Case Study: IT Director of Big Firm Shares His Story of His Productivity Obsession

Meet Michael Peay

Michael works as the IT Director for a large firm. He works in a high-demand role in an interrupt-driven work environment. Yet, he still finds time to get the job done without sacrificing his personal or family time.

Why Michael Came to AE How Michael Used AE Michael’s Results

Michael’s job was overwhelming due to the sheer volume of tasks and the amount of details he needed to manage. The nature of Michael’s work made it difficult to schedule his time. He needed a flexible solution that could be adapted to his unpredictable work schedule.

Michael started with Asian Efficiency’s OmniFocus resources. He also did a deep dive into other AE resources including the Productivity Blueprint. Michael took control of his day. He uses the knowledge he gained through the Asian Efficiency resources to maximize his time at work and protect his personal and family time. 

Micheal’s Story

Micheal is a busy IT Director for a large web-services firm. The demands of his job are endless. The nature of his business means that in any moment you have to drop what you are doing to resolve an urgent problem. However, you he still needs to finish long term projects and make progress on important goals. The challenge is learning how to manage your time when you do not have full control of how you spend it.

Michael recognized that he needed to learn productivity systems that are flexible and adaptable to his unpredictable work environment. He chose the Getting Things Done methodology and the OmniFocus app as his primary tools. However, it was the connection with Asian Efficiency that really unlocked the potential of what he could do with those tools.

IT Directors Face Unique Productivity Challenges

Working in Information Technology requires you to manage a lot of details. It is too much to memorize without a system. There are big projects with hundreds of tasks. At any given time, each project is in various levels of completion.You have to stay on top of the details, the due dates, and the different team members who are contributing to the process. Things can go wrong at any moment, and you have to be prepared to resolve unexpected problems as quickly as possible. Obviously, this makes time management difficult because a lot things can happen suddenly (and beyond your control) that change your plans for the day.

“It is definitely a challenge is to make the best use of the time when you have it.”

What inspired you to then say, I want to be more productive?

Michael’s motivation was desperation. He had so many details to track, he knew it was too much to memorize. He started using GTD and the OmniFocus app to manage his projects and tasks.

I had so many details to track. I had to capture them all. Otherwise, I was going to be losing things left and right.

How do you think the Asian Efficiency philosophy or methods is different from everyone else?

It was clear that productivity is more than the tools you use. It is a holistic philosophy about how and why you do what you do. You need more than a task list. You need clarity and focus. Productivity is not only about how you manage time. It is how you manage your attention and your energy (TEA framework).

Micheal was searching for more than an app. He was looking for a holistic approach that was adaptable to his unique situation at work that also collaborated with his values and priorities.

“One of the things I have always liked about Asian Efficiency is that it is basically a holistic approach.”

Regardless of your personality or style, Asian Efficiency can show you how to be more productive. The principles we teach are flexible and adaptable to everyone. Everyone can choose what options will work best for them.

After starting with GTD and OmniFocus, what motivated you to dive deeper into the AE programs (The Productivity Blueprint and the Dojo)?

  • As Michael’s career developed, he realized how important it was to maximize his time and efficiency. Michael has a strong commitment to excellence at his job. He also wanted healthy boundaries in place to enjoy his life and his family.
  • Applying the productivity principles taught at Asian Efficiency makes it possible choose. You can be intentional about how you use your time so you can accomplish both your personal and professional goals.

“It is not an option in my mind to work 10-12 hour days or 6-7 days per week. I want to have time at home or on the weekend and not feel bad about it. But yet still have confidence that I am getting done during the day what I need to get done.”

Comparing before and after, what does you day look like now?

Even the most disciplined and focused people face challenges. Michael admits that at times, he still feels stressed. The difference is having a set of principles to follow to get back on track. Asian Efficiency helped Michael put systems in place that support him in stressful moments and provide guidance to regain control of his time when things go crazy.

Michael is sill an avid user of OmniFocus. It is particularly helpful to him because much of what he does is routine based. He uses the application for managing his routines at work and at home. However, Michael’s productivity has evolved far beyond his use of the app.

Michael has a new approach to productivity that gives him the freedom to work with focus (using the Pomodoro Technique) and to stay on top of his communication (with the help of Inbox Zero). He takes time to rest when it is appropriate, and he stays productive all day. He works with confidence that is consistently doing what he is supposed to be doing at any given moment.

With so many productivity systems on the market, how would you recommend someone get started?

Based on his experience, Michael recommends starting with Asian Efficiency resources. They have been proven to work for him, so it is easy to recommend them to others. The Asian Efficiency website if full of helpful articles. As you see the themes on the site, look for something that resonates with your productivity journey. Every article includes simple and actionable steps you can use immediately to improve your productivity. It is also a great way to identify resources that can take you to the next level when you are ready to do a deeper dive (like Michael).

Michael also talked about how important it is to learn from others. Everyone’s situation is different, and people have different approaches to their work. You can be inspired by people who are already practicing productivity principles. Michael’s advice is to give yourself permission to try. When you experience something, then you will know if it is a good fit. For example, you could try using OmniFocus as your task manager. You might love it as much as Michael loves it. If not, you can try a different task manager. Experiment until you find something that works the way your mind works.

What would you tell people who are on the fence about purchasing one of our programs?

It is ultimately to realize if you have more control over how you work, you will have much more freedom in your personal life. Ask yourself, “What is the resistance?” You can’t allow the fear of the unknown to hold you back. Some approaches work for one person but not the other. The reality is that you have to give it a try to find the best tool, system, or method that will help you become more productive.

“If you have more control over how you work, you will have much more freedom in your personal life.”

What would you say to people who are limited in how they can schedule their own time at work?

“What is the biggest pain point? If there is the one thing you could make better or make go away, focus on that.”

Everyone has a different context and a unique set of demands for their job. Michael suggests looking for simple solutions that can improve your situation. He recommends starting with your biggest pain point and looking for a creative solution to resolve it.

Try something simple.
– Can you close the door to your office?
– Can you schedule a meeting with yourself?
– Can you be “hidden” for a time while you do deep work.

Michael’s First MasterMind

Prior to the interview Michael participated in his first MasterMind. He confessed to being nervous and not knowing what to expect. In the end, he really enjoyed the experience. His big takeaway was the benefit of the diversity. It was a complete cross-section of people, backgrounds, and personalities.

According to Michael, the different perspectives challeng your thinking in a helpful way. He called it a unique problem-solving environment. He said the feedback was immensely valuable.

“The feedback you receive in return is immensely valuable.”

Next Steps

In addition to all the knowledge he gained from reading the blog and listening to the podcast, Michael took advantage of Asian Efficiency videos and courses.

The Asian Efficiency community is full of people like Michael who are intelligent and motivated. You want to be as productive as possible. Here is how we can help.

Michael took advantage of our MasterMind, videos, and courses. There is a wealth of information in our blog post (every post has simple and actionable recommendations to improve your productivity). However, the video training and other courses give specific and detailed training that help you target specific solutions to problems and practical ways to implement productivity principles.

Asian Efficiency courses gave Michael the philosophy and the practical steps to follow so that he could make the most of his time, energy, and attention.

  • Visit the Asian Efficiency website to read some of our most popular posts (practical actionable advice absolutely free).
  • Listen to the number one productivity podcast, The Productivity Show to get free actionable coaching.
  • Visit the Asian Efficiency product page to take a deeper dive into resources that can multiply your productivity.

See the full replay of the interview: