Toby O’Rourke

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Toby O’Rourke, and I am the President and CEO of Kampgrounds of America, Inc., the world’s largest system of privately owned campgrounds with 520 locations across the United States and Canada.

What is one habit of yours that helps you be productive?

I am an incessant list maker. I have multiple task lists going at any one time tracking every aspect of my life from the office to home. I find that if I can write something down as it comes to me it will allow my mind to relax and focus on whatever it was I was working on or on who I am spending time with.

What is your morning routine and how does it help you get the most out of your day?

I tend to be very productive in the morning so I enjoy waking up pretty early and putting time into a project that requires a lot of focus before my children wake up or I head into the office for meetings. I also try to exercise a few mornings a week usually by doing yoga. I subscribe to Glo so I can keep up with my practice at home or while traveling.

In the last few years, what lifestyle, habit or behavior change has had the biggest positive impact on your life?

It sounds simple, but focusing on drinking the appropriate amount of water has made a large impact on my health. I recently started using an app to hold me accountable for getting the right amount of water each day and have seen so many benefits.

When you feel unfocused, what do you do?

My business is all about getting people outside, and I strongly believe in the health and mental benefits of the outdoors. When I can get time outside even if for a few minutes I find I’m more balanced.

What is one piece of software or a web service that you get immense value out of? How do you use it?

My whole life is in Evernote. I not only use it for my task lists but also in place of Word for writing documents or outlining presentations or to keep track of links to articles I want to reference later. It works for me to have everything in one place.

What is the one book you recommend most often and why?

Early in my career I discovered the book The Rules of Work and returned to it multiple times to help me navigate through various organizations and challenges.

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

My advice is to be a student of your craft and always seek to improve. I am constantly trying to learn more and soak up as much knowledge as possible. I never want to grow stagnant. In terms of what to ignore, I would offer that you shouldn’t prescribe to the notion that you should separate your work self from home self. I think of my team as whole people and know that the happier they are outside of the office the better they are at work. I don’t just care about who they are between 8 and 5.

What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?

I was in Amsterdam recently and saw this quote on a window of a local business that really resonated with me: Wake Up. Kick-Ass. Be Kind. Repeat.


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