How I Stay Productive: Dawn O’Connor

The Think Productive blog offers different ideas on how you can increase your productivity on a daily basis, but we thought it would help to show you how our favourite productivity ninjas apply these tips to their daily lives.

Think Productive Canada Director

Dawn O’Connor

Occupation:  Director

Company: TP Canada

Location: Calgary Ab

Other job titles in life: WPO Chapter Chair, Master Productivity Ninja, Mom

What’s important about your workspace?

It needs to be warm, clutter free and bright.

Which ninja characteristic have you got nailed the most? 

Weapon Savvy – I am a master of Outlook and do pretty well with my other tools such as Nozbe.

Which ninja characteristic are you still working on the most? 

Ruthlessness.  I am working on saying ‘No’ to lower value projects and meetings that look exciting, but end-up being a time-suck, or energy drain.

Which five apps could you not live without?

Blue Mail (for Android), TextSecure (for texing), Nozbe, Twitter on ipad and White Noise (for sleeping in hotel rooms).

What’s your favourite piece of stationary? 

My daytimer book.  Even though I use an online calendar I still love a dated agenda book for writing daily tasks and weekly goals.

When in the day do you have the most proactive attention? 

Morning between 7:00 – 10:00, then sometimes a second wind around 4:00.

What’s your trick for when you’re tired or struggling with attention in the day? 

Do easy tasks (little jobs) to gain some momentum. Or take a complete break and have tea with my son and cuddle with the dog.

What’s your best advice for reducing stress?

Be realistic with expectations of yourself.

What’s your email regime?

True confessions:  I’m on it most of the day when I am in my office.  So many days are spent out and about in sales meetings, workshop delivery and travel, so when I get full days in the office I typically have a fair bit of catch up to do.  I do ensure I schedule a few hours off email to draft proposals etc. but really a great deal of my work is email based – talking to my remote Ninjas, communications with TPHQ + other Licencees, client correspondence and much more.

I also look at email very early in the morning because of the time difference between here and the UK.  I am often looking for responses to emails so that I can make progress on a project.

What’s your favourite way to take a break in the middle of the day? 

If it’s warm enough (i.e. warmer than -20), I like to walk the dogs.  Food is also a favourite distraction.

What’s the secret to your productivity?

Keep it simple.  Use the @processing folders to keep on top of client follow-ups, actions and commitments.

Try not to get distracted by apps.

Delegate the stuff I don’t like or do well:  hire cleaners for the house and hire an assistant to book travel and do your admin.


For more ideas on how to incorporate productivity techniques into your daily routine, see our entire ‘How I Stay Productive’ series here. 

Or read the most popular posts from the series…

Graham Allcott, CEO of Think Productive

Katy Bateson, Productivity Ninja at Think Productive

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