Welcome to our Founder Productivity Hacks blog series, where we interrogate the question: what get movers and shakers… moving and shaking? At AppSumo, we _love_ productivity hacks because you never know when you’re going to stumble upon that one bit of golden advice that will change your work life forever.
First, tell us a bit about you.
“Sure, I’m Kennedy – I’m one of the founders of ResponseSuite, the survey tool built specifically to power-up your marketing by integrating with other tools so you can show the right message to every person, every time. I’m also one host of The Email Marketing Show, a podcast about email marketing.”
What is your productivity philosophy?
“I’m all about time blocking. Most things that can be done in 60-mins can be done in 40. So I only take 20 and 40-minute meetings.
I also created something called the ‘Bank Manager Technique,’ which I named after trying to get a meeting with my bank manager.
Here’s how it goes:
By the Thursday of each week I have to fill out every meeting slot in my day for the following working week. That means I know exactly what is happening every day and I can rattle through more than almost anyone else I know.
I’m also a huge fan of ‘personal optimization.’ Knowing what times of day you work at your best, and doing the most appropriate tasks at those times — and leaving the less intense tasks to when you’re not at your optimum levels of focus/creativity or whatever.”
What are your unique productivity challenges?
“I run 3 businesses, and I’m constantly being chased for my time by various people. The challenge with being SO organized is when an opportunity pops up that is not in the plan, but is a short-notice opportunity, I generally have to miss out on those.”
Can you tell us more about:
“20-minute meetings, especially when there’s a stopwatch in front of you, keep you focused. So many people take way longer than they need to — 20 mins forces you to focus.”
Time blocking one week ahead
“It makes us less reactive, and more proactive and strategic. I once saw a sign that said ‘your lack of planning is not my emergency’ and I think that’s pretty cool.”
Moving stuff off your desk
“Deal with stuff immediately. Decide to delegate things, delete things, take care of them now, or schedule in when you will take care of them. I used to suck at this but it’s slowly becoming a regular habit.”
What books or resources would you recommend for productivity?
David Allen, Getting Stuff Done and Tim Ferriss The 4-Hour Work Week
What popular “productivity hacks” actually work against people?
“These days we want our systems to all talk to each other. But personally, I hate duct-taping systems together using a third party in order to make them efficiently integrate.
Ideally, we want everything to come into our CRM and project management systems so we don’t have to log into separate systems to get a clear picture of our business. But if a system integrates with other systems then they should put the work into doing that integration instead of relying on third party integration apps that are simply another link in a chain that can (and almost always do) fail.
Third-party failure causes much bigger problems and kills your productivity since you end up fire-fighting difficult and stressful tech issues. If an app’s only option of integration is through a 3rd party then I’ll skip it in favor of one that has done the work to do the integration directly.”
What is the biggest obstacle for most people today when it comes to productivity?
“Changing your existing habits is really hard, man. And getting other to understand that you want to work at optimum efficiency. The other challenge is the lack of flexibility. It’s a regimented way of working. Also, typos and auto-correct can make you look stupid when working at speed.”
Anything else you’d like to say or add?
“WAY too many people use productivity and efficiency as an excuse to be rude. It’s not. Be kind, take the time and use systems to make yourself productive. Don’t replace relationships with automation.
Just create systems to allow yourself to get more done so you can spend more time creating deeper relationships. Also, cut out all of the choices you make that you don’t need to make.”
If you enjoy this series or have a certain founder you want to hear from, let us know in the comments below.