The fascinating thing about being obsessed with time management and productivity for thirty plus years is recognising at what level a person is when it comes to their personal productivity.

Level Zero

The first level is no level at all. It’s those people who have no system for managing their tasks or files and only use their calendar to see what meetings have been scheduled for them. These people are unconsciously allowing other people to dictate what they do each day, and they have no interest in building a personal productivity system.

And, of course, Level Zero people will not be reading…


Part of the problem with overwhelming to-do lists is not knowing where to start. Experience has taught me that if you want to know the most important task on your list, it’s the one most on your mind.

What do I mean by “most on your mind”? That’s the task that is bothering you. Your mind keeps returning to it and giving you a little nudge.

There’s a reason why this is on your mind. It’s because you fear that this task will take a long time to complete, so you need to start it right away, or there’s a…


There is a fallacy in productivity circles that suggests you should create a waiting for folder or tag in your productivity system for all the things you are waiting for.

On the surface, this does make quite a lot of sense. After all, we send out many messages asking for information, and perhaps we do need a way of knowing if this information has been supplied.

Let’s dig a little deeper.

Imagine you want to schedule an appointment with a client and so you email them and ask them if they could meet for lunch on Thursday. …


Many years ago, when I began my working life, I joined Forte Hotels’ management training programme, and for the following four years, I received the best education I think I have ever had.

One of the principles drilled into me from day one was always to maintain your standards.

In hotels, this meant the newspapers in the café were folded correctly. The saucer’s teaspoons were always placed in the same place, and white wines in the restaurant were always served in the correct glass and at the right temperature.

Even now, I will judge a hotel I stay in by…


The less is more principle

Becoming better organised and more productive is a great goal to have. It frees up your time to do the things you want to do. Unfortunately, most people’s idea of becoming more productive and better at time management is about doing more work.

Perhaps, though, if you want to become more productive, you need to start doing less.

Your problems begin with your to-do list.

By their very nature, to-do lists encourage you to add tasks to them. …


This is a guest post by The wonderful, Luke Smith. Thank you, Luke, for writing this for me.

To say the past year has been overwhelming might be an understatement — especially for remote employees. Between finding quality childcare, juggling a work-life balance, and staying afloat throughout a pandemic, the weight on remote workers is heavier than ever.

There are still some unfortunate stereotypes that make people believe working remotely is “easy” or more relaxing. While working from home certainly has its benefits, it can also sometimes be even harder than a traditional in-person job. A recent Monster.com …


The biggest challenge we face today is not finding information or being unable to contact the right people to help solve our problems. The biggest challenge we face is staying focused on what is important to us.

History shows that the most successful people are the ones who have been able to maintain a single focus on one thing. Right back to Aristotle with his incessant curiosity about how the world worked to Isaac Newton and his single-mindedness on understanding gravity and scientific principles to Steve Jobs bringing the principles of simplicity and minimalism to a complex field.

If history…


Some of the worst advice I hear is ‘break down your tasks into smaller chunks’. This makes sense; on the surface, when we have tasks that take only a few minutes to do, you would think we would be more motivated to do them. The trouble is we don’t do them.

The reason we don’t do them is not the length of the task; it’s getting started. It’s switching between different work modes that cause us to procrastinate and not do the tasks.

Imagine you have spent the last four hours in an intense Zoom meeting, and you are tired…


This is a guest post by The wonderful, Luke Smith. Thank you, Luke, for writing this for me.

Cultivating the growth of your employees is an ongoing challenge. On one hand, they’re human beings, not robots. You need to treat them with respect and understand that they have a full life outside of work. On the other hand, you have business goals to achieve, and your employees are instrumental in making that happen. Finding the balance between grace and expectation can be difficult.

Fortunately, you don’t have to just use a “carrot” or a “stick” to incentivise them into loving…


We all have probably thought about what a perfect day for us would look like; we may even have spent some time sketching out a few ideas on paper, but how many of us are living the ‘perfect’ day?

Our ‘perfect’ day often feel elusive because we have delegated control of our calendars to other people. Yet, technology is available that allows you to control a large part of your day. My work would be challenging to do if there were no scheduling services. I live on the east side of the world, and many of my clients live on…

Carl Pullein

I help people learn to manage their lives and their time so they can experience joy and build a life they are truly proud of. www.carlpullein.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store