Interview with Neen James

Neen JamesWhat projects are you involved in?

At Neen James Communications we are involved in a variety of local and global projects.

Our local projects include researching our latest book on Women in leadership from productivity content, mentoring women in our community and a number of community initiatives.

On a global level I am a global partner of Thought Leaders, an education company focusing on leveraging people’s expertise for more commercial success. We are also becoming more involved with Operation Smile, a non-profit that provides free surgeries to children with cleft palates and other facial deformities around the globe. You can see our page here.

How did you get interested in productivity?

In my corporate career I ran very large teams and very high profile projects and was always known as the person who could ‘get things done’ – I was always looking for a faster, leveraged way to do things and so created systems, communications and processes to achieve more with less. I became obsessed with productivity, read all I could, studied great leaders, watched videos, and published in this area. I believe if people are more productive they have stronger relationships, healthier lifestyles and companies are more profitable.

We don’t have time to do everything; we only have time to do what matters.

How many meetings do you normally have each week?

This varies from one week to the next, some days I might have 8 – 10 mentoring 1:1 sessions and other days I might have one keynote speech to a thousand people – every day is different. I try to do as many meetings as I can virtually (phone or Skype) and rarely do in person meetings due to travel and my schedule. As you may know I travel enormously for my work to speak in convention centers and corporate client sites so I don’t have the luxury of being able to meet with people face to face often.

What are some of your favorite productivity tips/apps?

– Noteshelf for my iPad for note taking
– Pzzizz (energizer) for power naps
– Cozi for shopping lists and shared calendar with family
– Things for to-do lists
– Hootsuite for managing social media platforms

Every morning spend 15 minutes identifying your top 3 priorities for the day. Now write them on a post it note – they are your priorities for the day – don’t let your head hit the pillow tonight until those 3 things are done.

Think of time in 15 minute increments – you can conquer the world in 15 minutes i.e. exercise, make a healthy meal, create a to-do list, have a conversation, clear emails, have a standing meeting, make a phone call. No one has an hour anymore – do things in 15 minutes.

Turn off every bell, whistle, chime, and reminder that you have for emails or meetings. It is clutter and noise. Choose to clear your email 3-4 times per day at only 15 minutes each time. Don’t be on email all day.

Halve meetings. Where possible do standing 15-minute meetings. Stop hosting 60 and 30-minute meetings, have 20 or 40-minute meetings… or better still… 15 minutes!

Get an accountability partner – someone you can check in with weekly to share goals and achievements regularly.

For more tips check out our blog.

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

I call it ‘telling the truth in advance’ – I share with my accountability partner what I am going to achieve in the coming week and then I report on it on a Friday in an email to her. This might include number of workouts, sales in my practice, books I am going to read, blogs I am going to write etc.

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

Yes – I measure it based on a few items:

– Personal energy is high all day
– Physical health i.e. weight, food choices, workouts per week and stamina
– Sleep – I need 7 hours per night when possible
– Relationally – catching up with girlfriends regularly, date with my husband weekly

– The numbers for my practice i.e. what I bank, sell and deliver weekly (i.e. number of presentations I do for clients, number of new clients in my practice, proposals submitted and dollars in my bank account)
– The number of blogs/articles/e-zines I publish weekly
– The number of contacts I make weekly (we use Contactually to track this)

What do you think the next productivity trend will be?

Time is the most important idea right now! If self-actualization was the idea for the last decade then being productive is the idea for the next!

We have to all be able to do more with less in the future.

Creative professionals who cannot produce to deadline will see their competitive advantage eroded by flattened globalized market place. Overnight while you sleep an alternative creative is working through the night to deliver the brief.

The principles of waste impact not only on time but also on resources. We need to be more resourceful to survive as a race into the future and beyond.

This is an extract of my book Folding Time.

We need to be able to achieve twice as much in half the time.

Neen James, MBA CSP, is an Aussie productivity thought leader, best known for her engaging keynotes that have educated and entertained audiences with real-world strategies that apply in all roles at work and in life.

With a background in learning and development and managing large teams at various corporations, Neen is a natural fit for organizations looking for presenters that focus on productivity strategies, tools and resources. Neen also provides one-on-one consulting and mentoring to women on a variety of business issues and topics.

You can learn more about Neen James through her website, and be sure to follow her on Twitter, too.

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