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Productivity trainer Maura Thomas' interview on Coffee With a Stranger

Read my “Coffee With a Stranger” interview at

You might not expect subjects like chocolate, exercise and “The Blacklist” to come up when you go for coffee with a productivity trainer.

But that’s what happened when Melissa Lombard featured me on her blog Coffee With a Stranger.

Melissa works in real estate in Austin and, for almost three years, she’s been doing a very creative project: She goes to coffee every week with a total stranger and then writes about the experience. I’m honored to be “Cup 115” of her series.

During our conversation, Melissa and I discussed my work as a productivity trainer, including the chief complaints that lead companies to hire me:

… employees are asking for help in this area. Specifically, they feel they are drowning in emails, there are too many meetings, or they are not effective, everyone is working a lot (which could mean they are in danger of burn-out), and management may feel there is a lot of activity, but not enough time is being spent on the important things.

And I talked about my belief that traditional “time management” is outdated:

Common time management principles have run their course. Traditional time management might tell you, go in your office, close your door, make a list, prioritize A, B, C and then work from your list until you get everything done. This was back in the day before the internet and smartphones, and when people actually had an office, with a door. That was a little bit more reasonable. But now it’s not at all.

Our conversation also touched on paper vs. electronic productivity tools and why a productivity system is like the tango (c’mon, you’re curious!).

We ventured well beyond productivity topics, too. Check out the interview on Melissa’s blog to read about what I do when I’m not being productive (hint: It’s something some people claim is a big waste of time), the book I think everyone should read and even who my celebrity doppleganger is.

Many thanks to Melissa for the great coffee and conversation. I wish her many more productive days working on this cool project!