Last weekend I was still buzzing by an answer I gave a colleague on the question “What did you learn last four years?” The first part of my answer was that I have sincere questions whether IT can boost knowledge worker productivity. Having worked in IT for more than 10 years and still am, this answer had more impact on me than I thought.

A book I was reading actually helped me see some light and perspective on my own answer. This book was PresentationZen, for me this book is about how to tell your story. Based upon ancient but actual Zen-wisdom Garr Reynolds makes the case for a better way to tell you story. His most important lessons for me are about Wabi Sabi (which means a much as “beauty in imperfection and simplicity”), “empty your cup so it may be filled” this means that you have to clear your mind to have new ideas and “we cannot see our reflection in running water, it is only in still water that we can see” meaning that in our high pressure economy you need to slow down and take some distance to reflect, learn and set priorities.

My main concern on productivity is based on my own experience with energy levels. No matter what technology supports my work, if I sleep less than 7 hours my productivity gets worse! If I am out of shape I lose concentration faster. Uncertainty on goals, constant interruption, the illusion of multitasking, big events in my personal life: all have more impact on my productivity than technology. The ideas of Tony Schwartz and the energy project reflect these findings.

Technology has impact on productivity that is without question but (ceteris paribus) far less impact than (again ceteris paribus) energy levels or applying the same zen wisdom to work as to presentations. The lessons from Garr Reynolds and Tony Schwartz may proof to have more impact on knowledge worker productivity than the ideas of Sergey Brin and Steve Jobs….

PS Thanks Adam Bowie for this nice image!

Geen categorie

Being More Productive with David and Tony

Last weekend I read a conversation in HBR between David Allen and Tony Schwartz. David Allen is the creator of Getting Things Done, a list-driven productivity approach. Tony Schwartz is the CEO of The Energy Project, he boosts productivity through the science of high performance. The conversation was very interesting and inspiring. David Allen describes his ideas as the uncovering of the strategic value of clear space. To be creative you need space and freedom. The techniques of GTD ensure you get this freedom and space. One big lesson of GTD is to start the day with the most important task for that day. In the morning you are fit and fully charged to do the task. The Energy project focusses on the energy needed to perform. There are four dimensions of energy that we all need: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. An important first lesson of energy in the physical dimension is to work intensively for 90 minutes and then take time to recover. The basic idea here is that life in essence is not continuous but it is rhythmic Think about your hart rate, muscle movement and breathing. If these are all rhythmic, you should work with the same concept. Another lesson is that sleep is very important, this is known since a long time but still to many people do not sleep enough and are less productive than they could or should be!

Today I started the day with my most important task and my feeling when I was finished was super. The day was succesfull from the start. Do you get the same feeling when you start with email?


Masters of Information

Today we discussed a new idea about a masterclass on information productivity. We looked at our ideas about Enterprise Information Management and tried to envision the next steps. What is Information Productivity and which topics do we want to include? During our two hour discussion we got to the essence and were satisfied about the results.

What do you think should be included in a masterclass information productivity and how do you want to learn from?