The 2×4 Interview: Productivity


Towards the end of last year, my friend Michael Schechter was kind enough to invite me to chat on his 2×4 series.

The idea behind 2×4 is simple: one series that examines two topics, creativity and productivity, by asking those who make things on the web the same four questions on both subjects.

I had a blast answering Mike’s questions, and thought it’d be cool to share the answers here. In this second part, we talk Productivity – make sure you drop by Monday’s post for the creativity answers.

Can you describe your current personal and professional responsibilities?

Personally, I’m a father and husband, so my main responsibility is making sure they have food on the table and a roof over their heads, and that they feel secure in my ability to look after them. This leads to my professional responsibility – I’m the VP, Product Intelligence at Jugnoo, Inc., and my responsibilities there see me making sure we look after our users by providing the best tools possible, to ensure they can be truly effective on social media. It also sees me working on bringing products to the market that will make the social web simple, accessible and monetizable for everyone.

How do you go about balancing the personal, professional and digital?

Easy – I keep them separate, and dedicate the time solely to each one when I’m “there”. During the day, I’m in professional mode, so you’ll rarely see me online. In the evenings and at weekends, that’s my family time. Once the kids and wife have gone to bed, that’s my digital playtime, to catch up on all I’ve missed. You might get the occasional crossover, but generally I keep all three separate. It’s why I don’t do a lot of conferences or speaking – I like putting my son and daughter to bed, and waking up under the same roof as them and my wife. I wouldn’t swap that for the world.

What tools and techniques do you find yourself counting on to get through your workload?

I simply use a lot of Google’s tools – Docs, chat, calendar, etc. They’re good enough for what I need. I’m also a big fan of Hootsuite and how they’ve made social media dashboards so effective. Of course, there’s now a certain product called JugnooMe, which we’re creating for everyone from businesses to bloggers, franchisees, realtors, agencies, non-profits and more. And the reviews so far are pretty positive, which is nice, and with the update we’re releasing next week, hopefully that will continue!

What is the best starting point for the unproductive amongst us, who are looking to get more organized?

A notepad and pen. Seriously. Take an hour out of your day, and sit down with a notepad and pen, and divide a page into two columns – Must Have and Optional. Then write down all the stuff you do during the day – personally and professionally – and separate them into these two lists. Then prioritize what you need to do every single day to make your life easier/better, whatever, and begin to work from that. If you don’t recognize what’s really important versus what you can do if you want to, you’re never going to be more productive.

image: inju

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Enjoy this post? Share your thoughts below:


  1. says

    Nothing to add Danny as you said it perfectly. Just let me say that, imho, this is the way to live life and keep it balanced, the only way to avoid being burned out. You could even find time to go fishing and that’s really cool. The rat race kills the rat, sooner or later. I guess you’ll never regret having sacrificed family for business and this is intelligent and wise. :)
    Separate boxes and priorities.

    • MSchechter says

       @uri  ginidietrich is big on notebooks. I wish I could make analog tools work for me (darn inability to read my own handwriting), but I find myself using digital options to solve these problems lately.

  2. rdopping says

    Danny, thanks for the connection to Michael. Cool dude.
    Live the 2 x 4 ideas and there are some interesting folks in that network. Keeping digital, business and family separate is a great way to do things. I am not there. My worlds seem to blend together. Does it work? Dunno, we will see. Love them all.
    Looking forward to the creativity answers.

  3. says

    Thanks for introducing A Better Mess. I am in love with its Passive Aggressive Manifesto. I can really appreciate how you manage your time. It’s always something I’m striving to do better in. I mean, the ultimate goal is to find the best combination of creativity and productivity possible, so that’s definitely a major contributing factor. Great post to read and very inspiring.

    • says

       @Anders Michael Hey there Anders,
      Cheers, mate, glad you’re finding Michael Schechter useful, he’s got some great ideas over there at and usually makes you think.
      Here’s to us all managing our time better. :)

  4. says

    For a while I was obsessed with increasing my productivity and decreasing my work load.  It got to the point where I was delegating all marketing/advertising tasks besides client pitches and sales meeting.  I stopped blogging to focus purely on sales because I figured that corporate executives don’t read startup blogs.
    And my startup did great!  We closed deals, made revenue, and are now on the path to raising our Series A.  
    However, I got to the point where at times I just had nothing to do at the office.  Because I delegated everything besides closing accounts, I had a lot of time on my hands.  
    I was afraid to get back into blogging and social networking because it would distract me from my sales efforts.  I wanted to focus like a laser on one thing only.
    Now that the company has refocused on a SMB market, I’m diving head first into establishing thought leadership via social channels once again.  
    The hardest part for me is establishing a good connection with people online.  There are just so many people blogging and on twitter, it’s really hard to keep track of all of them.  Do you have any advice as far as tools to build a solid and meaningful network of people online?

    • says

       @JunLoayza Hey there Jun,
      Great to see you here, man, huge admirer of what you do, and congrats on the Series A path, sounds promising!
      As far as tools go, there are none really I can think of that immediately spring to mind. there are the standard community approaches you could take – LinkedIn / Facebook Groups or Twitter Chats, G+ Hangouts, maybe blogger groups via something like BlogEngage or ComLuv – but I can’t think of any “tools”, per se.
      Sorry, mate, wish I could help more.

      • says

         @DannyBrown hey no worries Danny, and thanks so much for the encouragement.  We’re working really hard on RewardMe – we’re not hoping for success; we’re making it happen.
        How do you like Livefyre as your commenting system compared to something like Disqus?  Is there a reason you chose Livefyre?
        I’m running a regular threaded comment system with Thesis theme on my blog right now.
        Have you seen any big benefits in terms of conversation with Livefyre?