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The road to being productive isn’t easy. Sometimes you might feel lost and confused that you don’t even know where to start. No matter where you are in your productivity journey, The AE community is always there to help you along the way.

Today, we introduce Giacomo Pasini, our productivity champ of the month. Giacomo is an active Dojo member who continues to give back to the community and extend help to other members in need.

Let’s go through Giacomo’s journey of how he found the compass that helped him regain control of his life which lead him to start his productivity journey.

Introducing Giacomo Pasini

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

My name is Giacomo, I’m 42 years old and I live in Italy near Milan. I’m a very proud father of a 9-year-old son, Emir, and a husband to my wife, Sarah, who is a French University Professor. We met in Venice over 20 years ago while we were both studying in college. Now, I’m the Sales & Marketing Manager of a small Business Unit in the European branch of the Industrial Gas Giant Taiyo Nippon Sanso, which is part of the Mitsubishi Group. I started my career in the industrial gas industry 18 years ago, starting as a production plant worker until I found my real vocation in sales. I worked in some of the biggest multinational groups, passing through divestments and merger & acquisition operations. I was able to really improve my career path after reading and implementing some of the great advice I found on David Allen’s GTD and Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. They completely changed my perspective and introduced me to the productivity realm. I could define myself as an “unresting curious spirit”. I’m definitely an early adopter, truly passionate about new technologies. I can’t find a day in which I haven’t pushed myself to meet and share the experience with new people. I always learn something new and ask dozens of questions trying to understand anything I could in my everyday life to be a better version of myself.

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

My first step in the vast world of productivity was when I experienced a very fast career growth. In less than 2 years, I went from the youngest “Lonewolf-like” territory salesman to the role of Sales Area Manager coordinating a sales force team of 10 very experienced and veteran colleagues. It was crystal clear for me that with my new role, all the new management tasks, the constant reporting to the top tier management, and the not so easy task to be the younger ones in the division demanded to be a paradigm shift and a completely new approach. I immediately realized that my most limited resource was time. I had to learn how to manage my time, how to delegate, be a good leader, how to carve enough time to learn all the new skills and business jargon that my role imposed, and how to fit anything perfectly to be more productive and accountable.

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

The main struggle for me was that the company had very high expectations of me. Even if I was lucky enough to have a boss that was a real mentor to me, I didn’t have a planned career path and a personal growth plan at the time. I rapidly began to lose control of my time, at the expense of my personal life. I had to relocate to a distant city. I’ve lost a majority of my old-time friends. I had to live far from my parents and my girlfriend and travel most of the time. I really didn’t have the opportunity to meet new people outside of the professional sphere. I really felt I was on a downward spiral that could ruin my health and my happiness. I found myself constantly putting out fires without making any real significant progress. I was living constantly in a red alert state with a really bad feeling about my future. 

What was the epiphany you experienced and discovered?

At some point, my company was providing basic education on time management and delegation. But even if it was really basic stuff, the skills I learned and immediately put to practice impacted deeply on my work efficiency. The epiphany came to me during an advanced negotiation training course. At the end of the class, I asked the personal contact of the teacher, a Franklin Covey associate that really impressed me with his practical advice and charisma. He looked like the kind of manager I wanted to become. He was efficient, charismatic, funny, and in total control of his personal life and career. I asked him a simple question, “What was the book that made the most impact on your life?” He opened his messenger bag, took out a worn copy of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits Of Highly Successful People and handwritten a dedication gifting me his book. That book was the sparkle that ignited the fire of productivity and personal growth in my life.

What was the transformation that you experienced?

The transformation was unbelievable for me, even though I know that it’s a never-ending improvement progress. It was like receiving a compass and a destination after having wasted countless days accumulating useless maps and directions after being lost in a jungle. With that kind of principle guiding my path, I knew how to choose and find books and materials that were available on the internet for the best resources of productivity, time management, efficiency, and personal growth. I started to see longterm and lifelong goals. How I can invest my time, my energy, and my attention to regain more control of my life. I was then ready to grow further in my career without sacrificing my personal life, my new family, and my new hobbies-something that even a couple of years before seemed impossible to me.

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

The one productivity advice I want to share is a really simple one but life-changing for me. If you feel the struggle, overwhelmed or stuck without making any progress in your life, you have to stop searching alone for a solution or a quick and easy fix. Take a step back, look amongst the people you trust, those who inspire you, and don’t be shy! You must ask for help, advice, and even guidance. Often, successful people are also thankful and willing to share and give back. You only have to ask and you will be surprised by how much you will receive. It’s really what you can experience being part of the Asian Efficiency Dojo. Anyone is willing to share best practices, give their advice or just helping you by making you accountable so you can reach your goals! So if you are in need, enter the Dojo and ask the community for help!

Thank you, Giacomo, for sharing!

Giacomo 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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  1. thats right Being productive teaches you to continuously push yourself. And the more productive you are, the easier it is to evolve into a better self.

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