Interview with Claire Burge

Claire BurgeWhat projects are you involved in?

I head up the international company Get Organised in Ireland. My business partner Tracey Foulkes is based in Cape Town, South Africa. Together we started a spin out company called Sorted Circus which will be launching early next year. Both Get Organised and Sorted Circus are productivity companies. We help people work smarter through training and productivity apps. I am also a food photographer, author of a book about creativity and a regular productivity blogger. Oh I definitely can’t leave out the downhill mountain biking … that’s the part that keeps me sane and highly energised.

How did you get interested in productivity?

It’s not so much that I became interested in productivity. Rather it is something that I just practice naturally and I realised others were interested in it. I really love systems and understanding the in-between from the starting point to the end goal.

How many meetings do you normally have each week?

I have a minimum of 5 sales meetings every week and at least two networking meetings with various groups that I belong to.

What are some of your favorite productivity tips/apps?

My favourite apps are:

  • Wunderlist
  • TeamworkPM
  • idonethis
  • Google Drive
  • Sprout Social
  • OnePageCRM
  • Billfaster
  • RescueTime

And of course … Doodle without being biased 😉 I have been using Doodle since late 2008.

My favourite tips are:

1. Only use email for inbound sales related communication.
2. Use team and project management tools (social tools) to manage your teams and clients.
3. Never check email before you have completed at least two tasks that require a lot of mental effort and that are directly related to the bottom line of your business or the company you work for. This is a rule that I apply every day.
4. Have a master list and a daily list.
5. Start working towards living an email free life.
6. Take one day of every week off. And I mean completely unplug for that day.
7. Have a goal wall with filter words on it. 

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

I started playing volleyball again and I committed to reading a poem a day. Exercise has always been vital to my mental sharpness but I wanted to move back into a team sport that allowed me to strategise as well. Volleyball does both those things. Reading a poem a day is teaching me to understand things conceptually but to verbalise them in summarised ways.

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

I most definitely do. I use RescueTime to do this. RescueTime allows you to categorise productive and non productive activities. It then measures you and gives you a weekly productivity score.

Another key metric that I use, because I am a business owner, is 5 sales meetings and 3 proposals every week. If I am reaching those two goals every week, I know that the business is headed in the right direction. For people who do not run businesses, I would say it is important to ensure that every day you are doing two things that relate directly to becoming better at what you are paid to do. In other words: add worth where it really matters.

What do you think the next productivity trend will be?

Great question. I think there are two trends that are unfolding in parallel.

The next big trend directly related to productivity is wellness. Corporate Wellness has been confined to health and a little bit of mental wellbeing to date but employers are slowly starting to realise that taking that approach is a very limited view. Productivity is about mental and physical wellbeing as well as the ability to work smart. Functioning productively is something everyone can do. It is a skill that can be learnt, but people need to be taught. This is where Productivity Wellness Programmes come in and this is exactly why we have developed Sorted Circus for our corporate clients who want to fill this gap for their clients.

The second trend that I see unfolding is the reality that creativity is becoming more and more critical as a skill in the workplace. We are facing a future we couldn’t have predicted 10 years ago which has resulted in jobs, careers and challenges no one knew would exist just three or so years ago. In order to be truly productive, you also need to be highly creative. Creativity is also a skill that can be learnt.

 

Author and business owner Claire Burge heads up the international productivity companies Get Organised and Sorted Circus. Both Get Organised and Sorted Circus’ primary goals are to help people work smarter and to keep them accountable. Claire’s industrial psychology background gives her a deep understanding of the workplace and how humans function optimally within it. Her serial business experience in various industries gives her a deep understanding of the challenges of day-to-day business management. Straight talking, solution-finding, productivity nerd and very tech-savvy are some of the terms most widely used to describe her. Connect with her on http://www.claireburge.com.

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