Expert Interview with Joshua Zerkel on Productivity and Time Management for Mint

Joshua Zerkel believes in getting the most out of your time. As a time management expert, he helps businesses and people get the most out of the time they have with Custom Living Solutions. He spoke to us about time management and how to make it work.

How did Custom Living Solutions get started?

I was one of those weird people who had always been really organized. As a kid, I loved alphabetizing my comic books and keeping my toys in order. I loved putting things in boxes. I never really thought about it much until I started working, and I noticed most people didn't seem to have a knack for staying on top of their things and their projects. My first career was as a graphic designer, and many of my colleagues would ask me how I managed keep my work so well organized. I ended up showing a number of people strategies for organization, and thought, "Maybe I should get paid for this." So I started Custom Living Solutions, and now I do.

We all know the saying "time is money," but what are some practical reasons for that?

I prefer to think of it as time being valuable. It's really about time being a truly finite resource. No matter what you do, you can't create more time or get back time that was spent poorly. One has to be deliberate about how they spend the time they have and make sure that it's in alignment with their values - whether that means being more efficient in business to increase revenue, or streamlining personal tasks so you have more downtime.

What's the one thing you wish every business knew about time management?

No matter how organized a business is, it can't do everything. Do fewer things that are of higher impact and you'll be better off.

What are some common mistakes you see in how small businesses schedule their time?

  • Over-scheduling - packing every day full of back-to-back-to-back tasks and appointments. This leads to a frenzied schedule and eventual burnout.
  • Not scheduling - leaving days wide open with no tasks defined.
  • Changing calendaring systems in the hopes that it will somehow get the team organized on its own.

What are some differences between group productivity and personal?

Personal productivity relates to the work style of an individual - how they think, their goals, and developing strategies for them to work at their best. Group productivity is much more complex, as it often needs to have an overarching structure for how the team works, with each team member's productivity style contributing to the team's results.

What productivity tools do you recommend somediv who wants to get it together?

Every team and every individual needs a calendaring system - typically a shared one that each team member can use to organize meetings and projects in coordination with other team members. The best are ones that can be accessed from any computer, like Google Calendar. Teams also need a central spot for organizing information related to projects and creating work together, such as Evernote Business. Most teams need a specialized tool for their industry, but beyond that, the essentials of a calendar and a shared workspace can take most teams a long way.

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