WLP17 Productivity

Today's episode focuses on Productivity and includes a virtual coffee with Lisette Sutherland. Lisette describes five things we can do when we're working from home, to help us do our work to the best of our abilities.

This podcast focuses on working productively from home.

00:30 Pilar introduces the theme of productivity and some blogs. (Transcript below.)
04:13 Kirstin ODonovan, Productivity Coach has a few words to say.
07:15 The importance of clarity.
08:50 Lisette's updates including update on the Happy Melly team and what do we mean by "working well together". Pilar's updates.
18:15 Productivity - Top Five tips
26:00 Have great equipment.
30:55 Move your body and mind your energy.
34:40 Plan your day the night before.
38:40 Pair collaboration.
43.10 Collect metrics, evaluate your happiness.


In our virtual coffee, we focus on productivity when working remotely, mainly when working from home. But, as always, I did want to extend this a little bit beyond the virtual worker, so as ever, I try to apply some of what Lisette says to the wider working world and specifically, to working in teams.

Now, as you’ll hear during the conversation with Lisette, I’m not a great fan of the word Productivity and I wasn’t quite sure of why – but while talking with LIsette, I realised that my problem is mainly with the word in itself and also with the fact that a lot of “productivity tips” seem to be little plasters we put on wider problems, when most of the time, the reasons why things are not getting done, or are getting done in inefficient ways, are much deeper and difficult to solve. But, as always, Lisette has some great advice on making the most out of working remotely, and I have to say I loved her five suggestions to help you work more efficiently.

And indeed, it was through talking to her that I realised why I wasn’t in love with this whole subject, which of course reminded me of how valuable it is a lot of the time to talk things through with others to understand ourselves. And “understanding ourselves” is key if we want to become more productive, effective, efficient, whatever it is that you want to call this thing we’re going to talk about.

So, remembering that everything anyone says in this podcast is their own opinion and that if we’re giving advice, we’re not responsible for how you implement it, the one thing I have to say on the subject of productivity is that you need to know where you are in your work to implement the different tactics out there. Some will serve you very well in the short term and you need to know what to change so that you will also operate well in the long term.

There are many systems out there to improve your work flow and the most popular one seems to be Getting Things Done or GTD by David Allen, which has been adapted many times and is also mandatory training in some corporations. There’s also the legendary blog http://www.43folders.com/   and the last entry was in 2011, but the principles are timeless and if you’re really into reading around the subject, Leo Babauta has a post with links to most of the productivity blogs around http://zenhabits.net/the-top-50-productivity-blogs-most-of-which-you-havent-heard-about/   And of course there is Stephen Covey’s Time Management matrix, for prioritizing tasks and deciding what can be delegated.

So, in today’s virtual coffee with Lisette, we catch up, as always and then we go onto the subject of productivity when working from home and Lisette gives us five suggestions on how to get the best work done. But before we move onto that chat, just two days ago, I was recording for the Spain Uncovered podcast and I was interviewing a friend called Kirstin O’Donovan who happens to be a productivity coach, in Madrid. We started talking and during her introduction I thought, ha ha, this could be interesting for the episode on Productivity, so here are just three minutes of our conversation.

[During this brief intervention, Kirstin talks about how fear of failure and success often stop us from doing our work and how the most important thing to see is clarity.]

So, Clarity, thank you Kirstin. For me, that’s the most important thing if we want to take control of our work, clarity in what we need to do, what we want to do, what’ s urgent, what’s important, what’s good for the short term, what’s good for the long term, what we like doing, what causes us stress etc etc.


So, once again, huge subject and actually, when you start to really look into it, also quite fascinating. Before our virtual coffee, just a quick reminder that you can connect with me via twitter @PilarOrti and that Lisette’s handle is @lightling

We mention:

The Progress Principle, Teresa Amabile

Personify camera

Logitech H800 Wireless Headset for PC and Mac (affiliate link)

Help! by Oliver Burkman

Sqwiggle  (and remember to tell them Lisette sent you!)