For over a decade, I worked two full-time jobs. To survive, I had to learn how to get seriously organised.
Now I’m passionate about sharing that knowledge so that people can spend time on the things that really matter, rather than their inbox.
By day, I was a managing director of a busy London communications consultancy, juggling the needs of clients and helping to run a rapidly growing business. In my ‘spare time’ I was an elected councillor, representing 10,000 people in London’s East End and being part of the team running a major council in some pretty challenging circumstances. On top of that I had a young family, a house to renovate and a minor gym addiction. With hundreds of emails, calls and social media messages every day, I quickly started to drown, missing deadlines at work, letting down the people I represented and spending less and less time with my family. Something had to give. I decided that it was going to be my amateurish approach to how I organised my time and my life. So I set out to learn how to change how I worked. I bought productivity books, read blogs, listened to podcasts, learnt lifehacks, and downloaded ‘timesaving’ apps. The first thing I learned was that you can spend a lot of time doing nothing but learning how to be productive. Which isn’t very productive at all.
But over time I learned a set of behaviours, beliefs and strategies that not only enabled me to get my head back above water, but to really thrive, achieving big goals even as the demands on my time got bigger and bigger. I learnt how not to miss the important emails, how to be able to know at any moment what I needed to do next in the time available to me, and crucially how to achieve more even when working less. And I made it second nature, so that I did it without thinking.
And then other people started to notice. I’d get asked by friends to help them get organised, I’d share tips at work and see them ripple out across the company, and then people wanted to give me money to coach them in getting organised and being productive. I realised that what had become my natural way of working was in fact a skill that lots of other people could really use. And I decided to share the knowledge, in as simple and understandable a way as possible, so that everyone could do what I’d managed.