Interview with Joshua Zerkel

What projects are you involved in?

At any given time, I’m juggling working directly with clients, content production for my company’s media channels as well as producing content for partners, speaking engagements, and developing new business.

How did you get interested in productivity?

I became interested in productivity during my first career as a graphic designer. I had a knack for getting my projects completed on time (usually early), while my colleagues seemed to struggle. We all had the same workload, so I started figuring out and systemizing how I was working so I could share my techniques with my co-workers.

How many meetings do you normally have each week?

Hard to say. Too many.

What are some of your favorite productivity tips/apps?

The number-one piece of advice I can offer is that there’s no single path to productivity. There’s no one right way, no single app, no awesome productivity book, etc. that will be the magic wand for everyone. Increasing one’s productivity is like exercise – it’s not something you do one time. It’s a lifestyle choice. That said, if I had to choose a tool, Evernote is my general go-to for my daily productivity. I’m on a perpetual quest to use as few apps as possible, and Evernote has obviated the need for many other apps.

What’s the most recent adjustment that you’ve made to your personal productivity routine?

I used to be very detailed in how I organized my digital documents – especially scanned documents, and I’d spend lots of time getting them just right. What I realized is that I hardly spend any time actually retrieving documents, but lots of time storing them, which is a net waste of my time. Now, rather than fastidiously organizing everything, I do a “good enough” job, and then rely on search to find what I need. I’m not an “organizer’s organizer.”

Do you measure your productivity? If so, how do you do it, and what is your metric?

I know for many people measuring productivity matters, and it certainly does for most of my clients. That said, for me, I don’t personally use metrics to measure such things. I don’t strive to get more things done in any given moment. I generally go by how I feel and the amount of free time I have. If I’m bringing my “A” game, I generally end up with more free time after work and on the weekend, and I feel pretty good. Basically, I’m a productive person so I can be a lazy person!

What do you think the next productivity trend will be?

Given how many tech tools we have at our disposal, modern workers are expected to be endlessly productive. Perhaps ironically, most of the people I work with feel overwhelmed and perpetually defeated at the thought that they are never going to be productive enough – even though the reality is that they are actually getting a lot of work done. We’re at a saturation point with productivity, and I think there will be a productivity backlash sometime in the near-ish future, where we are going to be forced to take a look at our priorities – both professionally and personally – and what it means to be productive in both life and work.

You can learn more about Joshua Zerkel through his website, and be sure to follow him on Twitter, too.

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