Personal Productivity

Productive rats, don't be that guy!

AUTHOR: Samuel Casanova
Work & Life Workplace

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Personal care is one of the most important secrets of productivity. Personally, I have always preferred going to the gym since I consider it the “most productive” sport. Like in an office, in the gym you find all different kind of people, from those that are just starting today to some fanatics of this sport. Some bad habits can be the result of this diversity since although some of these habits can be fun they can also put in risk the activity of the place and the participants.

Moreover, in an office we can also find many workers putting into practice many doubtful effective tasks for them and those who surround them, from productivity’s point of a view. The basic problem is the same. If no one teaches you, you end up acting based on your own beliefs and copying whatever you see.

There is a series in Youtube called Gym Rats that uses humor to describe these kind of people with bad habits. However, there is no need of a video to find and describe this “productive rats”. I will now describe some basic examples that will ring a bell to many of you.

The champion of meetings

This person does not have a fixed place, and if he does it is always empty as he is always having meetings. One can notice this kind of person since he will have a complete kit in order to waste as much time as he can when going to his meetings. He will take his laptop, mobile phone, notebook, sandwich… Obviously he is not going to take them just for decoration, as soon as the meeting starts he will start using all of these items as he is perfectly capable of focusing on the meeting, mail, whatsapp, skype, and whatsoever without getting distracted.

At the end of the day the fact of having a small gap in his agenda makes him feel so anxious that he will immediately look for the nearest meeting room where there is some meeting going on with someone he knows in order to take part of it and “see if he can help out with something”.

The interruptor

You are so relaxed at your place working and focused on your laptop’s screen, with your headphones on so that nothing can distract you, everything is going smoothly and you are concentrated on your work. Suddenly, someone appears out of the blue, he comes towards you and he sits next to you so that you can see him. You try to focus on your screen and pretend to continue working, but it is too late for you to escape from the interruptor now. It is not worth it, he won’t give up, if you try to ignore him he will tap your shoulder so that you pay attention to him.

Do not insist on explaining him you are busy doing something important because he won’t listen. Implacable, the interruptor has achieved his goal, interrupt whatever you were doing, no matter how important it was. Whatever he wants cannot wait.

The nomophobic

Once upon a time there was a man stuck to his mobile phone… The phone addict is easy to identify. He won’t stand 10 seconds without looking at his phone since this item is part of his job and he must see if there is anything important and urgent which depends only on him and therefore has got to be answered immediately.

No matter if he is in a meeting, working, eating… even if you are trying to establish a conversation with him, you will see that at some point he will stop looking at you in order to take a look to his phone. As soon as he gets a notification you will notice how his index finger rises and the words “excuse me” come out of his mouth just so that you don’t waste energy trying to continue with the conversation. He is not listening anymore, instead he is paying attention to his new message. If it is a phone call please know that your conversation has finished since a nomophobic’s ability to attend a call is completely opposite to his ability to do it face to face.

This behavior will be the same in his personal life. Whenever he is comfortably sitting down on his sofa he should maintain intact his professionalism if he doesn’t want any email or whatsapp to be unattended while he tries to disconnect.

The megastructures-Diogenes

Information is power. This employee knows this so well that he has come up with an amazing file system with thousands of levels and sublevels in order to perfectly classify all his documentation. No matter what the PDF he has is about, he must save this precious information somewhere and if there is no specific place for it he will create it. There is no possible way in which any document can be deleted since we might need it in the future, who knows. He only see advantages when using this classifying system.

Since not all of the emails can be automatically classified those that remain in the inbox, once read, have to be classified manually into their folder so that later on they can be found. Remember… using the search button is for cowards.


Obviously all of these examples have been manipulated and therefore pushed the boundaries so that I could dramatize. I am sure that you do not know and have never known anyone so radical as the examples I have described.

Have you? Did someone come to mind while reading this? Please tell me, I will be delighted to hear his feats.

Samuel Casanova

Samuel Casanova is Scrum Master at Raona/Vueling. He is a personal and team productivity enthusiast and loves GTD, Scrum, Lean and Kanban. Visit his blog.

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