So I was reading this post in INC. the other day that referenced 9 Productivity Habits that Tim Ferriss said in a podcast.
But what is Productivity? Is it just getting things done? Is it working your Marketing Plan? Is it Client Relations? Is it Sales? Or is it a combination of all that and more. I think it’s going to be a little different for each person.
I’ll cut to the chase. Here’s the big 9
- Do Not Answer Calls From Unrecognized Numbers
- Do Not Email First Thing in the Morning or Last Thing at Night
- Do Not Agree to Meetings or Calls With No Clear Agenda or End Time
- Do Not Let People Ramble
- Do Not Check Email Constantly
- Do Not Over communicate With Low-Profit, High-Maintenance Customers
- Do Not Work More to Fix Being Too Busy
- Do Not Carry a Digital Leash 24/7
- Do Not Expect Work to Fill a Void That Non work Relationships and Activities Should
I like Tim, respect him and value his opinion… and here’s where I disagree.
1. I use Google Voice. Many calls come in as Unrecognized. I answer each and every one of them. Often times it’s someone who has a tech question. Sometimes that conversation turns into a sale. Not because I’m a big closer – far from it. Often times when I answer the person says, “I’m surprised you answered your phone. I’ve called x companies and got voicemail on every one of them!“. I’ve always been against time blocking. Our conversation starts the relationship that eventually builds to a sale. Sending you to my voicemail doesn’t do that.
2. At the end of the day (or beginning) I do send out emails to my clients, potential clients and others. Most of the time it’s an update of things that I have done on their projects, or things I’m waiting for from them. Sometimes it’s just touching base. Either way, it’s putting the ball in their court (if you know what I mean). The alternative would be to send them during the middle of the day when I’m the busiest. That doesn’t make sense to me at all.
3. End time? I like meetings that are succinct and to the point but part of what we do in meetings is build and foster relationships. You can’t do that on a time schedule.
4. Ramble is as Ramble does. As a ‘Rambler’ myself sometimes my communication starts down one path and suddenly I have a fabulous idea that just needs to spurt out. When it does I may ramble down another path. My clients might do this too. If we’re talking, your rambling might open up thoughts and ideas we hadn’t discussed yet. I say Ramble Away!
5. When it comes to constantly checking email I’m better at this than most. I have a daily task list that I try my best to attack. When I have a small break – as in uploading a folder of files to a server, I may pop over to check the inbox. I use Gmail and priority inbox. I’ve setup hundreds of filters and rules. The few emails that do make it to my inbox are important enough to me to see. If I’m in the middle of something I can add that email to my task list in just a click so I can get back to it later. Now Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Google Plus area different story. 😉
6. I know the exact type of person he’s referring to. “Low-Profit, High-Maintenance Customers” come along in the same bag with the High Value, Low Maintenance ones. As for the over communication part all I can say is that I try. Some people are going to use up more of your time – period. If you want to call them a Time Suck I believe you are wrong. There is value in every relationship. Some of my best referrals come from those Time Sucking, Low-Profit, High-Maintenance Customers.
7. I’m writing this at almost 9PM at night. The day is done. I got a bunch of things checked off on the task list. My ‘work’ isn’t done yet because I put off writing this until now. There’s a distinction between ‘doing more to fix busy’ and this. I did everything I could do during the work part of my day and then walked away. Had time with the Wife, walked the dogs, had a nice dinner, watched a little Tour de France. I get the important things done as soon as I can.
8. I carry a digital leash all the time. We all have smartphones. It get’s the notifications and alerts. It allows me to be at the bank and still watch for those return emails. It sits next on my bed stand at night. Upside down and mute. but it’s off. When I ride, it’s with me, tracking my pace and miles as I pedal up the mountain. The issue isn’t carrying it 24/7, it’s having the ability to not constantly check it. To focus on the moment when that moment warrants it. We’re better than that – right?
9. This is the one point I agree with.
“Work is not all of life,” says Ferriss. This seems obvious, but the sad truth is that, though nearly everyone would agree to this in principle, it’s easy to let things slide to a point where your actions and your stated values don’t match up. Defend the time you have scheduled for loved ones and cool activities with the same ferocity you apply to getting to an important meeting for your business.
Am I right or am I wrong?