An obsession with productivity

Since high school, I was always experimenting with different productivity approaches and electronic tools. These helped, but were always missing something.

After graduating from UCLA, I went to graduate school at Claremont Graduate University where they had a dual degree program that allowed me to do a PhD in Organizational Behavior in their psychology department alongside an MBA in their business school.

I was fortunate to be able to work with brilliant and compassionate professors such as my dissertation advisor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (author of Flow and considered a father of positive psychology). These professors changed how I thought about work and happiness. But they never weighed in on productivity.

Starting in graduate school, I began offering productivity workshops to other students in my program. When I did a postdoc at Florida Atlantic University and then taught as a psychology professor at Florida Atlantic University and then at Virginia Military Institute, I saw that students didn’t know what to do with their stress and really needed these sorts of techniques but weren’t getting them.

Eventually this led me to leave academia to start Productive for Good.


A new productivity framework


A productivity approach that also supports your pursuits of fun and psychological well-being is not intuitive. Once I realized that there weren’t any cohesive frameworks explaining the psychology of productivity, I developed one.

After years of work, I eventually realized that everything you read and hear about productivity can be distilled down to 4 overarching drivers of productivity: how you manage your mind (e.g., stress, concentration), tasks (what to do), time (when to do it), and attractors (what's pulling at your attention).

Thinking about productivity in terms of these 4 areas makes it easy to quickly figure out which area(s) you need to focus on for your own productivity. But there’s more…

A new productivity approach

I recently had the realization that we approach productivity instruction all wrong, particularly with students. We try to teach students (with books, videos, online courses) when what they need is a guide.

When you’re tired and stressed, are you really going to have the energy to remember and then actually do that productivity thing you learned about weeks or months ago? No, you need a guide/trainer to tell you in that moment what you need to do.

Unfortunately I can’t be there with you at all times to give you the guidance you need. But that’s why I created the Productivity Trainer. It reminds you exactly what to do at the start of your work for the day, every day. When you run into some obstacle (e.g., stress, distractions), it walks you through customized exercises right then when you need them.

It’s an easier approach that’s more effective and just makes sense. It’s this approach to productivity that our tools are built around and that we will continue developing into the future.

Learn more by clicking one of the buttons below!