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We’ve reached 100 episodes! And, in honor of that, we hosted a live show and discussed our favorite of the first 99 episodes. Thanks to everyone who attended live and joined in the conversation, and here’s to the next 100 episodes. Here’s to your productive life, everyone.
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In this Cast | ProductivityCast Live, 100th Episode
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Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:01
Hello, and welcome everybody to productivity cast to Episode 100, our live episode. So, for those of you who are listening to the podcast, welcome back to ProductivityCast, the weekly show about all things personal productivity. I’m Sidney-Smith.
Augusto Pinaud 0:23
I’m a good scooping up.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:26
You’re muted Francis.
Francis Wade 0:30
I’m Francis Glade.
Art Gelwicks 0:32
And Hi, Mark ellex.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:34
Oh, Welcome, gentlemen. And welcome to everybody who is watching us live. And so just a couple housekeeping items. Since we are doing this episode live, those of you who are listening after the fact, you can go ahead and of course, you know, listen, those of you who are watching live, you can comment. So wherever you are watching across the many different platforms. Go ahead and comment and we’ll see that comment here in the dashboard, and we’ll be able to respond to them. So if you have a question or a comment, feel free to, you know, share those, and we can go ahead and place them on screen as well as discuss those items. What I wanted to do today, in and in honor of our 100th episode, I can’t believe we have gotten through this many episodes together. And I’m very excited for us to have gotten to this milestone, both at 50,000 downloads in under 100 episodes. And now here at our hundredth episode and running, what I want to do is just cover a little bit about what has been kind of our most popular content on on so far. So some of you may not have listened to all 100 episodes, as I have in preparation for today. And then when when all of us kind of started in the process of joining ProductivityCast. And doing this, we each have come across in our past 100 episodes, some of our favorite episodes. And so I wanted us to kind of go round robin and discuss maybe some of the more favorite aspects of some of the episodes throughout that. And then we’ll close out with some of our thoughts for what we might cover in future productivity casts. And maybe get some of your thoughts as well, because I’m sure that you all have some suggestions maybe that you would like to hear from us discuss in that category. So with that out of the way, let’s talk about the first thing, which is what has been our Julie best raise, noting that you’re muted is the catchphrase of 2020. You’re absolutely right, Julie.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 2:38
It is, it is the thing that I feel like I say the most to people in every zoom meeting and every other kind of video chat meeting as well. But I thought this was really fascinating. And what I wanted to do was kind of cover the most viewed episodes of all of our world, we distribute ProductivityCast not just through the podcast, but also through YouTube and a number of different other channels. Because of that, and and what I what I found was that the ProductivityCast itself ranks in the top 10 in global ranking according to listen notes. So on my first and foremost thought is just thank you to all of you who listen and watch the episodes on YouTube. And otherwise, I mean, you guys really have made this such a wonderful community and a wonderful aspect of our week. You know, a gousto Francis and art, we we get together every Monday morning and record. And it’s the first experience I have of every week sitting down with these gentlemen and talking about personal productivity, something that we’re all passionate about and passionate about helping you all be more productive, and spreading the word that people can have more successful and just stress free lives. Through implementing the strategies that we talked about, that are not all ours, you know that we’re really standing on the shoulders of giants, and sometimes standing on the shoulders of just everyday people who have had great experiences, and they’ve shared those experiences. And then we share those with you. And some of the topics that I just thought were really interesting. One is that our topic on indecision is by far our most listened to podcast episode, and followed up by that is the productivity planners episode. So if you have not listened to those two episodes, those by far are our highest listen to episodes in terms of podcast episodes, followed just shortly behind that by personal compound. Now if you combined episodes into topics, I just thought everybody would like to know that GTD is by far the most listened to topic listened to on the ProductivityCast world and that doesn’t make that makes quite a bit of sense. Considering the amount I talk about GTD all the time, but we have 13 episodes dedicated to getting things done and the various aspects of it and so it makes a lot of sense that that ends up being a quite a big part of it. evening routine And morning routines are a big topic. So our bullet journal. Now if we turn to YouTube, this is really fascinating to me, because by far on YouTube, the most listened to episode is the one on mind mapping, it continues to skyrocket in terms of numbers. So there’s something about YouTube and the people on YouTube that just really love to listen and learn about mind mapping. And, and some mind mapping is the is the biggest one that we have found on YouTube. So I just thought it would be interesting that if you have not listened to any of those episodes, it’s full well worth listening to, or, you know, those episodes because they happen to be our most popular ones. So it must have been our best content, right. So with that in mind, let’s turn ourselves over to the topics of our favorite topics so far. And I’m going to turn it over to you art, what was your first favorite episode of our past 100. And why?
Art Gelwicks 6:01
It’s interesting, because when we started this exercise, we realized we were getting to 100. And going back and looking at some of the old episodes, I was trying to figure out which episodes got me the most fired up about the particular topic, and also retains relevancy today. So the one of my top ones is Episode 59. It’s where we dove into the idea of Open Office plans and the benefits and the downsides of operating an open office. And initially, I’m like, well, Does that even make sense anymore? Is that even remotely relevant, especially with where we are right now? And then I realized that, yes, it is totally, completely 100% relevant, because so many of these open office layouts now, we can’t use, they aren’t set up in a way that work with this new world that we’re operating in. And we have to start thinking about, how does, how does this change, where we are trying to get work done. And now we’re going to go back to an environment that is completely altered from the way we left it. So digging into this idea of open office spaces, to me, is a continuing, ongoing, evolve, evolving conversation that we need to have. Not only is the people who work in the environments, but the people who make the recommendations. And we have to start pursuing this even in more detail now. So this is one of those episodes that I love to go back and listen to because we haven’t had an answer for it yet. And I don’t think we’re going to anytime soon.
Augusto Pinaud 7:48
It is interesting, because that episode, the set of conditions that exist before that, that are assumptions we have when we record that episode, I’m not sure they even exist anymore. So we will need to go from back to the drawing board and reconfigure things that even at this particular point, we don’t know.
Art Gelwicks 8:12
Right, I that’s one of the things that jumped out at me. When we recorded it at that time, the client work I was doing, I was sitting at basically a communal table with five other people 10 monitors across five people, or 12 monitors across six people, just a tight, close knit environment. And the way the office plan was laid out, you were in a spot and literally, you could just reach over and touch the person next to you, you were that close. That’s not going to be the case. And that’s a completely different ballgame. And if we think about people who are now working remotely, and then going back to that those designs have to be reset. And if we’re used to working certain ways in those environments, being able to lean over the person next year and talk to them about something that’s not going to be the case anymore. So our productivity will naturally have to change as the geography of where we’re working changes as well.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 9:13
Yeah, definitely see this being interesting, Francisco for Yeah, but
Francis Wade 9:18
don’t you think that there’ll be a mini backlash when people go back to the office? Because I remember when I used to have a nine to five and I had a cubicle and the whole idea from working at home was that you did it because you needed to get work done. So you had something tough to do something difficult or challenging, and you would make time for it by staying home. Some people used to fake being sick, to stay home to do work because that’s the only place they could do have interrupted time and uninterrupted time and get into the flow state do deep work, whatever. I think when people come back to the office when they come back to the nine to five they everyday routine I think they’re gonna realize that the quiet those who had it anyway, the quiet that they had at home is not replicated at the office. And they’re going to ask for the kind of visual visually and audibly quiet and restricted environments that they had at home. I think there’s going to be a backlash, let alone the driving to work. That’s a whole nother commute. But I think it’s also going to be applied.
Art Gelwicks 10:28
I got into the conversation last week with a colleague. And he brought up an interesting point that I, I think it’s worth considering is that we’re going to start to see the office environment as the place you go to work directly with other people. And that’s the only reason to go there. Right now, it’s you go there, just because that’s where work gets done. But we’ve seen since March, that’s not the case. I mean, those of us who have worked from home before or worked remotely, we know that’s not the case. But I think it’s been an eye opening education. For a lot of people who felt that the only way you could get something done was by coming into the office, working there and then going back. But in an environment where you do need to work together, if you have to work together, almost going to almost a hotelling type of mindset, where you reserve a room that’s set up for a certain number of people in a space and you go in you do the work session you need to and when you come out the rooms disinfected, clean reset for the next group, that’s doable. If you’re there all the time. It’s not, you don’t have that capability. So like I said, it will be interesting to see the the organizations and the individuals, and we change how we change how we want to do things. Julie bestiary just posted in the comments, let’s hope we hope open plan offices will go the way to the dodo, I couldn’t agree more. There’s nothing that makes my skin crawl more than an open plan office, it just, there are so many things wrong with it. And so few benefits that, to me, it’s a waste of real estate.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 12:02
And I also think there’s an important argument before we close that move on, because we’ll spend all day on each of these topics if we keep going. But I did want to raise the point that a part of this pandemic has really brought to the fore, that diversity, equity and inclusion needs to be a conversation had in physical office environments, as well as in a digital environment, and how we navigate that those waters and every organization. I mean, I really think that this is an organization development problem to solve, which is that we need to really figure out how diversity equity and inclusion is made to make people more productive, we know that a more diverse and inclusive environment is and will make for a more productive organization. And a lot of these conversations are now we’re giving an opportunity, there’s a forum for doing this now, because of the pandemic. And I hope that isn’t lost on organizations. And that we can really help to start bringing more people into the fold. That includes, you know, something very subtle that I that an organization was doing. I can’t remember which one it was, but I thought it was really powerful, which is that the organization was having meetings, but all meetings even went in person with folks who are joining remotely, everyone joined remotely, so that they were able to all be on video, even if they were in the same building. That way people who are away, we’re also capable of having the same experience in the meeting room. And that’s just like little interventions like that are really important and powerful to making sure that everybody feels included in conversations, not just from a diversity perspective, but also just from giving everyone latitude Peters, noting here that his sales team is begging to come back into the office and, and that they miss the interactions with their colleagues. And that is absolutely true. I mean, I know that feeling myself, I absolutely feel the loss of connection with people at the same time. I can also see some people who never want to go back into an office again, and and don’t want to risk the propagation of another pandemic, right. Even if it’s just a influenza for another year, you know, we lose hundreds of thousands of people to influence every year, we could stop that spigot, if people were working in environments and if we kept up some of the protocols like you know, maybe not facemask wearing post pandemic, but certainly washing your hands. I mean, really wash your hands. You know, there’s just some, some little things that are just great interventions for being able to, you know, stop the transmission of these kinds of viruses and other kinds of nasty bugs. Okay, any big ticket items before we move on? Alright, let’s let’s move on to Francis, your first episode, favorite episode of the past 100 and why
Francis Wade 14:49
it’s really about the future because what I’m hearing from folks is that the email has gone from bad to worse as a result of the pandemic. So it Everyone is no subject to emails, or many people are subject to emails that are coming over those and on weekends. And the expectation that you will reply at any point in the evening or the weekend or on your holiday or on vacation has only gone up because of the pandemic. And I’m hoping there’ll be a backlash. So once again, I’m back to the idea that having gotten used to a particular way of operating, going back to something, I think it’s gotten worse. And that folks will insist that it get better when they go back. Because when you’re in the office, you at least have a sense of visual contact, you don’t have to use email, you can run into someone at the cooler, you can see if they’re available at different points. If the office is busy, then you behave a certain way. But know that we’re all separate and apart from each other. Email is becoming the channel of preferred channel of communication for all communication. So it replaced cooler talk, and it’s replaced casual talk is replaced notes on your desk. And I think I’m hoping that when people come back to the office, they’ll insist that email is not a 24 seven. Ideal, it’s really best managed in certain times. And if all of a sudden the office can agree to send email at a particular time during the day and not to send an email at another time, other times, and to have expectations around how we manage email. I think more protocols would make life much easier. But I think the transition back with Matt Berger backlash where people insist on these protocols, I hope
Raymond Sidney-Smith 16:40
I have not seen the change in email usage for myself. What I have seen as more people navigating and gravitating toward the, you know, whatever tool of choice, say it’s slack teams, Google Chat or otherwise. And, and to a great extent, I’ve seen more and more organizations saying can we have actually all of our communications that are project or task related inside of our tool? And of course I’m I’m you know, slapping my forehead because I’m like, Yes, of course, you could, you always could, you could do all of this in Trello. You can do all of this in Asana and workday Reich, you name the project management tool. And most of them today allow for this kind of conversational thread capabilities. And that reduces the amount of email that needs to be, you know, spread across an organization, mostly and appropriately, mostly taking up people’s time, that’s not necessary to and now you can tuck those conversations away where they belong. So I’m really happy to see more people embracing that component of it. I’m really curious about the policy part, Francis, and more people embracing good email etiquette and good organizational email structure. Yeah, I
Francis Wade 17:50
would love to have to replace different accounts. I would love for there to be a technology that said, whenever someone sends me a message anywhere, whether it’s on Slack, or even here on on a chat like this, someone sends me a message on YouTube in the chat, or someone sends me a message on zoom. Wherever a message is sent to me that it’s it comes to my one inbox. So that there’s this huge collecting device out there. All my messaging comes to me in one place. Yeah. So
Raymond Sidney-Smith 18:22
you’re looking for Yeah, you’re talking about Zapier or if
Francis Wade 18:28
not up to you know that up to that level? Oh, yes, they
Raymond Sidney-Smith 18:31
are. I would I will fully disagree with you. I think I think
Augusto Pinaud 18:36
that one too. Yeah. Yeah, I
Art Gelwicks 18:38
think, too, is not necessary, though. You don’t you don’t need to build a lot of external systems. If you look at a lot of your normal systems, you can get email notifications that somebody sent you a chat or something like that. And that’s, that’s key. But I this is not a tech problem in my book, if you have emails going out as part of a business, and leadership and management and the powers that be are not communicating effectively, that unless these emails are tied to some specific contractual service level agreement, that there’s bad things that happen if they’re not responded to in a certain period of time, then they better be setting the tone to say, what is the possible expectation of you receiving this email at seven o’clock at night? and saying, Yeah, you need to respond to that in a half hour. No, no, stop that. Stop doing that. Stop thinking that way. Stop acting that way. We got to get over that because that just dovetails back into the you’re not working. If I can’t stand over you and manage you. Then again, you know, if you want to go back to the 1800s and 1900s and manage and operate that way. Feel free. I’m sure somebody would like you to make horseshoes for him. But yeah,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 19:56
it’s also a flame to join
Art Gelwicks 19:57
us in this century robots When it comes to managing,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 20:02
yeah, Danny noted slack and Asana have helped her company cut down email by 50%. Which is remarkable. That’s, that’s phenomenal to say,
Art Gelwicks 20:10
yeah, anybody who was listens to me, I’m, you know, I’m a Microsoft guy and teams can, teams can completely change an organization, if you allow it to do it, and you think about it properly, and you put the right context around things, it can change how an organization works from the ground up.
Augusto Pinaud 20:26
And I think that’s exactly the point it is now that all these changes are happening to time to for organizations to implement these changes is now not when we come back into how we are going to make these changes. And really, the reason we have the emails of the most of the emails is because we did not have a better way to do it, or we didn’t know any other way. So it is a great time now to get into that. And to get organizations to really start figuring out what what is the channel, you know, one of the problems is, you see many organizations that are using multiple channels instead of a centralized one on that instead of reduced email sent increasing number of emails because nobody knows where the information is coming out and coming in. So but but as Julie was saying, you know, Julie bester, was saying France has literally legislation for bidding expectations for company and friends, tend to be ahead on the things also dynamic business growth, saying, We must have time for ourselves, and understanding that we have these devices in our pockets, that yes, can connect us 24. Seven, culture is important to understand because the number of emails are not going to go away. They’re not going to be reduced in any way, shape, or form. But it is important to understand what is the company policy? And what is your personal policy? What is what you are willing to do and not do and have those rules on the open for everybody.
Art Gelwicks 22:06
And thinking about the comment that Julie made, I mean, mandating that you are not to deal with work email outside of email. That’s not where I’m going with this. It’s you have to have the choice if I decide that I am most productive at eight o’clock that on a Sunday night, and I want to respond to a bunch of emails, and I choose to do that because it’s effective. But if you’re telling me that I get an email at 8am on a Sunday morning, and I need to respond by 9am. That’s taking nothing into consideration for the most effective delivery of work and the highest quality work. That’s a no,
Augusto Pinaud 22:43
no, no, I think I think that’s what the friendzone installation said, it’s exactly that that the company cannot say if I send you an email, you can reply, but the company cannot expect that you are going to reply until business hours in the right way. That’s the way it should be.
Art Gelwicks 22:57
Now there is a problem with this that we get into it’s not related to email. But when we start to look at technologies like chat, and slack and or teams and slack and things like that, you start to develop that same mindset, hey, I sent you a chat. And I can see when you’re typing those lovely little three bubbles start coming is like, okay, you’re going to respond, you’re going to respond, you’re going to respond, we have to say that up front, I’m very clear to anybody, you send me an email, I will respond to it, when I get to it. That’s the way it works. I’m not giving you any other timetable around it, because I’m sorry, you’re not the only thing in my inbox. And that’s a clear expectation. But I also operate with that expectation. If I send you an email, I have a reasonable time period that you’re not going to touch it. I don’t expect you to get to that that day. Maybe the next day, maybe two days, I will put in the email, Hey, can you get back to me by a certain point if there’s a time sensitivity to it, but it’s a respect piece. And I think that’s one of the things that gets lost in a lot of this is we lose that respect of the fact this is a communication. I mean, if you think about it now, when you get a phone call from someone, how many people just like it, like they call me? Because you feel like you must answer that right then, although you have a lot of people that duck it to voicemail too. So
Raymond Sidney-Smith 24:18
there’s a corollary to this, which is also operating from the perspective that you shouldn’t be email responding at every moment in email, respond, you know, shows up in your inbox, I think a lot of people see email arrive. And it’s the latest and loudest thing and Allah David Allen, and they immediately jump on the email because it’s this little dopamine kick, they get to responding back to those emails. I tried to group emails based on context, so that I’m responding in line with the projects I’m working on at that time, not just because it’s the one that just showed up. Now, I changed that modality when I’m doing inbox processing when I’m doing clarifying and organizing, because then I know I’m going to get through all of the email in that inbox, but I will frequently take email out of the inbox on place it with the project so that I deal with those things in a greater context. That is, I know that I’m dealing with this project. So I’m thinking about all the parts of that project, as opposed to, oh, you know, I have to switch gears every time I see another email throughout the course of the day, I see the email show up, I respond to it. And then I’m not responding as my best me, right, I’m not responding with all of the pieces in front of me all the reference items, I need to make the right choices there. And I see people doing that all the time. And that is not the appropriate way to work. So even though maybe you’re best at one particular time of the day, that also doesn’t mean that you’re your best to you at that moment for that project. So kind of give those things in consideration as we move our way through. Okay, next up is a gousto, your first favorite episode of our first 100.
Augusto Pinaud 25:51
So I pick Episode Number 10, zero 10. For two reasons. The one is that was the first episode, we recorded four of us. So that that that has, you know, a particular significance. But also, he was one episode on a topic that we repeat the topic was the most productive smartphone. And when we start those discussions, there was a clear distinction between iOS and Android. And as we went from Episode 10, to Episode 100, all this thing has been getting closer and closer and closer to the point that even my recommendation that I will have done on episode 10 of, you know, get an iPhone now is what is the system you want and what you want to do with the system. And whatever phone you pick, pick the rest of your devices, that will have been an advice I will give today. But it will be advised that I will have no gift on that episode 10. And that was something that I personally learned in this podcast and that I personally learned more about it, you know, fighting with art and Andre and Francis. So it’s a really episode that is special for me.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 27:07
Yeah, I definitely have to say that this episode is I think if we recorded this today, it would be a completely different episode. Because I don’t see the smartphone the same way. And I think that’s a good thing. I think that I’ve grown as a, as someone who has been so focused on just the task efficiency of the device. And, you know, now I have a greater appreciation for mobile productivity than we haven’t I haven’t I have had in the past. And and that’s mostly, you know, because I think to a great extent that the technology the application ecosystem has has matured. But I think another part is just pushing me to using it more. And that has been a great, I think benefit of, of us being able to get together and and have good rhetoric around these topics each week.
Francis Wade 28:10
I also sense that there has been a lessons more change in May my smartphone use where I am. I think long and hard. No, before I add an app to my phone, like I I it’s more than just the, you know, when an app is presented to you, you think about the convenience. And that’s the number one thing, you know, number one consideration. But now No, it is I asked myself, okay, how much time am I going to spend responding to notifications from this app? Do I really want to use it? The places where I carry my smartphone and don’t have my laptop? Do I want to be distracted by it? Is it a necessary channel of communication? Or is it just a nice to have? Is it even a channel of communication? Or is it just an app that really should sit somewhere else but because they made an app, therefore I put it on my phone? So my sort of criteria for deciding has changed completely. It’s that conversation that that whole the argument that goes to me in the beginning that there should be four things on your smartphone and nothing else like they were back in the 90s you know that that the theory of for for applications and nothing else is really required. That whole line of thinking I think
Art Gelwicks 29:33
all argue that snake was a highly productive app. Thank you very much. So
Francis Wade 29:38
Art Gelwicks 29:41
back on the luckiest man. Let’s talk about flip phone.
Unknown Speaker 29:45
I love that episode
Art Gelwicks 29:46
that we covered about this and I love every time we revisit it, because it helps me rethink my use of probably the most Consistently use technology device I have I laptops, Chromebooks, all that happy stuff. I don’t go anywhere without my phone anymore. That’s just the thing. And I look at it as if I need information, it’s there. If I need to do something, it’s there. And the better I can use that tool, the better I am at what I need to do. And it really, it has become now a way of me honing my skills to be able to utilize this fixed set of technology. The other thing too, is I mean, it’s been three years since we recorded that episode, I’m thinking, we’re pretty much at peak phone as it is, I mean, differences year to year right now, aren’t as much as they used to be when it comes to phone devices. So we’re looking more and more what can we do with them the way they are, rather than waiting for a hardware or major software change in the back end.
Augusto Pinaud 31:01
And it’s interesting, because he’s now being a software games where you have Android with what I think are Samsung, what I think is their brilliant dex concept. And you have the other people trying to figure it out. Hey, I still will continue saying that this next concept is brilliant. And it may happen that if I would change it from Apple, I don’t think so. But if I change for Apple, that will be my my route. Otherwise, I hope that Apple invent that pretty soon, we can have multiples.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 31:39
Yeah, definitely a great episode and one that we will certainly be revisiting again in the future, because smartphone and mobile productivity, I think is the future for so many of us. And, and more importantly than that, most of the people on the planet will be coming into computing today, using a mobile device. If you think about all of the emerging, you know, economies of the world. They’re not moving into, they’re not being connected to the web, on a laptop or a desktop computer. They’ll they think of those things, it’s very foreign. And they’ll be coming online with a smartphone. And that’s really remarkable. And what we have lot to lot to learn from that will we’ll have so much to learn from a productivity perspective, how people stay efficient, and become efficient with, you know, connectivity on the mobile perspective. Okay, next up is my first favorite episode of our first 100 episodes. And that ends up being Episode 20, Episode 20, we covered the concept of valuing other people’s time. And I really enjoyed this episode, because, one, it just feeds my pet peeves. But, but the reality is, is that, I think more now than ever, you know, there’s no greater time in history, when we should be valuing other people’s time. And it was, I think, really great episode because we covered all the various aspects. And I think that it actually tested stands the test of time, you know, I listened to all 100 episodes in preparation for this 100th episode, and or the first 99 episodes, actually, we’ve recorded more than 100 as of the date of recording, so I actually actually have listened to it. Hey there, Dr. Buck, Dr. Frank buck is joining us. And he’s saying hello, hello. And so welcome. And so the the notion behind value other people’s time, especially now, more than any other time in history is I was noting earlier, is that we have more leisure time as the world progresses. And we get into a sustainable set of economies, even with this hiccup with COVID-19. And the economic recovery afterward, we’re coming into one of the most stable economic periods of all time, and because of that more people have, you know, leisure time, and that’s what a liberal life is, right? A free life is is having more free time, what we do with that time is actually really important. And that means time becomes much more valuable to all of us in terms of how much time we spend on work, especially if we go we move closer toward what I believe is the the true metric, which is performance results outcomes of our work, not the time we spend not button chair time, but the time we spend actually producing and having results for those for that work done. The more we do that, then the rest of the time has to be calculated, which means that you know, if you’re wasting my time, you’re wasting truly my time, my time left on this planet. And I think there’s no greater level of understanding of productivity than what you want to do with that time. And then ultimately, ultimately, valuing that time so that you can understand that from a from a kind of a perspective outside of yourself. How do people on the other side of my a using or abusing that time? How do they see that and and I just think that’s just a really great message, too. Always be communicating among the people with whom you connect.
Art Gelwicks 35:05
Yeah, it’s fascinating to me thinking about this episode and talking about this when we recorded it. Because we were in the thick of that. Everybody’s working so fast, and everybody’s got a side hustle. And then the rules changed. And we hit marching. And the rules changed. Now you had way more time than you did before. And you were trying to figure out well, where did all this time come from? That was one of the first thing I noticed when when the rules change was why did why is this the case. And then I realized all these things that are scurrying around to do just weren’t happening anymore. But then I realized that just because that times there doesn’t mean it’s not as value valuable as it was before. It is critically valuable. Wasting time is something that I’ve actually started to develop more and more. I don’t want to say that guilt complex around, but a Cognizant use of the time. If I’ve got an hour available. What can I do with that? What can I do with that effectively, rather than just, you know, futzing around and bingeing another series on Netflix. It’s a different mindset now, but I think it’s just as true when we recorded that initially as it is today.
Francis Wade 36:24
I’m also because of the pandemic, more cognizant of, like you said, every hour, but it feels more precious. No, I guess, I guess it’s because you know, there are people that people who are dying because of the COVID-19 virus, and, you know, just having sort of danger around me or around us as a global community, makes me very makes me way more careful, I would say, also not having to do things like you said, and include commuting as futzing around, which is, someone showed me the other day, last week before that, they, they used to have this set of meetings every Friday, but the local university for this NGO, and it would take, you know, someone like me, would take me an hour and a half to drive there an hour to present, and then an hour and a half to drive home. And I was very frank and I said, to be honest, if you had called me back, then I would have said no. Because for us to, to interact with a group that’s not you know, kind of small and borrowing, four hours, really four hours, no feels like an eternity to do something like that. So I have gotten way more choosy. And thought are very aware. I guess.
Art Gelwicks 37:54
It’s interesting, there’s a meme floating around that I find funny. And it talks about, we think about before the rules changed. how, you know, we’ve all said this at 1.0, if I just had a week, I could get my house completely reorganized, or I could completely rework my my office, if I just had a week at home.
Augusto Pinaud 38:12
Guess what we’ll see once in a week and 2020 was unknown.
Art Gelwicks 38:16
Because we all know we can 20 years like dog years. So the thing is, is that it just, it turned out that it wasn’t the actual time, it was the commitment to do the work and make it happen and, and have those blocks fit into the right places. And for some of us, I know myself, just the fact that the time is available. Now makes me recognize the fact that probably I’m just not making the best use of it, not the fact that I didn’t have that time to work with at all. So it’s something it’s more catalyzing, than anything.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 38:53
And something that I’ve been very conscious about going back to kind of the email topic, but more importantly, in this space where I know that I’m fairly lucky, you know what I mean, in the sense that like, I can work from home, I don’t have any issues with doing so, you know, there’s there’s some first world problems with regard to working from home, you know, the dog may bark in the background and whatever else, but other people are working in very difficult environments at home. And while we’re in this work from home, hybrid, remote working environment, and I’m trying to be sensitive to that, one thing that I’ve been doing is making sure that I time my emails because you can schedule email, now in most, you know, email applications to go out at a time that you want it to. And that has helped me say, Okay, I’m going to send, you know, my email, while I’m writing it. At Saturday night, at five o’clock, I might schedule to go out on Monday morning. And this is a practice I’ve had internally for a long time. But even in my personal life now I’ve extended that where I’ve said you know what? I’m not sure this person wants to receive this email right now. considering everything going on and spending their weekend, just kind of relaxing, while during the week is very stressful, where you’re having to, you know, juggle the kids and work and you know, all the other things, being able to time your email now is actually more, more important, I think, in valuing other people’s time when I’m sending out those communique. And I think a little bit more about, you know, Google messages is now rolling out a function where you can actually schedule your messages to go out, I’m thinking about that more now. Because now I can send a text message when it’s going to be most appropriate for them to read it and not at 11 o’clock at night, just because that’s when I’m, I’m sending it. So these features coming to the system are really going to help us get greater access to responses, because we’re capable of timing those messages outbound to people, when they’re going to be best able to both deal with it emotionally, but also just from a time management perspective, as well.
Francis Wade 40:56
I’ve had people tell me, they were insulted by by the fact that their boss sent them an email at 2am in the morning. Like they use that as evidence of, like, look how crazy he or she is. I thought interesting, you know, they could the reputational risk for sending email up, Otto’s apparently, see,
Art Gelwicks 41:15
and this is one of the things that, unfortunately, so many people wind up being sheltered, is they look at the fact that they’re working in an environment where everybody’s working within the same time zone as I normally in the mornings, I will receive a number of emails, because a good portion of the team I work with is based out of Poland. Well, I’m not going to fault them for sending emails when it’s convenient for them. And it just happens to overlap with my time in the day. So if I’m getting emails at 7am, the only person who’s going to get bent out of shape about it is me. And that’s my problem, not theirs. But you’re absolutely right. I’ve called people on it. I used to have a co worker years ago, who would send emails two o’clock in the morning, three o’clock in the morning. And the one day, I picked him up, I’m like, are you okay? I mean, you’re up at three in the morning doing work, because I have a newborn. I work when I can. And I had no idea about that person circumstance until I asked. And I think that’s when we look at this. One of the things that pandemic has made us do is we have to be aware of each other’s individual circumstances, and find ways to work collaboratively within those circumstances.
Augusto Pinaud 42:33
I think that go ahead. No, I think that’s the massive difference. And that’s one awareness that that has to come. Because when people when you assume most people was from their office, or your assume everybody was on some form of an office, you assume everybody’s conditions were different. Now with this, people has come to realize, oh, people have kids on issues and schedules and all this, you know, and they are coming more into, or let it go let it slide or coming to understand, okay, you’re sending emails during the morning, why? And things like what you described are happening, you’re sending emails, I’m 9pm, what is happening? Well, I have kids, okay, from seven to nine, it’s trying to fit them shower to bed times. I know this. But now at nine, I finally get quiet. And I can think and I think one of the things that this pandemic has brought is that awareness for more people that, oh, conditions are not perfect or similar to mine, or the same as mine. And that has been something fantastic.
Art Gelwicks 43:40
Yeah, it’s, it’s one of those things that as we start to recognize it, we have to hold on to it, though, it’ll be easy to lose that perspective as things quote, removed, returned to normal. The other thing I wanted to call out real quick, though, is this has taught me the importance of an hour and the value of an hour. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about, okay, what can I do in an hour and set a timer, I’m going to start doing this. And it’s basically like a fat pomodoro. I’m going to set my hour and that’s what I’m going to get done. So yeah, my life has become a fat tomato. I can live with that. But things like I have an hour at home, I’m going to go out and rake leads, I’m not going to sit at the computer, I’m going to go do that. And when that’s done, I’m going to come back in is if it’s finished at the hour, great if it’s not finished, okay, but at least I’ve made some progress. But being being present in the same place at the same time, I lose the excuse of transit. Well, I have to go there to do this. I have to go there to do that. So I won’t actually do it. That’s not an excuse anymore. So I have to say, all right, how do I keep this ball rolling. There’s so many different aspects to this and so many different pieces. But again, it’s that value, not only valuing each other’s time but valuing growth.
Augusto Pinaud 45:00
So two things. One is for the people who are listening who is on his bingo board for 2020 have fat tomato as a goal for 2020. But the second thing and and, and Julie says in the chat, you know, we need to stop thinking of email as they were phone calls, the expectation should be that receive and handle in the way of convenience of the recipient the same way you used to receive paper mail, okay, I used to get to the office, and you get all these paper now it’s coming between the email and, and the slack and the things and interestingly enough, one of the things on which I invest a lot of time when I’m doing coaching is to teaching people to manage and handle this notifications, you know, beginning of the school year, I went to my kids school and teach the teachers how to manage those notifications, because honestly, they didn’t know and there was one teacher who come and say, I stopped checking my email because I could not handle, you know, that 30 Kids notification per work per homework, plus the additional things where I was getting 300 emails a day, I just simply decide not to open anymore that did. And I worked with her getting her notifications in control. And she was fine. So we need to get into understanding that part understanding. Email is not a phone call, email is not something that you receive, and you need to respond in that second, as no is not a slack as is not a text. If you need a response. Now, jus need to use something different email is something same as a text, same as in slack that you’re sending to me. So I can manage to my system at the convenience of the recipient, within reason.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 47:01
I have to get up on my soapbox for just a moment I was just doing a search on George’s asking if we’ve done an episode on timeboxing slash pomodoro. Can somebody answer that question? Look up that question on productivitycast.net. For me, while I answer it while I get on my soapbox for a moment, which is to say that I am uniquely aware of the the golden rule, and I am on an ongoing battle against it. Do unto others as they would have done unto you is, is I think up to it sounds like an American came up with that concept. Do unto others as they would have done unto themselves, which requires you to actually go out there and ask people how they work best. Ask them how they communicate best, and get in dialogue, get in right relationship with those people, and you will be more productive and more efficient. And I find this problem constantly in my own personal life. Because I try to express to people how I was best work, I explain to them how I best am able to do things. And then they explicitly deny that reality that somehow I’m going to do what they want just because of the way in which they want me to do those things. And that’s not how I operate. And I never will I’m too stubborn. And, and to be quite honest, that’s how I, I limit my work in progress. All personal combine. So I think it’s really imperative that we learn this lesson during the covid 19 pandemic, that we go out there and we act with compassion, we go to people, and we ask them how they best would like something to be done. I don’t like this notion, either, by the way, not that any of you are potential romantic partners. But I don’t like it when romantic partners come to you and say, Oh, you know, I could just think what my partner wants. And and they and I can and I can do it. And you know, this whole thing that somehow romantic partners can can somehow summon, you know, kind of like, envision what you want and do it for you ask, just ask ask your romantic partners in the world what they want. give them what they explicitly ask for that will help your relationships. And if you don’t trust me, just trust, you know, Dr. Gottman, and our you know, doctors Gottman, and the rest of the you know, marriage experts out there. The reality is, is that the half of you who are getting divorced out there, it’s not happening because you have great abilities to, you know, foresee what your partner’s want. It’s because you’re not asking them what they want. So, you know, back to the whole point of this conversation was other people’s time and the value of other people’s time. We need to get over this notion that somehow we know what other people best want. You don’t know what I want, and you don’t know what other people want until we tell you and and i think that’s so important to us getting over this hump of how to be more efficient and effective in an environment. It comes down to asking everyone does anybody have an answer for George?
Art Gelwicks 49:51
Raymond Sidney-Smith 49:53
Thank you Episode 24. So if you go to ProductivityCast or wonderful ProductivityCast dotnet Word slash zero to four. And you will go ahead and get that. Yes, Julie vestry is noting, there’s a whole dichotomy between the ask and guest culture, and I find it to be obtuse and absurd. And we need to get over this concept. And and get to, you know, from the golden rule to what we know now kind of coin is the diamond or platinum rule. You know, Dr. dalesandro, has coined it as the Platinum rule. And but this, you know, dates back to the classics, the ancient Greek concepts of this of this notion. But anyway, that is absolutely true. Okay, we’ve got time for a few more items from our last 100 episodes, I’m going to pick on you art, and and then you, Francis to give us our last two episodes. So art, what was your second choice for favorite episodes among our top 100.
Art Gelwicks 50:55
This is another one out of the back catalogue from November of 2017. And this is Episode 19, maker manager and the artists productivity. I thought this one, this is one that I think everyone should revisit multiple times. Because it’s some deep thinking around, not doing tasks, not doing specific actions, but what is the actual mental makeup of the type of productivity that you’re striving for in the environment that you are. And to give some context around it, if I were to think about myself, I fit into each one of these categories on a daily basis, whether it’s a manager helping others coordinate their work, whether it’s maker where I’m taking care of producing something, and often producing it in a repetitive type of content, or type of process are down to an artist, where it’s a truly creative approach, the productivity techniques and the tools and the approaches are different, depending on each one of those hats that you wear. And we we often lose sight of that we try to apply the same cookie cutter approaches to every one of these, and we wonder why it never works across all three, because it’s not gonna, it’s not designed to, we have to think about what is the end goal objective, and then work within that objective. And within these particular classes, for lack of a better term of work, when I think about it, I’ll give related context to it. I do like to do a lot of woodworking and when I go out to the workshop, that is a maker kind of mode, in most cases from doing a repetitive production type of work. But if I’m trying to design something out there, I can’t have the same goals and objectives that I do when I’m making things. And it’s one of those pieces that once we started to discuss this, and I looked at this after Episode 19, I realized that I was sabotaging myself by not putting my hat on properly.
Augusto Pinaud 53:02
I mean, it’s really I love this episode, this come from a brilliant article of Paul Graham. But one of the things that is interesting from the moment we record, episode zero 19 to now is that at the time, we record that two years ago, three years ago, it was still clear for a lot of people when you were the maker when you were the manager when you were not. And in in a additional challenge those two things for a lot of people has been mixing that make this episode even more relevant and more critical. Because if you don’t understand that sometimes you are both You are the maker, part of your responsibilities at work or for the maker and part of your responsibilities at work are the manager responsibilities. And even inside that same role, you need to learn to manage differently, otherwise, the struggle will come and otherwise, the suffering will come it make that episode even more interesting.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 54:13
Yeah, something that I want to explore this kind of, I’m sorry that we’re running out of time. So I want to I’m going to cut us off there. In terms of our discussion of past episodes, and kind of talk a little bit about the future. One of the things that I really want all of us to do on the ProductivityCast team is to kind of explore more of our own thoughts on productivity there. There are so many different, you know, things that we have come up with over the years and I think that it will be kind of an exciting time in 2021 and maybe into 2022 where we get a chance to really discuss some of these deeper thoughts that we have on the on not just time management, but on energy management on the notions of optimizing and so and so forth. Fourth, Francis, were you serious and wanting to do some shout outs? We’re okay, sir. Sure. But But anyway, but are there any big ticket items, gentlemen that you would like to see in future ProductivityCast episodes, anything that comes to mind, I know that I certainly want to talk more about the maker manager and artists role because I have myself thought about and beyond those roles, and, and certainly wanting to explore what those really mean. And I have my own very, I think, set in stone so far. moldable, it’s soapstone, moldable stone, but I have them fairly set in stone. Now in terms of these extension of these roles in terms of how you’d be how you can be more productive. I’m curious if you have any thoughts about other future productivity topics that you’re looking forward to?
Francis Wade 55:57
I have one, I made a rather skip Alameda shift from being a separate app to being within the browser app. And I always suspected that it would help but it made a huge difference to my workflow. And that made me wonder about the larger question that when you fit an app that calls for new behaviors into existing behaviors, how much of a difference it makes to the individuals productivity? I don’t think app designers think that through. And we also don’t think it’s true. And we’re thinking
Raymond Sidney-Smith 56:31
Speak for yourself. Number, my number we’re all software developers understand, are we developing new piece of software? And you come to me and say, Hey, would you like to use that, if it is not already integrated in my ecosystem? It’s a non starter, right? That’s just a non sequitur to the whole experience, I cannot change all of my productive behaviors for your one application. And that is a that’s a huge, huge hit to my overall productivity, and it’s not even worth testing. And I see so many people coming across that problem. So that’s a point we’ll definitely want to explore in a future
Francis Wade 57:08
technology on a whole not just apps, but all technologies, including smartphones, new devices, all of them
Art Gelwicks 57:14
art. Yeah, to me, the thing I want to look at is the cost of productivity. And it’s not that not the financial costs, but the costs personally, professionally relationship. We we talk about getting things done well, there’s a price tag, and what’s that price tag that we’re willing to pay? And how do we mitigate that? I think that needs to be explored a little bit more deeply when we think about the impacts so I’m looking forward to digging into that further as we get into some of these other conversations.
Augusto Pinaud 57:49
Same here I really enjoy the rabbit trails and on one of the things that this episode 100 produced for me was they want to revisit some of those old episodes where really thinks has changed radically in two or three years and he will be really fantastic to bring it back and
Francis Wade 58:11
disgusting. debunk episode.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 58:15
Unknown Speaker 58:16
debunk. Yeah. Eve’s episode.
Francis Wade 58:20
Art Gelwicks 58:21
Yeah, no, that’s every episode. I tried to
Augusto Pinaud 58:26
even on the even on the live 100 we did the blooper in the first three seconds.
Francis Wade 58:32
Thank you guys. All right.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 58:34
I just want to express my thanks to Agusta pronounced Francis weighed in our galax you guys put up with me and allowed me to be able to put out these episodes each and every week. And so I really thank you for the first 100 and I look forward to our next 100 episodes together. And so thank you. Really, genuinely thank you for joining me each week on ProductivityCast.
Art Gelwicks 58:55
Well, anybody who who listens to this needs to appreciate the amount of work that you put in right to make this happen. I mean, the three of us who sit in here fill in these little boxes on the screen. We have the easiest job on the planet I boost is probably only second in this because he’s got to work more directly on getting stuff put together. But
Francis Wade 59:14
I do nothing.
Art Gelwicks 59:15
Right. Yeah, Francis and I were just pretty faces. We’re just pretty faces we we bring the charm and the appearance and that’s better. Thank you. I know.
Unknown Speaker 59:25
Art Gelwicks 59:27
But there is no question that Ray you make this happen. You are the lifeblood product given ProductivityCast wouldn’t be around without you. So thank you so much for making that
Francis Wade 59:37
Raymond Sidney-Smith 59:38
You’re welcome. And thank you gentlemen. And so with that, thank you to our live audience today. This has been a real treat to be able to see everybody commenting in the chat and engaging with us. This is what we want to engage in our offline discussions because of the podcast nature of it and and you not being able to listen in real time all the time. My dog is actually About your about ProductivityCast, too. So what what I what I want everyone to know is that the conversation doesn’t stop here. If you have a question or a comment about what we’ve discussed during this episode, you can always visit or any episode you can always visit productivitycast.net. Look through the episode list. And you can find that episode and comment directly there on the podcast website. We have a comment section you can leave a comment or question we’re always happy to read and respond to those when you when you leave them, as well. If you have a topic you’d like to hear in the next hundred episodes of ProductivityCast, head over to ProductivityCast dotnet forward slash contact, you can actually voice recorded leave a voice message for us, as well as type a message into the box. And maybe we’ll feature that common question or topic in a future episode. So with that, I want to express again, my thanks to stepping out Francis weighed in our galaxy for joining me on this ProductivityCast 100 live and you can learn more about them by visiting their websites, they’re all linked to on productivitycast.net just click on the VR About Us page and you’ll be able to find them. I’m Ray Sidney-Smith and on behalf of all of us here at ProductivityCast here’s to productive life. Here’s to the next 100 episodes take care of you.
Download a PDF of raw, text transcript of the interview here.
Hey guys, thanks for the content! I’d like to hear your ideas about handling extended busy times. I’ve been practicing GTD (poorly, but trying) for 4 or 5 years and firmly believe in the system. I’m a manager in what is, unfortunately, effectively an open office. I don’t currently have the ability to schedule my time which makes it extremely difficult to work on the important things without getting interrupted. In the next few months I’ll be moving to a separate office in the same building which will then give me the opportunity put a schedule in place. In the meantime, and for others caught in the same sort of situation (think customer service for example) it would be great to get some tips on what might work in these types of situations. Cheers!
You’re welcome, Brent! Glad to hear you’ll be able to command your schedule soon! We’ll add this topic to the queue to discuss at the start of the new year. 👍🏻