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  • Productivity Champ Spotlight — Identifying Your Khakis by Branden George

Branden is a member of Asian Efficiency’s online productivity community, the Dojo. When he’s not helping other members, he’s focused on growing his business.

After college, Branden pursued the less traditional route which brought him to where he is today. He is the co-founder of a bar consulting company. He manages sales, marketing, and data for a procurement software startup. He also manages his parents’ automotive parts business and still has time to consult clients on scaling their sales and marketing efforts with automation systems.

Read on and find out how the AE community has helped Branden achieve his goals and why he is this month’s productivity champ.

Introducing Branden George

Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you’re up to.

Day-to-day I manage marketing, data, and tech for a software startup. I’m also co-founder of a bar consulting and staffing company. I’m gradually taking over operations for my Dad’s auto parts business, and I do some marketing and automation consulting on the side.

In my downtime, I try to eat enough to stay alive.

What is the backstory that ignited you to get started on becoming more productive?

It isn’t so much a well-defined backstory as it is a tale of gradual self-awareness that, humorously, mirrors the stages of grief.

  1. Denial – I’m fine. I’ll just work late. I’ll catch up on the weekend.
  2. Anger – Why am I so busy but nothing gets done? I’m sick of running in place!
  3. Bargaining – I’ll sell my soul for enough magic to tackle 1/2 of my to-do list overnight.
  4. Depression – Maybe it’s me. Maybe I just don’t have the drive or focus of my peers. I can’t change the fact that I’m ADHD.
  5. Acceptance – Maybe, just maybe, productivity is a skill that can be learned.

What was the wall or problem that you ran into that stopped you from accomplishing what you wanted?

I identified with my khakis.

What was the epiphany you experienced and discovered?

“You are not the contents of your wallet. You are not your (expletive) khakis.” Ah – one of my all-time favorite quotes. While that Fight Club line is open to interpretation, to me, the obvious conclusion is that you shouldn’t build an identity based on material possessions.

Several years ago, in a completely unrelated conversation, I asked my friend Jessica about her work as a speech therapist. I used the phrase “autistic child”. She immediately corrected me. “We say a child with autism. You don’t define someone by their condition.

“The slight change of phrasing caught me off guard. The lightbulb went off. I began to see a deeper meaning in Fight Club. We’re not the collective sum of our possessions, nor are we defined by our condition in life. I realized that I defined myself by my ADHD and my seemingly inherent disorganization.

What was the transformation that you experienced?

I was freed from paralysis. 2 years ago I was wallowing in self-pity, largely living off my parents’ generosity. Today I’m proud of starting 2 profitable businesses, proud to be able to continue my Dad’s business, and proud to have a day job with an incredible team. The best part? I do it all from home in my PJs.

If you have one piece of productivity advice for someone who is struggling to make progress towards their goals, what would it be?

Wherever you’re at just remember 1) productivity is a skill that can be learned and 2) you are not your khakis. You’re not defined or limited by your challenges or situation in life. What defines you is your ability to overcome those obstacles and make your dreams a reality. It all starts with your mindset. The rest can be taught.

Thank you, Branden, for sharing!

Branden is a great example of what we refer to in our community as a “productivity champ” — someone who continuously looks for ways to become better or someone who has a growth mindset. Other examples of people who have succeeded are Lisa and Scott who we have written case studies about.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or distracted, you can overcome that and become a productivity champ too:

  • Review our TEA Framework, and become familiar with the 3 Pillars of Productivity.
  • Take our super-quick Productivity Quiz, which will give you actionable insight into where you should get started.
  • Pick one (only one!) action step and schedule it on your calendar to implement it.

If you think we should feature you as a productivity champ, get in touch and let us know!

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Thanh Pham

Founder of Asian Efficiency where we help people become more productive at work and in life. I've been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, and The Globe & Mail as a productivity thought leader. At AE I'm responsible for leading teams and executing our vision to assist people all over the world live their best life possible.

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