Tag: productivity

Amir Salihefendic, Doist: Best Practices for Remote Teams, Ep 126

You can now find the full show notes of the Crossing Borders podcast on LatamList.com’s new podcast section. I’ll still post the audio of the podcast on my blog and I’m planning to start writing more again on my blog, like I used to.

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Thanks for listening to Crossing Borders all these years! If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to reach out here, or contact me on social media.

Outline of this episode:

  • [2:50] – About Doist
  • [4:09] – Remote work in 2007 
  • [5:10] – Global shift to remote work
  • [7:06] – Best practices of remote work pre-pandemic
  • [10:44] – Importance of asynchronous work 
  • [16:18] – Building a culture remotely
  • [19:40] – Do’s and don’ts of remote work
  • [23:37] – LatAm’s place in a remote-first world 
  • [29:26] – Advice to Amir’s younger self
  • [31:14] – What’s next for Amir and Doist?

Show notes on Latamlist.com.

No Call Wednesday

Ever since the pandemic, I’ve been “always on.” I can take calls, video conferences, texts at all times. People are available, without many constraints on time. Remote work detractors think that people will watch Netflix all day. But we should really be worried about people working too much, not too little.

I’ve instituted No Call Wednesday so that I can actually get things done. Some of the Magma team has started do it too. It’s been a long battle of experiments, dating back to 2017. No Call Wednesday, and its more powerful cousin Airplane Mode Wednesday, have been life changing.

The Path to No Call Wednesday

In 2017, I was the only full time Magma Partners team member and things started to get away from me. I had too many things on my plate, but we didn’t have the budget to hire anyone new until we did the first close on our fund, in January 2018.

I found myself taking walks to my favorite cafes in Bogota, Medellin, Mexico City, Guadalajara or Santiago every Saturday morning and spending 4-6 hours catching up on writing, emails and the big projects that I never had the brainspace to do during the week. These 4-6 hours were my most productive of the week.


Ep 32 Amir Salihefendic, Working Remotely is the Way of the Future

Amir Salihefendic joins me on this episode of Crossing Borders to talk about why working remotely is the way of the future. Listen to hear how he helped bootstrap a fully remote company, his perspective on funding a startup and how to create products that help solve real problems. Amir also shares how companies can gain a competitive edge, find outstanding talent and increase workplace productivity by being fully remote.


How to Replicate Airplane Productivity: Or Why I Don’t Buy Wireless on Flights

I am incredibly productive on airplanes.  I read faster, write more and am more creative.  Some of the best ideas for Entrustet have come while I’ve been at 30,000 feet.  In early January, I took a flight from San Francisco to Atlanta on my way back to Chile.  During that 3.5 hour flight, I wrote my last five blog posts, read all of The Economist’s dense year end review and the last half of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  (I don’t get that book at all, but that’s another blog post)

That’s 3,754 words written, 50+ Economist articles and about 250 pages of fiction.  It felt great and quality didn’t suffer.  Three of my last four blog posts are now in my five most trafficked posts of all time.  So first, how did it happen?

I’ve experienced similar spurts of productivity when on airplanes.  I’ve been able to attribute it to a few things:

1. You have nowhere to go and nothing to do.

There are no distractions.  No trash tv, no twitter, no facebook messages and emails to check.  There’s no phone calls and you can’t leave (unless you have a parachute).  It’s just you and your thoughts for the duration of the flight.

2. Traveling causes you to think

Getting out of your normal routine changes your perspective, even if you don’t notice it.  When you get on that flight, you’re out of your routine.  You see things differently.  Couple this new perspective with no distractions and you’ll be more productive.

3. You have an uninterrupted, known block of time to work with

You (hopefully) will have a defined block of time during your flight.  When you have a definite stop and end time, you’re more likely to get things done, than if you’re just sitting at your desk or in your kitchen trying to get things done.

Once I got back to Santiago, I looked at all of the things I’d done during my 3.5 our flight and was astounded.  I’d been meaning to write most of those blog posts, but I would get distracted by tv, sports, friends, email, phone calls, whatever.  I could always push it until later.  I don’t buy wireless because my productivity is so good without it.  I decided I wanted to try to replicate my time on an airplane.

Here’s what I’ve been doing so far:

1. Exercise at a strange time

Go on a walk, take a bike ride, go for a swim.  Do something to take your mind off of whatever you’ve been thinking about.  I guessed that exercise would replicate travel and getting out of my routine.  Even 15 minutes will do.

2. Set a defined block of time and pick a location

After exercising, pick a defined amount of time for your “plane time.”  I’ve started with 1 hour.  I’ve been going up to our rooftop, but you can go to a coffee shop, a park or anywhere where you you’ll have at least one hour of uninterrupted work time.

3. Turn off your cell phone

Do it.  It’s not the end of the world.  Better yet, leave it at home.

4. Bring diverse materials

Bring a book, magazine, notebook/pen and your computer.  For me, I want to work on whatever I feel like, not something I need to get done.  It helps me avoid writers block or decision paralysis.  I’ve done this two times now and the first time, I just read for an hour.  The second time, I worked almost exclusively on Entrustet.

So far, it seems to be working.  In our society, we’re always plugged in and multitasking.  It’s been worth it to me to take a step back and just let my mind wander to whatever task it wants to do.  Getting out of a routine has been helpful to me to duplicate the productivty gains I’ve experienced on flights.

I’m planning on experimenting to see if I can get closer to my airplane level of productivity and will update as I find out more.  Are you more productive on airplanes?  Do you try to get out of your routine to work better?  Interested in giving my ideas a test flight?  Got any tips?