Productivity Courses: A Brief History
For the past five years I’ve been developing and leading productivity courses designed to support people in living balanced, purposeful lives while making effective use of technology. I have led these courses to the general public and to corporate clients at large and small companies across North America. Course participants have included business owners, executives, managers, engineers, accountants, administrators, teachers, artists, parents and even rocket scientists (making it rather tempting to adopt the byline “I teach rocket scientists”). It’s been uplifting to witness the breakthroughs and growth among course participants and I’m grateful for all of the thoughtful feedback I’ve received over the years that has helped me expand and evolve my offerings.
Making the Transition to Online
To date, I have only offered these productivity courses in person, with public courses being held exclusively in Vancouver and Ottawa. I’ve received more than a few requests for an online productivity course and have spent many hours pondering how best to adapt the material and processes to an online setting. My current courses encourage sharing and group collaboration and I wanted to make sure that I preserve this element in making the transition to an online environment. Overall, my somewhat lofty ambition is to create connection and relatedness among course participants despite any barriers imposed by technology.
My musings also revealed that an online medium creates new opportunities. It occurred to me that by offering courses online and dispensing with logistics such as travel and space bookings, it’s feasible to spread out a course over weeks or even months, allowing participants to more fully integrate what they’re learning into their day-to-day life. With geographical limitations out of the way I also envisioned an exciting opportunity to bring together people who might otherwise never have met, providing a rich blend of cultures, experiences and skills.
Holistic Productivity™ Online Course: Coming in Early 2014
I’m excited to announce that I’ll be launching a brand new course called Holistic Productivity™ early in 2014. The essence of my Holistic Productivity approach is that a positive shift created in one area of life will positively impact all other areas of life to a large or small degree. For example, creating a positive shift in the area of health (e.g. getting more exercise) will likely increase productivity in the workplace. Furthering this example, putting energy into improving health might actually lead to much more significant gains in workplace productivity than if the focus were on the workplace itself.
The Holistic Productivity course will consist of four 90-minute sessions in consecutive weeks and two one-hour follow-up sessions 45 days and 90 days after the fourth session. As I’m fond of saying, owning a calculator doesn’t make you a mathematician. The course will embody this philosophy, emphasizing both theory and practice. The four 90-minute sessions will introduce strategies for being productive and will provide training on specific technologies that, when used effectively, can help produce positive, life-changing results. Participants will put their new skills to good use by focusing on a specific area of their life over a 90-day period, working with a partner from the course and participating in two 60-minute group sessions to create accountability and to facilitate learning. The end goal: new habits, new skills and a fresh new perspective on life. I can also see deep interactions with participants leading to lasting friendships.
Keeping it Personal: The Productivity Pod™
To keep the course interactive and personal I’ll be limiting enrolment in each course to only ten participants, collectively called a Productivity Pod™. Through the magic of technology, all participants will be able to see and interact with me and everyone else in their pod during our sessions — asking questions and sharing their learning, failures and successes throughout the course as part of creating an engaging and interactive learning environment. Participants will also be encouraged to support each other between sessions with partner work being a focal point for the 90-day process.
Designed for Mac® and iOS®
This initial course offering is designed specifically for people who are using Mac® and iOS® devices. By keeping the technologies focused on Apple’s offerings I’m able to offer recommendations and practical training on specific productivity solutions rather than just dishing out suggestions and leaving participants to fend for themselves. The technology that will get the most airtime is OmniFocus™, an outstanding personal task manager for Mac and iOS. I’m intimately familiar with OmniFocus and have been supporting people all over the world to use OmniFocus for the past few years. Other favourites that will be featured during the course include Evernote®, the MindNode mind mapping software, the Day One journaling software and Habit List, a habit tracking app designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
Complete the Survey and Stay Informed
This course will be open for registration very soon, likely in early January. If you want to be kept in the loop, please take a moment to complete a short survey — you might even win a free spot in the course. I’ll also be announcing the course specifics through the @TechnicalSimple and @LearnOmniFocus Twitter feeds. Stay tuned!