TFF #001 - 3 Ways to Instantly Boost Your Productivity

TFF #001 - 3 Ways to Instantly Boost Your Productivity

Read time - 3 minutes


Welcome to the first edition of the Tech for Finance Newsletter, where you'll learn 3 steps to instantly boost your productivity.

No, not the sort of productivity that Involves endless apps and to-do lists (even though I love a good app).

I’m talking about the sort of instant results that you can produce using the tools you already have in place.

All it takes is a bit of a mindset shift, and a bit of commitment.

There’re a few reasons why you might be focused on productivity right now:

  • The cost of living crisis
  • A recession
  • Global conflict

These will have everyone’s fingers pointed at you to protect the cash, reduce costs and find new ways to retain margin.

On top of this, you continue to lose time responding to endless requests from others, you’ve got month-end and year-end deadlines to meet, plus a handful of other strategic projects sitting on your desk.

You'll find the 3 steps below, and to help you remember, they all start with a 'C' - Chart, Capture, Calendar.

1/ Chart 🎯

First you need to chart your goals and objectives. This requires a bit of prior thought. But it's an important step, otherwise how are you going to decide what's important and what's not?

  • Do you want that promotion to CFO?
  • Do you want a better work-life balance?
  • Do want to complete that strategic project that'll look very good on your CV?

Have your goals and objectives front and center whenever you're filtering through your to-dos. You'll be surprised how much of a guiding light they can be.

2/ Capture

Secondly, you need to capture information from ALL of your inputs inputs.

E-mail, Teams/Slack, Newsletters, Phone calls etc and put them into pots that you can prioritise.

But why?

Replying to e-mails and DMs straight away not only hijacks you from other important work, it also means you're putting other people's time and schedule above your own.

As soon as you detach from your inbox, you immediately take back control.

I use an Eisenhower Matrix style technique, with 5 pots, in my capture process:

  • Inbox - Where everything goes to get it out of my e-mail inbox, DMs etc
  • Do Now - Important and urgent that only I can do
  • Do Later - Important but not-urgent stuff
  • Do Sometime - Neither important nor urgent
  • Delegate - Hand-off to someone else

Below is a screenshot of my Trello board:

IMPORTANT - If something doesn't directly support your goals and objectives, it should go in the 'Do sometime' or 'Delegate' pots.

TIP - If you think something is likely to only take you 2 minutes, just sidestep the above and do it straight away, you don't want to spend more time scheduling than doing!

3/ Calendar 🗓️

Capturing isn't the same as doing, so, starting with your list of 'Do Nows', schedule them in your calendar, blocking out your work.

  • High-priority tasks or projects should be allotted blocks of 60 - 90 minutes
  • Smaller lower priority tasks can slot in around higher ones, or batched into larger blocks

Below is an example of a time-blocked day:

IMPORTANT - Make sure you build in gaps between your time blocks, to allow moments of reflection and reset.

TIP - Start the day with your highest priority tasks, and don't open e-mails until mid-morning at least.


This is the specific approach that I take:

1/ Chart - I try to journal every day, and part of this re-enforces my goals. E.g Gain 500 Newsletter Subscribers. I also have a specific section of my notebook for goals that I’ll often reference as well.

2/ Capture - I use an e-mail app called 'Spark' which combines all of my e-mail accounts into one so I have a single source of e-mail 'input'. I will then either push that e-mail into my Trello inbox to be prioritised, or if it's a newsletter that I want to save for future reference, I just push it straight into Evernote. I do the same with Teams notifications.

3/ Calendar - I've added my Trello calendar to my Outlook calendar, so I can see my Trello tasks alongside my other meetings. But in reality, a lot of my time blocking is manual as some days get shuffled around a bit.

The above would work in exactly the same way if you were pushing e-mails in Outlook to Microsoft To-do and OneNote, or using Gmail to push e-mails to Asana and Notion, before calendaring them. The tech doesn't really matter, providing it supports the process.

NOTE - I am not yet affiliated with any of the tools I've referenced in this e-mail.



1. Set clear goals to help you prioritise your work

2. Capture ALL of your inputs and categorise them into priority pots

3. Block out your calendar starting with the highest priority work first

That’s it for this week.

Speak again soon!



When you’re ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:

1. Reply to this e-mail if you’re a finance pro wanting 1-2-1 tech advice

2. Subscribe to the Tech for Finance Podcast


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©2022 by Adam Shilton. Privacy Policy - Terms of Use

©2022 by Adam Shilton. Privacy Policy - Terms of Use