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  • Productivity Champ Spotlight — Stop Reading, Start Doing by Andy Henson

Andy is a business owner and a member of Asian Efficiency’s productivity community, the Dojo. He’s been an active member since he joined in 2018.

As a business owner, Andy was looking for the “perfect” system to help him move his business forward. He did research, read many books, and turned to the community for advice. After reading about different systems, he realized he needed to stop reading and just start doing.

Read on and find out more about Andy’s journey and why he is this month’s productivity champ.

Introducing Andy Henson

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

I own and run a software development agency called Foxsoft. We are experts in supporting, maintaining and developing Ruby on Rails-based web applications. In my spare time, I try to spend time with my family, I am a Scout leader, build LEGO, and I enjoy writing about productivity and Stoicism on my personal website.

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

I’ve always been interested in continually learning new things, and as a small business owner, I need to wear many hats, so I must find ways to be effective and efficient.

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

I think my biggest problems were information overload and procrastination through “research”. I would be continually reading new things, wanting to try them all, and also searching for the “perfect” tool which would magically make me productive. I would spend time playing around and tweaking things instead of working on the crucial things that needed to get done and move my business forward.

What was the epiphany you experienced and discovered?

Research has its place, but you need to limit it, there’s far more information out there than you can ever hope to consume and use. You have to get started, and then you’ll learn and adjust incrementally. For me, the biggest distraction was todo list managers. I would always be finding a new system which I’d use for a while and then become bored or fed up, or overwhelmed and it wasn’t helping me get things done.

I realized that I just needed to pick a system and be guided by it. Asian Efficiency was instrumental in this epiphany and my solution. First, I got over my invisible scripts of not spending money. I had come to the conclusion that OmniFocus had the features I needed and a lot of flexibility. I then also purchased the AE OmniFocus Premium Posts and turned myself over to the prescribed system. Only after using it for several months, I was ready to start adjusting it to suit my needs and the way my brain works.

What was the transformation that you experienced?

For the last 18 months or so I’ve been using a hybrid system of digital and analog tools for even more significant gains. I use Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner in conjunction with my personalized OmniFocus to make sure I’m getting the right things done and then doing them. It is a complete system that I don’t need to waste time messing with or tweaking, and as a result, my business has grown and doubled in revenue in the last year as a direct result.

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

If you’re struggling to make progress on your goals, first I’d say Stop reading, start doing. You probably already know what you need to do, you need to knuckle down and start putting in the work. All you need is a system to stick to for achieving your goals. Of all the effective methods I’ve seen (and my personal favorite is the process built into the Full Focus Planner) they all boil down to these few steps similar to what Thanh wrote recently.

  1. Decide what you want to do, but don’t pick too many – no more than 3 per quarter.
  2. Write your goals down in a measurable way, so you know when they are complete.
  3. Break down the first few steps you need to do to make progress on each of them.
  4. Put the goals somewhere where you cannot fail to see them every day. Out of sight, out of mind is the biggest reason you’ll fail to achieve your goal.
  5. Do at least one thing towards one of your goals each day.

Thank you, Andy, for sharing!

Andy 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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