Showing Up On Saturday

In the last few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about productivity. I started tracking how I spend my time. I’ve also been reading Turning Pro. I’ve known for a while now that to really achieve my goals with Learning by Doing, I’d need to utilise my weekends for projects way more. There just isn’t enough time before/after work on weekdays and whilst I do work on the weekends; it’s in my living room, TV in the background and housemates in the flat. It’s not optimal for work.

Advice from an old friend

“Show up on Saturday” – Lopo Champalimaud

Lopo is the CEO and founder of Treatwell. I first met Lopo in 2014 when he came and told the Treatwell story (then Wahanda) to the YPlan team. We kept in touch and in 2015 I invited him to do the same for the Deliveroo team. He’s a great speaker and I greatly admire his approach to work, building a business and leading a team.

Show up on Saturday for better productivity
Show up on Saturday

He said something that day that sat with me. “Show up on Saturday”. So simple, but it has it’s nuance.

Taken simply, it means work hard. Work an extra day and you’ll be ahead of the crowd. That in itself is a competitive advantage.

But then there is the “show up”. Physically be present. Show up at the office. For me, this implies not just working hard but working hard with professionalism. Working hard with the same rigour you would work Monday to Friday.  As Steven Pressfield would say in his book, this means Turning Pro.

Level up

So today, I put Lopo’s word’s into action. I packed my laptop and my sketchbook in my bag and jogged into the office. I showed up on Saturday.

This post was typed from my office. It felt good to sit down, in quiet, at a proper desk and write this. It was effective. I felt productive. I have a to-do list of 5 things that I want to get done before I leave today and I feel confident that I can get them done.

Productivity and momentum

And I intend to keep showing up on Saturday’s. Giving up Saturday’s might seem like a big commitment but it takes a big commitment to make something a success. To reference Steven Pressfield’s great book again; you need to put in the work, you need to be a Pro.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about momentum. My feeling is that productivity, energy and momentum are very linked. Sam Altman touched on this in his great how to build the future interview (from 9.15).

Working on Saturday’s may be tough at first, but if it builds momentum, it can be energising. It’s like pushing a tyre. At first, it is hard. But once you have momentum you need less effort to keep it rolling.

So I’ll do my best to keep it rolling. I’ll keep showing up on Saturday.

in the office on a Saturday - productivity goals
(Office) Saturday Selfie

Improving My Personal Productivity, Part 1 – Understanding How I Spend My Time

About half way through 2016, I was feeling that my personal productivity was particularly low. Work was getting away from me during the day and in the evenings I wasn’t managing to get any personal goals complete. I was spending time responding to other peoples requests rather than proactively setting my own agenda. Come August, I felt I had to slow down, say no and re-focus.

Towards the end of the year, I managed to pick up my productivity. Work felt better. My social time felt more deliberate. I even managed to put time toward personal projects which has led to the launch of this latest project.

With momentum in my favour, I want to push this to another level again. As I’m working on LBD but still in full-time work, improving personal productivity will be a major factor in it’s overall success.

Productivity is an amplifier

Productivity amplifies all our actions; allowing us to do more, better.

Learning by Doing Productivity Sketch
Less time, more output

Historically, being productive meant who could produce the most units of output in industry. As our work has changed though, so has the meaning of productivity. It doesn’t just refer to the amount of work you can do but also the importance of work you can do.

If every day we are just 10 minutes more productive, over the course of the year you have an extra 3,650 minutes. That is just under 61 hours or two and a half days.

What would you do with an extra two and a half days?

Understanding how I spend my time

Inspired by the Wait but Why post 100 Blocks a Day, I’m going to make a change.

In order to find a solution to the ‘how to be more productive?’ question, I need to first be fully aware of the problem. What is preventing me from being more productive now? And what can I change to be more productive?

To understand this, I am doing a full assessment of how I am currently spending my time. For two weeks (and possibly longer) I will be recording start times and end times for everything I do. When do I wake up? When do I start work? What do I do in between? What do I do when I’m home? As in the post, I’ll put all this time spent into a spreadsheet (although I’ll initially be writing them down as a note on my phone).

To start, I’ll be considering work as one large block, allowing me to focus on my personal time. If I find this useful, I’ll also break down my work hours into their individual components.

For each day, I’ll also make a simple note of how I felt. Did I feel productive? Yes or no. Did I feel productive throughout the day? Just in the morning? Just in the evening?

Some questions I want to answer

In tracking my time, I want to understand:

  1. Am I spending my most productive time on my most important tasks?
  2. How much time do I spend being responsive to others vs acting on my own agenda?
  3. Am I spending my time with people I want to spend time with?
  4. How much time do I spend with people vs on my own?
  5. What activities do I allow to ‘slip’ from my agenda?
  6. How much time do I spend on work (Deliveroo or personal) vs leisure?
  7. What days of the week do I deviate from my plan?
  8. How does alcohol effect my productivity the next day?
  9. Does my diet effect my productivity?
  10. How much time do I spend being healthy?

Once I’ve plotted my time spent, I should be able to make statements like: 10% of my time is spent on being healthy, 50% of my time is spent at work, and so on. I’m excited and nervous to see how this looks for me.

The road to improved productivity

In two weeks, I’ll share the results of my time assessment. I’ll break it down and categorise exactly how I actually spend my 100 blocks currently.

I’ll then be making a plan of how I desire to spend my 100 blocks. In an ideal world, what would I spend my time doing? How does it differ to the actual? What do I do too much of? What do I do too little of? And most importantly, how can I move from the actual closer to the planned ideal?

I’ll report back in two weeks time.


The original version of this post was published on my personal website and on Medium. I’d love to hear any comments, thoughts or feedback – you can tweet me at @stevanpopo.

If you want all the updates from Learning by Doing, you can follow my progress by subscribing to the LBD newsletter here.