How to improve productivity with design thinking

Introduction (part 1/5)

Image credit: | Cienpies Design

Design thinking is all the rage.  From IBM to AirBnB, to reaching the cover of Harvard Business Review last year, companies are embracing a design-based way of thinking. Design thinking is here to stay and it can improve your productivity. This 5-part series will help you understand and apply design thinking personally and in your organisation.


Who cares about productivity now?

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Data analytics is the new secret-weapon for the workplace. Businesses want to create, market and track their products and services accurately and effectively.

Practically, anyone who makes, grows and sells anything can use big data analytics to make their manufacturing and production processes more efficient and their marketing more targeted and cost-effective.

So if companies can use big data to transform their performance, why shouldn’t you and I make better use of our personal data?

8 ways to stop being an email responder and resume being human

You don’t understand the pressure I’m under to respond to people right away. It never stops. I have to answer 150 e-mails every day. I feel like my job title should be something like ‘email responder’ rather than vice president for strategy. I just have to react and work my way through the list; I don’t have time to think. In fact, all the e-mails are an excuse not to think
– (The Empathic Enterprise, Mark Brown, p78)

Merchant Trask Press (June 2016)

I found this quotation hugely inspirational when I read it in Mark Brown’s book, reviewed here. I sometimes find myself in ’email responder’ mode and I have recently booked onto a training programme called “Time To Think”, that relates to the quotation. The book “Time To Think” by Nancy Kline, is an excellent book I have read in the last year, and has transformed the way I coach others.


How To Stay Human In A Digital Age

A review of "The Empathic Enterprise: Winning By Staying Human In A Digital Age" by Mark A. Brown

Merchant Trask Press (June 2016)

It feels at times as if we are approaching a tipping point, as if our society is evolving into a mob of Internet-addicted lemmings ready to tumble into an abyss of virtual vulgar rudeness, clutter and digital Taylorism. It saddens and worries me, and that is why I am writing this book.

– (The Empathic Enterprise, p76).

Mark Brown kindly sent me a copy of his book, The Empathic Enterprise. I was inspired by the passion he shows for “daring to stay human in our increasingly digital age” (ibid.), and wanted to review it here. (In the rest of this post, page numbers in brackets refer to the version of the book listed above.)


Where I failed

4 steps to high performance even when you fear failing

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Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose

– Bill Gates

Some time ago I spent a week coaching business executives in an idyllic hotel in the mountains of Austria. It sounds restful, but to be fully present for their clients, coaches ideally need a clear head and a clear diary. However, I had a problem. At the same time, I was preparing to launch Coachify™ and my diary was out of control. My task list was endless and I had a series of urgent and important deadlines to meet.

In The Red Zone

My solution? To work harder. Each day I got up at 4.30am to work for 3 hours before the start of the coaching day. I was fielding emails and calls, and my mind was full of small tasks to complete and strategic challenges to solve. All this meant that I didn’t get enough exercise and I didn’t eat well either. My sleep app told me that I averaged 4.5 hours of sleep per night that week, off the back of an already exhausting schedule. I was in the red zone.

Redefining productivity, the wearable way

Image credit: | elwynn

In a world driven by results, maximising productivity is an important way to establish how to meet and exceed your goals. No more is it a question of just letting someone “get on with it”. Now is the time to embrace technological advances in measuring efficiency, and see your business grow as you redefine the way you measure efficiency across all areas. Coachify™ are specialists in providing wearable solutions to gauge productivity across all sectors.


Productivity re-imagined

how wearables transformed my performance

Image credit: | macgyverhh

Yesterday I arrived home by 5pm, having finished work for the day. The sun was shining while I chased my 2-year old Anna round the garden for a while, then settling down to dinner with Tan, the girls and a friend. Business is busy, and I was feeling well-rested having slept soundly the previous night. Later I would go for a run. It was a productive day.

But this wasn’t a one-off. I’m in a place where I’m getting a lot done, feeling fresh, and working fewer hours in the day. How did I get here?

For the last nine months I’ve been working on and using a new service called Coachify. We have launched it recently and are seeing extremely encouraging early interest. So if you like this blog, I think you’ll be interested in finding out more.


My 1+2 plan for time mastery

become a master of time management

Image credit: | Max Griboedov

Recently, I launched my 10 Commandments of Time Mastery. Since then I have had a lot of great feedback on it, in particular the 1+2 Plan, a simple way of planning and prioritising that allows you to focus. This builds on Chet Holmes’s approach, and I’ve built on it and worked it into my routine.

Here’s how it works: list the six most important things you need to get done the next day.


3 eating excellence tips for busy mums and dads

Image credit: | Purino

As a dad of 3 young girls, I can confidently say that being a parent is one of the greatest joys in life. It’s also one of the greatest challenges! There’s plenty of advice in print and online about how to deal with those challenges well – looking at behaviour, education, play and everything else imaginable.

But perhaps you’ve never thought of getting advice about eating well? I’ve found it to be a hugely significant part of parenting. If you’re thinking about this for the first time then I’ve pulled together some tips to help (more…)

Plan different types of day

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“He who knows most grieves most for wasted time” – Dante
One of the things I talk about most often here on is time management (check out my three part series for some of my favourite tips.) We all have the same amount of time in each day, yet the decisions we make about how to use it can be the difference between productivity and chaos.