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We welcome new Asian Efficiency team member Brooks Duncan on the show to chat with Mike about solutions to common corporate productivity problems. If you work for an organization and are trying to make productivity systems work for you in a corporate environment, this episode will help with ideas about meetings, distractions, email, and more.

Cheat Sheet

  • What Brooks learned about being productive while working for a company with thousands of employees
  • Essential tips for dealing with and overcoming corporate working environments that aren’t conducive to productivity
  • Strategies for getting deep work done in open office environments
  • The pros and cons of coworkers “dropping by”
  • What to do when you have too many meetings to attend and can’t get any work done
  • Strategies for running a productive meeting
  • How to create company knowledge and documentation that is accessible to everyone
  • How to overcome a corporate email culture and take control of your email
  • The real cost of reply-alls and BCCs
  • How to maintain your own productivity when other people are telling you what to do
  • What to do when you find yourself dealing with constant distractions and interruptions
  • Why searching for email is actually faster than archiving messages in specific folders (and how to do it effectively)
  • Tips for getting out of your email as much as you can
  • Ways to influence the priorities within your company (even if you’re not the boss)


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  1. There are quite a few places in downtown Vancouver (where I live) and it’s not uncommon for people to stay on their laptops – even at Starbucks. I also would sometimes go to the downtown branch of a University’s library which was nearby, or sometimes even hotel lobbies. As long as you look respectable and don’t bother anyone, no one should bother you.

  2. Which coffee shop chain/name do you work from? Where I live, coffee shops are usually full with no place to sit. Where there is a place to sit, the pace of people coming in an out is so fast, that if you stay at a table for more than 10 minutes, you get angry looks from customers and staffers alike for holding up the flow of people.

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