Interview with Shari McGuire

Shari McGuireWhat projects are you involved in?

I am focused on a project right now to grow my joint venture partnerships.

How did you get interested in productivity?

I was a student of time management for many years taking classes, following the ideas for a while and then going back to my old bad habits. Several years ago I found myself working 70 hours per week as a project manager at a corporate job, burned out and frustrated that I wasn’t getting to spend quality time with my son. I walked away from my corporate job to start a different business and while I had the freedom to take my son to preschool when I wanted, I was still working 60-70 hours per week on a business that ultimately failed.

In going back to corporate in a contract role (instead of being an employee I was hired for a 6 month contract) I discovered the secret to shrink your work-week and went on to lead my biggest project ever working just 40 hours per week instead of 70 hours per week.

Through my discovery I was inspired to help other overworked entrepreneurs and busy professionals put 3 or more hours back in their day as well so I launched and wrote my book Take Back Your Time: 101 Simple Tips to Shrink your Work-Week and Conquer the Chaos in Your Life.

How many meetings do you normally have each week?

That can vary greatly depending on my focus.

What are some of your favorite productivity tips/apps?

My favorite productivity tip is to stop multi-tasking. You get less done

For productivity apps, I like to use Wunderlist as a holding tank for ideas that pop into my head or books to read. I also like CardMunch because all I have to do is take a photo of a person’s business card and their information is added to my contact list. I can then easily export those contacts to my address book.

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

I used to use tablets when writing notes during seminars, trainings, and coaching sessions. After the aforementioned event or meeting I would tear the sheets off, staple them together, make a folder and then file the notes accordingly. I often got behind on the stapling and filing part. I have switched to using a journal and now all of those great ideas are captured in one easy to access place and I no longer have to do my least favorite thing – filing.

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

Yes. I measure my productivity in terms of progress toward my sales goals and know how many people on average I need to reach in a day to meet or exceed my sales goals.

What do you think the next productivity trend will be?

While I don’t know what the next productivity trend will be, I would like the next productivity trend to be that moms and dads worldwide place a higher value on their commitments to their children, honor those commitments, and adjust their productivity accordingly. For example, let’s say your son has a ballgame tonight and it’s really important to him that you attend. You’ve promised that you will be there. Five minutes before you’re going to leave for the day, your biggest client calls you and says, I really need you to help me out today and proceeds to go on about the lengthy help they will need from you. You now have a choice – stay late and miss your son’s ballgame or negotiate to help your client at another time. Most people for fear of losing that client will choose to disrespect their commitment to their son and be a no show for the ballgame. The trend I would like to see is that instead, you say to your client, “I would love to help you out with that problem. I was about to walk out the door for a prior commitment; are you free tomorrow at 8 a.m.?” Here’s why. In one day, one month and one year, it won’t matter to your client that you stayed late. It will matter to your son.

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

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