFFLINE. Go outside, go for a walk, go get disconnected.


What have you learned from your failures?


SO many to count. Um, most of my 2017 was one big failure! I wrote a Letter to the Worst Year of My Life to come to grips with it:


What book has changed your life and why?


Slowing Down to the Speed of Life by Richard Carlson.


The most worthwhile investment in time, money, or energy that you’ve made?


Meditating! I’m a huge fan of the Calm app and am on a 192-day streak! 50 hours meditated this year!


What’s your definition of productivity?


Productivity is about priority management. Do the most important things. And delegate or eliminate everything else. Then go out and play. This is the premise behind my “Do Less Method”, as explained in my book, Design Your Day.


In the last 5 years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?


That good enough is great.


Have you become better at saying no to unimportant things?


Slowly. I worked with my friend Greg McKeown, the author of Essentialismover a year-long process to get better at winnowing down what was right for my life, and what was not. It was HUGELY helpful, but every day is still a challenge.



Follow Claire on Twitter.