For an episode of The Thrive Global Podcast with iHeartRadio, Thrive Global founder and CEO Arianna Huffington spoke with father, television and film actor, venture capitalist, philanthropist, and producer Ashton Kutcher. Throughout their discussion, which ranged from family to social media to sleeping, one theme stood out: the importance of limiting technology to be in the moment.
Though Kutcher is well-known as an early adopter of new technology, he is strict with the limits he puts on his own technology use. “This is my journey that I’m on, and I want to choose when I’m available,” he told Huffington. “The ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature is actually really, really wonderful.”
Kutcher invests in several tech companies, and his attitude toward personal technology use shines through in his investment strategy. “When I first started investing I came up with a thesis for investment,” he explained, “and my thesis for investment is that true luxury is being able to afford to take your time.”
So how does Kutcher limit his screen-time? To start, he puts his phone away during dinner and doesn’t bring it into his bedroom. He calls email “everyone else’s to-do list for you” and has a very specific “productivity hack” that keeps him from getting overwhelmed by his inbox.
“When I wake up… I spend the first hour of my work not looking at email, and actually just writing out what it is that I want to accomplish in a given day,” Kutcher said. “And then before I go through my emails, I’ll do all my outgoing, outbound stuff, which is what I want everyone else to do for me. And then I’ll go and get reactive to whatever’s going on.”
He and his wife, actress Mila Kunis, also have strict rules when it comes to social media and their children, daughter Wyatt, 3, and son Dimitri, 1. Though they have a private social network to share photos with the children’s grandparents, they do not post any photos of their children to social media. “I think they should have the right to choose that and I actually don’t think that they should have images of them as children that are out there,” he explained. “It’s their private life; it’s not mine to give away.”
Kutcher tries to be mindful about his own social media posts as well, he said, refraining from posting any opinions until he has thought them through thoroughly.
Some of Kutcher’s focus on balance and priorities in his life seems to come from his relationship with his twin brother, who was born with a mild form of cerebral palsy and received a heart transplant when they were children. Reflecting on his brother’s illness and subsequent achievements, Kutcher says, “It makes me appreciate life every day in a different way, because I’ve known since I was a kid that it can be taken away, for no reason at all.”
Overall, Kutcher explains, “I try to remember that being in the moment is more valuable than capturing the moment.”
To hear the full conversation, click here.