Carl Pullein is a popular productivity specialist, a famous podcaster and the author of Your Digital Life. His channel of productivity has over 5000 ardent subscribers. Apart from that he also is managing director of Fandcorp English solutions and FES Training. He helps people to communicate effectively. Without further ado, we’ll begin our chat with Carl.
TaskQue: First of all tell us what urged you to become a productivity specialist? What was the real motivation behind it?
Carl Pullein: Since I was in middle school I have been fascinated with being organized and getting stuff done and on time. I read the book, 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management by Hyum Smith in the early 1990s and that changed my professional life completely. From then on I was writing everything down processing and scheduling.
Then two years ago, I felt it was time to tell other people about what I had learned about being organized and productive. How I rarely get stressed and that by following a few simple steps each day I was able to get a huge amount done. So I wrote a book, Your Digital Life. This was part getting organized and part explaining to people how their technology could really help them to be better organized and more productive.
TaskQue: Tell us about your company Fandcorp English solutions? What is the real vision of Fandcorp English Solutions?
Carl Pullein: To help non-native English speakers to communicate more effectively on the global stage. We do that through presentation coaching either by workshops or one on one, executive coaching and small group sessions. We focus on presenting, writing and professional and social conversations
TaskQue: In the presence of so many apps facilitating to be productive? How can one select a productivity management app that’s best suits one’s needs?
Carl Pullein: Spend a little time figuring out how you organize yourself. Do you prefer paper-based organizing, digital or a combination of both? Once you know how you like organizing your stuff, do a little research on YouTube or through blogs and find out what apps best meet your requirements. There is a ton of resources out there that can point you in the right direction. The key is to find an app that meets your requirements as closely as possible.
TaskQue: Recent studies show that decreasing working hours have resulted in increased productivity. Do you believe in it?
Carl Pullein: Yes. And I know it is true. When I worked in the UK we always finished on time. If my contract said my working hours was between 9:00am and 5:30pm I knew every day I would go home at 5:30pm. Because I had a deadline every day (5:30pm) I always managed to get my work done. In Korea, things are different. Here, an employee’s finishing time is considered a possible finish time, rather than a definite finishing time. Here, employees rarely finish on time, often having to work an extra hour or two to do roughly the same amount of work their UK colleagues do. Not having a fixed finishing time each day, reduces a person’s productivity dramatically.
TaskQue: How can an employee stay productive despite workload and work-related pressure conflicts? What’s your stand on this?
Carl Pullein: The most effective way to do this is to learn to say “no” politely. I know this is easier said than done, but in my own personal experience, saying “no” to your boss is easy if done in a polite way and if you explain why you have to say ‘no”. Another way is to block 1 or 2 hours off each day for focused work. During that 1 or 2 hours you turn your phone to silent and you turn off notifications. It is complete focused work.
TaskQue: What do you think is the best way to save your time? What are the major impediments to saving time on projects?
Carl Pullein: Automate as much as you possibly can. Learn to use Apple’s “Automator” if you use a Mac, use software such as TextExpander and template as many documents as you can. The only obstacle to this is the setting up of the automation rules and creating the scripts for apps like TextExpander. But the time saved later is well worth the time and effort.
TaskQue: What’s your take about multi-tasking? Is it good or bad? Please explain.
Carl Pullein: It’s impossible to do, so just don’t do it. One thing at a time. Total focus.
TaskQue: How do you help people in communicating effectively?
Carl Pullein: We first establish where a person’s weaknesses are in communicating. Is it a confidence issue, a pronunciation issue or is it a language issue? Once we establish the weakness we then work to improve the areas a client is weak and focus on bringing their strengths in their native language communication to their English communication.
TaskQue: How much do negative thoughts impact your work life? How can you stay productive and peaceful at workplace despite all the chaos?
Carl Pullein: I never have any negative thoughts. I do occasionally have doubts, but I overcome them by reminding myself of my goals and what I want to achieve in life. My biggest fear is leaving this earth without creating anything worthwhile. That is why I write books, produce videos and write blog posts. I like who I am and I am passionate about helping people to achieve the success they desire.
TaskQue: How much are recreational activities important to maintain the work-life balance?
Carl Pullein: If you mean leisure activities and hobbies then they are crucial to my overall well being. Without exercise and spending quality time with my wife and little dog I would not have a fraction of the new ideas and projects I have. I am pretty sure I would also get stressed too.
TaskQue: TaskQue is a task management tool which helps to get organized efficiently and meet deadlines. What’s your opinion about TaskQue?
Carl Pullein: I have not had much time to play with TaskQue, and I do not work in teams. Our organization is pretty small and I develop and deliver the content with the support of a number of professional coaches we employ. However, I have had a look at it and as a team based productivity tool I think it has potential.
To be successful in the future (5+ years) any task management tool is going to need to know what’s on an individual’s calendar, be able to allocate tasks to fit around appointments and meetings. It will also need to know the context an individual is in as well as what mood they are in and what energy level they have. The biggest problem for app developers in this field is the human side. Knowing what’s on a calendar, how long a meeting is due to last, travel time to the next appointment etc will be relatively easy. Knowing the mood of a person, how they are feeling (do they have a cold or the flu etc) how they slept and what their energy level is, is going to be the biggest challenge. Crack that problem, and you have a winning app.