Rob Catalano on Show #26: Productivity, Networking, Planning, Development and Evernote

rob catalano

Productivity, Networking, Planning, Development and Evernote with Rob Catalano, Co-Founder of Worktango Inc

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Business and Marketing – Learning – Books – Entrepreneurial

There’s this really great book that takes about 20 minutes to read. It’s called ‘What Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast’. It’s something that I read five or six years ago and thought it was something I wanted to add into my routine.

I’m reading a book called ‘The Organized Mind’ by Daniel Levitson. It’s all about the digital onslaught now with everything being 300 miles an hour and always on. What was really interesting was that he says that having unread email in your inbox can reduce your IQ by as much as 10 points. (comment from Jo)

Productivity

Planning the Day Before – I review my top five from the night before. What that means is that every day after work I write a top five things I’m going to focus on doing the next day to help me prioritise, especially when there are a lot of things going on. I do review that in the morning just to make sure it aligns with what I created after work the day before and nothing has changed from then.

Email Time – I do like to catch up on my emails before around 10:00 am but I don’t touch my emails for the next two hours afterwards and really focus on one or two of those important things from my top five.

Planning Travel – When I’m traveling, I’ll try to book flights at [6:00] AM or [7:00] AM so I can still get caught up at the airport on the day and just start the day right.

Daily Goal Setting – It’s something we started doing daily when I was working at Achievers. The way we always looked at it was there was a top three but you didn’t want to limit it to top three so there was a stretch goal of something you found you wanted to get done, that was the fourth one. The fifth one was always something from a personal development standpoint. It had nothing to do with work but it was something you personally needed to do. It’s still top three productivity at work cloaked with a fourth stretch goal and a fifth personal one.

Shut off Distractions – That is why literally between [10:00] and before lunch, I do try and shut off email, shut off the distractions. I don’t put the phone on airplane mode so to speak but if someone really needs to get hold of me they can call me but it’s focused from 10-12 to try to do that top one thing. Then when something urgent does come up, you can take care of it the rest of the day and feel a bit productive that you focused on the most important thing first.

WorkTango – our tool is built to help managers have more accountability on what they are doing for their organisation and for their team. I actually use WorkTango as a tool to prioritise the things I need to get done for my team to make sure that they are successful.

Personal Development

Learning

You meet new people and you learn about new approaches and ideas and thoughts and ways that they do things. It’s a great way to learn and respect what other people do. From a learning and improvement standpoint, the ability to chat with new people is just a good opportunity. I do it whenever I can.

Goal Setting – I always try to think do I have a goal on the wealth side of things, the self side of things, and the health side of things. That’s how I structure what are my future goals personally.

Personal Development – Motivation

Living More

What I mean by that is, have I engaged in some level of new experience that I learned something or something I can have as a memory moving forward. Yesterday actually was a great example, it was the first time I was actually on a sailboat and drove it and didn’t know what I was doing but it was a cool experience. When I do something like that, I feel I’ve kind of lived more, right?

Organisation – Evernote

I have one list in a tool called Evernote which I’m sure people have heard about. I have work tasks, personal tasks but outside of the top five there’s always a running list of other things that I have going on. Some might be things I want to get accomplished next week or if I have an idea and I want to do it, I write it in something I want to do someday. I kind of keep a list of personal and work stuff outside of the top five so that I don’t forget things.

Wellbeing – Meditation and Mindfulness

Headspace – They actually have this little thing in there called SOS. Literally, it’s this quick, three-minute kind of ‘just stop’. There have been times where I have been super stressed and not sure how to move forward on something and I have used the head space SOS tool. Just again, three minutes of just stopping, coming up for air goes a long way in terms of trying to fix some things that don’t go right.

Wellbeing – Stress

I think health is not only the physical part of it but just kind of this state of mind. What I try and do is I really try and be in my days. It’s really easy to get bogged down in a lot of different things and tasks and to lose a day or a week. Sometimes I really try and just focus. Thursdays would most exclusively be about our product or Mondays are on marketing or Fridays are more about writing because I do a lot of columns and blogs. I think healthy isn’t just your physical state but also mentally as well. How do you keep yourself on track?

To Contact Rob

People can reach out to me anytime. Rob Catalano is the Twitter handle that I have. Obviously, that’s my name on LinkedIn. Rob@worktango.io is my email address and you can reach me there. If you went to the worktango.io website, you can email the company and it’ll get routed to me at some point.

From my end, I love connecting with different people and learning how they do things and, if some other productivity hack has worked for you I’d love to hear about it. It’s just great to connect with people.

Download my Stress Reduction Checklist here

Read Full Transcript

Jo Dodds: Today I'm interviewing Rob Catalano of WorkTango. Hi Rob, thanks for joining me.

Rob Catalano: Hi Jo, thanks for having me.

Jo Dodds: You're not from here, not from around these parts are you? Where are you from?

Rob Catalano: Yes, you can tell from the accent I'm not from there. I'm actually from Toronto in Canada but I did just move back to Toronto about six months ago from living in the UK. I was right in downtown London.

Jo Dodds: Yeah, which is how we met originally. Tell me a bit more about you, what you do, and where you do it.

Rob Catalano: You heard about where I do it. I'm in Toronto now, I was actually in London for the last year but actually in San Francisco the year before that. Everything I have been doing had been in about three different countries over the last year. The reason why I was moving around, I was running marketing and global expansion for a company named Achievers before January of this year. That was an HR technology company that focused on helping companies recognize their employees.

Now I'm in Toronto and launched a new company called WorkTango. I basically co-founded that with someone I worked real closely with over the last 10 years. It's basically a platform to help managers have more accountability with their employees, really focused on that. When you talk about what I do. When you are co-founding a company you do a little bit of everything so I am pretty much involved in all elements of getting a company off the ground.

Jo Dodds: Lovely. Sounds very exciting, especially all that jet setting around. As far as where you work, you currently have an office. Do you work in a co-working space if I remember rightly. is that right?

Rob Catalano: For the first part of it, was working at home but right now it's at a co-working space which is actually very interesting. It's a small team and outside of the ability to focus and work closely with your team in a place, there is also the ability to learn and communicate with several other companies that have different ways of doing things and different personalities and different lenses on the environment. It's cool to get all the feedback and real time feedback from people around us. It's co-habitated with about five different startup companies in the location in downtown Toronto.

Jo Dodds: Prior to that when you were in the UK, you worked from home or as we were laughing before we came on air, from hotels and aeroplanes if I remember rightly.

Rob Catalano: Home mostly. When there wasn't good internet for example, the hotel down the street or definitely on the planes in those long eight to nine-hour flights I used to do from London and San Francisco. Anything with a laptop and potential wireless and even if there wasn't wireless sometimes easy to focus. I tell you, I was a roaming worker for many years.

Jo Dodds: Thinking about your days then, do you have a particular routine. I'm always particularly interested when people have worked in differing locations. One of the things I try and have a routine but when I'm away from home, it sort of falls down. Some people are very good at maintaining that routine in different places. How does that work for you?

Rob Catalano: The majority of the time when I'm not travelling, a perfect morning routine for me is - I kind of call it a bit of me time where I'll either do some gym or some type of workout or some reading, really just something that starting the day where you're not jumping right into productivity from a work standpoint because work can be relatively consuming throughout the day. It always starts with a healthy breakfast, you've got to get that going properly. What I also do is I review my top five from the night before. What that means is that I actually every day after work write a top five things I'm going to focus on doing the next day to help me prioritise, especially when there are a lot of things going on. I do review that in the morning just to make sure it aligns with what I created after work the day before and nothing had changed from then.

What's interesting as well is I do like to catch up on my emails before around 10:00 am but I don't touch my emails for the next two hours and really focus on one or two of those important things from my top five. That's really just a typical morning on my end but to your point when it comes to traveling and having meetings, it does change but I try to keep things similar. Especially when I'm traveling, I'll try to book flights at 6:00 AM or 7:00 AM so I can still get caught up at the airport on the day and just start the day right. I may not go to the gym but really try to start really early.

Actually to that point, there's this really great book that takes about 20 minutes to read. It's called ‘what most successful people do before breakfast’. It's just something that read five or six years ago and thought it was something I wanted to add into my routine.

Jo Dodds: Lovely, that's a good resource to have. You talk about our top five things. A lot of people talk about three things. Where did the five come from?

Rob Catalano: It's something we started doing more so on a daily productivity thing back when I was working at Achievers. The way we always looked at it was there was a top three but you didn't want to limit it to top three so there was a stretch goal of something you found you wanted to get done, that was the fourth one. The fifth one was always something from a personal development standpoint. It had nothing to do with work but it was something you personally needed to do. It's still top three productivity at work cloaked with a fourth stretch goal and a fifth personal one.

Jo Dodds: Lovely, I wasn't expecting that. I thought you'd just go, “there's always lots to do, why not five?”. That was a great answer.

Rob Catalano: Sometimes it gets to six and seven and you really try and stop and not do that but sometimes it's forced on it but you really try and keep it focused.

Jo Dodds: It's interesting, I try to do three things for the day and what I realised recently was that I was tending to put, I was sort of wasting one or two of the three sometimes but putting urgent things that must get done today on there and they were big things as well but actually what that meant is that it was becoming an urgent list rather than necessarily an important list and the urgent stuff would get done anyway so I didn't really need to waste that space, if you like, with one of those.

I've had to keep reminding myself that those things are going to happen anyway however big they are because they're urgent and I'm not going to forget to do them because they are urgent. To try and sort of really focus on the big things because it's hard, isn't it to work on the stuff that's really important that isn't required for another week or two or five or whatever. I guess in a startup situation, that's probably even worse. You've probably got so much coming at you that needs to get done and as you say probably less people to do it so you're having to do most of it anyway.

Rob Catalano: To your point, it's a struggle of the important versus urgent and how do you prioritise those things. That is why literally between 10:00 and before lunch, I do try and shut off email, shut off the distractions. I don't put the phone on airplane mode so to speak but if someone really needs to get hold of me they can call me but it's focused from 10-12 to try to do that top one thing. To your point, when something urgent does come up, you can take care of it the rest of the day and feel a bit productive that you focused on the most important thing.

Jo Dodds: You said things are pretty similar when you're traveling at least you've sort of built in similar ideas for the morning. What about getting stuff done? Does that still follow in the same way or does it just go out the window because you've got other things on because that's why you travelled?

Rob Catalano: It really depends. When you're doing those quick last or two weeks ago I did a 6:00 AM flight. It was only about an hour-and-a-half. You can still go through that, do that same cadence and focus in the morning and depending on meetings on what you have set up, you can still go down that road but when you're doing five to ten-hour flights, it's tough to go through that cadence and what I just try to do say, what is my top five for the flight. What am I trying to accomplish when I complete the flight. Sometimes it's sleep and that's fine but what do I want to accomplish and it just changes the day up obviously when it takes up a quarter to a third of your day in the air and maybe not even accessible to internet.

Jo Dodds: I think the key point is about flexing to that scenario. If you have only got an hour in the day where you can do this other than the reason you're traveling, the event that you're going to or whatever that you actually do focus on just the hour and what you can get done in that time. Question, you’re a startup so it might be that you don't finish the day very much but now you're in a co-working space and there is that opportunity to really leave the office, how is that working for you? How does that compare to when you were working from home?

Rob Catalano: That's a good question. I think it has changed personally for me. When I was in the UK and working from home most of the time, I would put some of those personal-type commitments in the evening. I would try and catch up on specific things. I had a part of the evening where I would catch up on emails and do some things on that end. Here, I think there are always commitments after work. To your point, there's either dealing with the urgent or even just being home and having more commitments to friends and family and things like that where the evenings are not always the same.

I find that I'm most productive when I write that top five at the end of my workday or at the end of the evening to focus on my next day. It is a mishmash of different things that happen whether I'm going home from the office or whether I was just working from home anyway. The biggest thing for me is just trying to catch up on emails so the next day I'm not just barraged with stuff and feel like I'm waking up behind. It's really a bit of a catch up for me in the evenings whether I'm at home or whether I'm on my way home in most cases.

Jo Dodds: Thinking about getting things done during the day with your top five, how do you manage your time during the day? Do you have a to do list or do you just purely work to that five? Do you have project management tools that you use?

Rob Catalano: I have one list in a tool called Evernote which I'm sure people have heard that. I have work tasks, personal tasks but outside of the top five there's always a running list of other things that I have going on. Some might be things I want to get accomplished next week or if I have an idea and I want to do it, I write it in something I want to do someday. I kind of keep a list of personal and work stuff outside of the top five so that I don't forget things. Also, what's interesting is as a leader of a team at work here at WorkTango, our actual tool it's built to help managers have more accountability on what they are doing for their organisation and for their team. I actually use WorkTango as a tool to prioritise the things I need to get done for my team to make sure that they are successful. I also use WorkTango as a tool as well. Those are the major tools that I bounce back and forth on just to make sure that I'm getting those things done above and beyond my top five.

Jo Dodds: Here's your opportunity for pitch, how does WorkTango enable you to do that? How does it work? Short version.

Rob Catalano: Yeah, short version. If you think about one of the struggles managers have, it's that they struggle to sometimes keep accountability on their own side of things of things that they committed to their employees or conversations they had, things they need to follow up on as well as keep themselves and employees more focused on more long-term commitments that they have whether it's quarter legal or a monthly commitment they have. The idea is that whether you're having a one-on-one discussion with an employee or you want to reference what you're focused on or the employee can do that as well. It allows you to put in short-term and long-term commitments, it's really what we call commitments which is really anything from a task or a followup or again, something that you need to do, which unfortunately most managers lose track of or they're tracking in five different tools. That’s one of the versions that help managers be more productive on. I'll save the rest of the pitch. That's one part of it.

Jo Dodds: You talked about a couple of tools, WorkTango and Evernote. Are there are tools or apps that you wouldn't be without.

Rob Catalano: I know it sounds weird but my Fitbit tool is actually the app the Fitbit device that I wear, is just simply that I really love because I have certain goals and things I want to accomplish and it helps track it and remind me when I'm way off or the recognition when I hit it. Those are the three that I can think of that I use most days.

Jo Dodds: Do you compete with your Fitbit? That's something a mutual friend of ours, Cathy Brown who was on our first podcast, uses hers for. She uses it to have little competitions with her friends.

Rob Catalano: I actually have an old colleague that used to invite us all the time to these workday hustles I think they were called. Five days of the week it was a step challenge and I would always join them and to be honest, sometimes that was the difference between walking somewhere, to taking a cab. It did give you this little push from a competition standpoint to try and win the competition. Yes, I am involved in those and I try and win them!

Jo Dodds: I'm not surprised. Keeping on that theme then, tell us a bit more about what you're doing to look after yourself, to keep healthy.

Rob Catalano: From a health standpoint, obviously try to have a good diet, frequent gym, even with the Fitbit tool you can track, try to have at least six hours of sleep. I think the good thing is especially with the Fitbit, it allows some of those healthy things to come out. That's pretty much it. I think the other thing is just you talked before about how do you manage your tasks or manage your time. I think health is not only the physical part of it but just kind of this state of mind. What I try and do is I really try and be in my days. It's really easy to get bogged down in a lot of different things and tasks and to lose a day or a week. Sometimes I really try and just focus. Thursdays would most exclusively be about our product or Mondays are on marketing or Fridays are more about writing because I do a lot of columns and blogs. I think healthy isn't just your physical state but also mentally as well. How do you keep yourself on track? That's another way I'd probably do that as well.

Jo Dodds: I like that. I've tried to do it myself in the past because I've had lots of people finding it useful. I don't know, I think because I just have so many different things that I'm doing with two businesses myself, two businesses focuses myself plus the work I do at Engage to Success I think it just makes it quite hard to have those things because they just fall by the wayside the minute another priority comes along.

Rob Catalano: It's hard to be disciplined. Actually, I'm kind of the mental wellness part of it. One thing I haven't got involved in is the whole meditation. I've really tried, it's been hard to keep up and something I'm thinking about adding to my morning routines and that's one goal I have is to try to figure that out and make that a part of my daily routine.

Jo Dodds: Yes, we've recommended some tools actually on previous podcasts. I can't remember but a lot of people talk about Head Space, the app but there's also a podcast something like my daily meditations and it's a daily podcast that's put out that helps you to meditate and the things change all the time and stuff. I found that quite helpful in the past, not that I actually meditate. I choose to sing for my meditation because I wasn't really into the idea of meditation or yoga for that matter. It’s the thought that counts, isn't it?

Rob Catalano: Exactly.

Jo Dodds: Talk about trying to something or trying to do more of something that sort of takes us nicely into the learning and improving yourself part of the interview. What sort of things do you do to improve to help you to learn.

Rob Catalano: I do a bunch of things or at least try. One is I've been trying to read. You try and read a few books a month and I have my long list that I try and bury through, that's one part and traditionally most down the business side of things. A big second one is not just learning from books but just connecting with people. You meet new people and you learn about new approaches and ideas and thoughts and ways that they do things. It's a great way to learn and respect what other people do. From a learning and improvement standpoint, the ability to chat with new people is just a good opportunity. I do it whenever I can. Also, I mentioned that I write for a couple of columns and blogs and I think writing is one thing that I do and I commit to doing these things because it helps me learn and improve. It forces me to think and read and research other ideas.

What I find is when I have an idea I want to dive deeper into, I need to do a bit more of the research and focus on it if I'm going to actually write a column out there as well. I think for me I just try and push limits by setting those goals. Really for everything whether it's the top five that I want to do or some of the fitness goals I had. I'm always trying to do that. I've also always tried to do long-term goals as well. Before I was 30, I identified what success looked like to me when I was 30 years old. Now that that's gone and past, I have new goals for when I'm 40 and they're super personal and things that I try and do. Outside of the daily and weekly goals, there are some long-term ones as well that try and keep me focused on a long-term basis. Those are the things that come to mind in terms of what I do to learn and improve.

Jo Dodds: The thing about planning and long-term planning, do you have a structure to that? Do you do that at certain times or is it just something that you've done and that you review when it feels right to do?

Rob Catalano: Actually, it's interesting. Back at Achievers, we were very focused on employee growth and what we asked people to do is this whole concept of this top five but as an organisation we had everyone in the company create their top one and this top one had to be a personal goal. It wasn't anything that had to do with anything from the business or professional but what we said is, create your top one and make it one of three things. Make it a wealth goal, a health goal or a self goal. What we meant by that was wealth you know, if there's something you're trying to save up at or be at a certain in your life. From a health standpoint, obviously whether it's running a marathon or being a certain weight or whatever it was. Then self was maybe more specific to you, maybe it was meditating more or other things. I always try to think do I have a goal on the wealth side of things, the self side of things, and the health side of things. That's how I structure what are my future goals personally.

Jo Dodds: I like that. That really makes it quite simple, doesn't it. I like that idea, definitely. You talked about reading, you talked about learning from reading. Are there books that you'd recommend or maybe moving into films or music? Not just necessarily about learning, it could be about inspiration or just things that you've enjoyed our audience might be interested in?

Rob Catalano: I mentioned that earlier one, What the Most Successful Do Before Breakfast. Literally, it's a quick read and it's just a cool thing just to reflect on. I really like this book I read recently from Ben Horowitz called the Hard Things About Hard Things. It's really stories about how do founders run and manage their new technology companies. I've been part of technology companies for the longest time so they were super interesting to me to help me grow the business at WorkTango. The other thing I guess I would suggest, you know my background is more in the marketing side of things about Seth Godin has a book out called Purple Cow. Whether you're a marketing or not, it's more of a how do you stand out? How do you stand out individually? How do you stand out in your messaging? It's just a cool book to kind of reflect on, how do you stand out when there's so much noise out there in whatever you're trying to accomplish at work or in your business or at life. Those are some of the ones that come to mind from a recommendation standpoint.

In terms of other inspiration or enjoyment, to me it's a bit more of a relaxing thing but I play guitar and kind of like just listening to music from an enjoyment standpoint. Those are the major things that come to mind.

Jo Dodds: That's cool. It's interesting, Purple Cow was recommended on a recent podcast, I think #22, Hela Wozniak-Kay, that was the one book she recommended. It's interesting that through all the lists of books that have been recommended over the last few podcasts, there's that mutual recommendation there. The guitar thing is interesting. I bought Little Doddsy, Ellie who does the intros for the podcast, a ukulele last week. I coincidentally was out for the day with Hela from show #22 and just walked past the music shop and saw some in the window. I don't know why I particularly decided to buy it for her. She's got a guitar and hardly plays that but I'd heard the ukulele is quite easy. And she's not put it down. She's found things on the internet with the cords and the music for modern pop songs that she likes and she just sits there strumming away, singing along, trying to get the chords right sort of thing. It's just amazing how quickly it's got her interest and obviously she's really, really enjoying it. There you go, a few less strings but ...

Rob Catalano: Now online with tabs and some of the videos, I wish I had that stuff when I was starting to learn. It's a cool way just to kind of disconnect, have fun. What I found and the only advice, usually year 0-1 is super hard to get it right and know all the chords. If she can get to that first year, she'll have all the movements, all the cords down and she can pretty much sing and play any songs she wants, that's cool.

Jo Dodds: That's where I went wrong, I played the guitar at school but I didn't do it for longer than a year so that's obviously the issue. She's talking about playing the oboe next year. My friend did send me a message who is an oboist saying "Great that she wants to learn, buy yourself some earplugs for at least the first six months."

Rob Catalano: I can imagine.

Jo Dodds: What about days when things don't go right. I can imagine in the startup world, you must have quite a few of those days. How do you deal with those days?

Rob Catalano: No, everything goes perfectly. Nothing ever happens. Things don't go right a lot of time. I think from a productivity standpoint, you re-evaluate your list and your priorities and sometimes it's too late to go through the daily ones but from a weekly standpoint or personally you're going for it, the company is trying to go for it, really just re-evaluate the list and prioritise them and really get everyone focused. Sometimes I think when things don't go right it just comes from a lack of focus.

I think from a results standpoint, if results come in and they're not great, just try and reflect on why and try and try change it. Try to decide what you're doing as the next steps to make that happen. When we see numbers that we don't like, we reflect on why we think it's there but just reflection isn't enough. We really try and focus on what's the action that we're going to do to try to make things happen. That's kind of my approach.

It's actually funny, when you say things don't go right, you mentioned headspace. Even though I haven't gotten to the cadence of using that as a meditation tool, I have tried it. They actually have this little thing in there called SOS. Literally, it's this quick, three-minute kind of just stop. There have been times where I have been super stressed, and traditionally I don’t show it, and not sure how to move forward on something and I have used the head space SOS tool. Just again, three minutes of just stopping, coming up for air goes a long way in terms of trying to fix some things that don't go right.

Jo Dodds: I didn't know that was on there. Clearly, I think I've downloaded the app but never actually looked at it. I didn't know it was there. That's a top tip, definitely. I'll have to give that a go on those days where obviously things aren't quite going to plan.

What about on a day when you end the day knowing that you've had the chance to live more? I define that as the day where you've had the chance to do what you wanted to do, not the stuff that you feel like you should do or you have to do. What will you have done?

Rob Catalano: Chance to live more, one thing that comes to mind is, “Did I do something that I've never done before?”. What I mean by that is have I engaged in some level of new experience that I learned something or something I can have as a memory moving forward. Yesterday actually was a great example, it was the first time I was actually on a sailboat and drove it and didn't know what I was doing but it was a cool experience. When I do something like that, I feel I've kind of lived more, right? Something I've just done before or never learned before.

Jo Dodds: Rob, I think it's called helming, not driving but good.

Rob Catalano: Baby steps, all right?

Jo Dodds: I don't know anything about it but that's what I'm told. Lovely.

Rob Catalano: I learned something today, I'm happy.

Jo Dodds: Learning stuff that you've not done before or having a chance to do something you've not done before. Anything else that springs to mind?

Rob Catalano: Sometimes you put those top fives and some days you don't hit them all and then other days you crush them. When you're reflecting on them and especially for me when I'm planning the top five for the next day, that's great when all those things are checked and I've made progress and it wasn't one of those days that didn't go right. You put those things out there to try to accomplish something and stay focused. When you have those wins, that personal celebration of the win is pretty nice.

Jo Dodds: Sometimes it's the small things. I did something this morning that I've been intending to do for about two months. I was so happy with myself and it took me about 20 minutes. I don't know why I've been procrastinating so long.

Rob Catalano: There's a little rule, I can't remember where I read it but it says if something comes in and it lands in your mailbox, someone asks you to do something and it's under two minutes, just go do it. It may distract you but if you get it done, it'll be off our mind. I don't know, it might distract what you're currently and keep you unfocused but there are those things that just kind of linger and you finally finish them and wonder what took you so long.

Jo Dodds: Exactly. I'm reading a book called ‘The Organized Mind’ by something like Daniel Levitson or something. It's all about how the digital onslaught now with everything being 300 miles an hour and always on and that sort of thing. What was really interesting was that he says that having unread email in your inbox can reduce your IQ by as much as 10 points. I thought it was really scary because I work pretty to inbox zero and I do control my inbox well and I sort of generally know what's going on with it and that sort of thing. The average person has hundreds of emails in their inbox, many of them they haven't read and probably never will read. It did worry me a tad that just one unread email can really have that impact on your brain. I can sort of see that that's true. As you said, having something nagging you to be done can impact your productivity generally, can't it?

Rob Catalano: Yeah, but I just glance at my emails and I have a whole whack of them I haven't read so my IQ might be in the negative, I'm not sure.

Jo Dodds: I just depressed you now. Just ignore that, I think he just made that fact up, it's not true at all.

Rob Catalano: That's actually really interesting. If I think about the whole idea about focus and creating a top five for example, the way I do it to try to accomplish the right things, not the urgent things. To me, I shut off the email so I can try and focus. It sounds very counter intuitive to what this book is saying. I guess I'll have to live with the low IQ then.

Jo Dodds: I think that is the point actually though. I think the point is exactly what you said that because you're focusing on the important things, you won't be impacted by the emails that you've chosen not to look at anyway. I think it's that sort of dopamine thing where people can't help themselves but to look at their email because they can see that it's flashing, that there's a message sort of thing. People who are falling into that trap, probably it does impact them. If you've actually chose to ignore those things, I can see that it wouldn't then have that same impact, she said trying to make you feel better.

Rob Catalano: I appreciate it. That makes sense. I guess if you don't look at it, it's not weighing on your mind. It's not even email, it's Facebook messages, Twitter messages, LinkedIn messages, every other app that's pinging you for something. That makes sense. I'll take a note and maybe read it and let you know what I think.

Jo Dodds: That's the whole thing about inbox zero, everyone things about having no emails inbox. It's not actually that, it's about your mind spending zero time in your inbox for getting your work done. The guy that came up with it, it was all about managing your emails such that you aren't using your inbox as a to-do list and you're not actually worrying about what was in there because you're working elsewhere, which is exactly what you're doing. I think you know, all joking aside, I think that is the point. That's what he's sort of saying that if you've got a way of focusing on stuff that you should be focusing on then actually that stops that becoming an issue for you but if you don't, that's where it becomes an issue. As you say, it's not just email, it's everything isn't it.

Rob Catalano: That's makes sense then, I can appreciate that.

Jo Dodds: Cool. We can move to the last question now you're feeling a bit better. Rob, tell us how people can find out more about you and connect up with you and learn a bit more about the longer version of what WorkTango is.

Rob Catalano: Oh, sure. People can reach out to me anytime. Rob Catalano is the Twitter handle that I have. Obviously, that's my name on LinkedIn. Rob@worktango.io is my email address and you can reach me there. If you went to the worktango.io website, you can email the company and it'll get routed to me at some point. From my end, I love connecting with different people and learning how they do things and if some other productivity hack has worked for you, I'd love to hear about it but I feel pretty good, get in touch with me anytime. It's just great to connect with people.

Jo Dodds: Lovely. Thank you. I really enjoyed interviewing you, it's not the first time I've interviewed you is it?

Rob Catalano: I appreciate it, thanks for having me Jo and all the best. I look forward to hearing a couple of the other ones that you've done in the last couple of weeks and some of the future ones happening.

Jo Dodds: Lovely. Thank you.

Rob Catalano: Let Little Doddsy know to keep plugging away on the ukulele, she'll get great in no time.

Jo Dodds: I will, definitely. Thank you.

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About the Author

I work with business owners and leaders to improve their wellbeing, in these days of overwhelm, whether that be physical, mental or digital, using my POWER to Live More 5 Fundamentals of Simplify, Systemise, Share, Self Care and Sustain. I also work with business leaders to help them to improve their organisational employee engagement and wellbeing. I believe they are interlinked in a lovely virtuous circle.

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