Systemize Productivity

Feeling overwhelmed with never ending to dos, emails, chat pings, activities and a sense of urgency around you all the (work) time?

You are not alone!

Over the past year, while working in a large corporate environment, I have experienced true overwhelm firsthand. I must say the craziness is 100x compared to a startup. This new environment tested and broke all of my productivity systems. As someone who is deeply interested in productivity, I felt dejected, helpless and even hurt.

Five months ago, I took it upon myself to fix this overwhelm forever (for my own wellbeing).

Before delving into my learnings and reflections, I want to acknowledge that our work system has become crazier over the last decade. Ironically, despite the innovations in productivity tools, we are getting more overwhelmed 🤷‍♀️.

Also, I realised that not everything is your fault. It takes maturity to understand that everyone around need not be organized or structured or systematic and rightfully so. You could be paying what I call as "environment tax". Please add this to your productivity and stop beating yourself up for everything.

Here is something that is working for me.

1/ I choose one tool (Figma) for processing information and one tool (Excel) for storing information. Segregating these two was the best decision I ever made. I process (meeting notes, emails, chats, hallway conversations) information every day, but I synthesise and store them only once a week. In simple words, I collect every day and connect once a week. This restored a lot of sanity. Now I don't bother how much comes my way. Bring it on people!

2/ I store information in a certain way. I bundle tasks under a workstream. This chunking reduces the overwhelm. What sounds like a 100-item list becomes 5 or 7 initiatives. Focus only on 3 workstreams at a time. You can handle more provided you have someone else owning more workstreams and are reporting to you. This helps you to be on top of things and super responsive when someone sends you a note.

3/ I pick a learning theme every month from workplace and find time/opportunities to learn about that aspect in the flow. Learning need not be always done by clearing your schedule and focusing. It can happen on the go and as a theme. I don't hold anyone else (including my org) accountable for my learning. This is my problem, and I will deal with it. This accountability helps me pick what I am curious to learn in that context. After changing my ideas of learning I am actually learning better.

Just three things. Workstreams, task logs and work breakdown against workstreams and a monthly learning theme. This remains a constant and it can be applied to every context you are a part of. Just the meat changes and everything else stays the same.

Apply and see if this is helping you as well.

🥂 to corporate productivity!

Subscribe to Karthi's Blog

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.