This regular feature shares the secrets of the most highly efficient Productivity Ninjas. In this post, Copywriter, Book Editor and Communications Expert, Daniela Cavalletti, shares the secrets behind her productivity.
Occupation: Copywriter, Book Editor & Communications Expert
Company: Cavalletti Communications (www.cavacom.biz)
Location: Sydney, Australia (working globally)
Other job titles in life: International Marketing Manager; Mentor; Front Office Associate – Equity / Fixed Income IPOs; Production Assistant (Film); Product Development Manager (Books)
What’s important about your workspace?
Whether I’m in my own office or work from on the road, I’m most content – and therefore creative and productive – in a room that has character, natural light and plenty of fresh air. Too much ‘stuff’ around me clutters my brain, so I’m consciously keeping my workspace personal but free of too much stray bits and bobs that create unnecessary distractions.
What Ninja Characteristic have you nailed the most?
Preparedness / Weapon Savvy – being organised and using tools that support fun, creativity and productivity. Clean processes and checklists, using good software for workflows, and allowing time for the unforeseen in my diary are essential for coping with an unavoidable level of unpredictability in my workload.
Which ninja characteristic are you still working on?
Did somebody say Zen? … Can I blame my Italian genes for being a tad rubbish at this? Thought not. I don’t like the feeling of being behind schedule and unable to control it, no matter how unavoidable that sometimes is. I have high expectations of myself and hate the feeling of letting anyone down, so stressing over the inevitable is something I definitely need to work on.
Which five apps could you not live without?
There are so many great apps out there, I’m sure I could find replacements, but I love working with YouCanBookMe for appointment setting, XERO for clean bookkeeping, Gmail, WorkEtc. for project management and CRM, WordPress for easy website management, and Buffer for social media scheduling.
What’s your favorite office supply such as a type of journal, paper, writing instrument, and, why is it a favorite?
Hmmm … most of my work is done either online or in conversation, so I don’t get to use stationery as much as I used to. But I love a good solid notebook that is not just functional, but feels and looks great. And you’ll always find a selection of different pens and highlighters in my bag – so I always have the right one for the task at hand (and the mood that strikes me).
When in the day do you have the most proactive attention?
Definitely first thing and, surprisingly, at the end of each day. I tend to go for a sunrise walk in the morning, wake up the body and mind, have a good breakfast and then get cracking. I sort email into categories to be dealt with later in batches, check for any urgent stuff, then work on my three ‘must do’ things for the day. At the end of the day I prepare for the next day by tying up loose ends, ensure my environment is inviting (read: uncluttered and clean) and scan paperwork so hardcopies can go in the bin.
What’s your trick for when you’re tired or struggling with attention in the day?
I move, nap and change my environment to get reenergised. I love my sleep, so it’s not unheard of that I might take 30 minute nap when I need to reboot my brain! Walking and being in nature always cheers me up. And to regain a sense of control during a hectic day, a good old tidying & sorting session works wonders!
What’s your best advice for reducing stress?
Perspective and mediation. When I realise I’m getting stressed, I tend to ask myself ‘what’s the worst thing that can happen?’ plus whether my reaction is appropriate to the issue. More often than not, any stress / guilt / feeling of being in the wrong is exaggerated because it has simply hit an old nerve or trigger. Let’s face it: I’m not dealing in brain surgery, no lives are put at risk. So if I mess up, I fess up – it’s amazing how much pressure dissipates. Nothing’s ever as bad as it seems, I find. And for the days I’m too involved to make all the above work: there’s always a walk and good old meditation. Just breathe …
What’s your email regime?
Sort new stuff ASAP in the morning by sender – don’t read the email! I’m using the different flags in Gmail for categorising into Client, Business Development, Suppliers, Lead Follow Up Reminders, etc. I then work through the emails by priority, in grouped batches.
What’s your favourite way to take a break in the middle of the day?
I’m lucky to live in a beautiful part of Sydney, and at lunch time you’ll find me wandering around the local waterfront, stretch away some desk-work kinks in the local park or relax under my favourite tree. When I’m working elsewhere or the weather is not playing nice, I either find a cosy café to hide in with a good book and coffee, or go on a discovery tour of the neighbourhood.
What’s the secret to your productivity?
Focus, fun and simplicity. Focussing deeply for set periods of time on one big task or a group of similar tasks. Making things fun by allowing myself space for being silly, active and creative. And keeping it simple; e.g. handling things once, unsubscribing from unwanted newsletters, saying no disruptions or vague meeting requests.