What’s On The Paper List That Keeps Aaron Levie So Productive

The CEO of Box offers a peek at the one analog key to staying focused in his digital life.

What’s On The Paper List That Keeps Aaron Levie So Productive
Aaron Levie CEO, Box [Photo by Adam Fedderly]

Aaron Levie

CEO, Box


“A lot of being productive personally is determined by how you organize your entire business. You can’t separate those two things. We brought in a COO specifically to solve this balance-and-cadence issue. He thinks about day-to-day operations, while my focus is on new things that will help us–the new marketing plan, new products, new partnerships, new platform capabilities. For the first 20% of a new initiative, there are a million ways it could go. After that, as these things get on a path of success, I back off a bit.

I’m a little ADD, so I have one sheet of paper called ’50 Things.’ It’s a list of all the important initiatives, tasks, and projects at the company. Once every day or two, I run through it and make sure that every one of those things is on track. I used to do this in PowerPoint, but it was hundreds of pages and wasn’t concise enough to look at every day. So now it’s just a piece of paper. It sounds very 1980s, but it folds nicely; you can put it in any kind of pocket! Ninety-nine percent of my life is digital, but this is my low-tech way of staying focused.”

Time he gets up:

10 a.m.

First thing he does each morning:

“I know this is not a best practice, but I read email. I’m in bed for 30 minutes swiping, replying, and deleting. I try to make sure I have no unread messages by the time I get into the office.”

Apps and other assists:

Box Notes is where I spend most of my time. It’s like Evernote and Google Docs had a baby.” Also: “Coffee, three to four cups a day. I don’t discriminate on brands.”


“I don’t use many apps. I use naps.”


Last thing he does each night:

Read. “I like business nonfiction.”

Time he goes to bed:

3 a.m.

About the author

Dave Kneebone is the latest addition to Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim's comedy powerhouse. He helps run their production company, Abso Lutely, and has also worked on Comedy Bang!