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Piers Fawkes: Productive Consultancy

We chat with Piers Fawkes, founder of highly prolific trends blog PSFK, about time-blocking, Neanderthal email habits, and learning through writing.

Piers Fawkes founded and has been managing PSFK, a trends and innovation company since 2003, after its humble conception as a blog. The company’s consultancy practice has worked with companies ranging from Corona to Samsung and has been featured on CNBC and BBC and in Financial Times and AdWeek. The publishing side of PSFK now attracts writers and readers alike worldwide, from New York and Los Angeles, to Norway, Vancouver, Mexico City and Mumbai. Behance sat down with Piers to find out about how he handles his email (despite lacking wireless web) and the importance of prioritization.

Piers, despite receiving thousands of emails a day, refuses to carry a smartphone. “I don’t carry mobile email. I spend my day always on by scanning RSS and research – I don’t need to be always on when I’m out of the office. I hate people who assume that everyone carries mobile email. But sometimes I wonder if it’s me who’s the Neanderthal and I just can’t cope with the modern world.” Doing this, while seemingly rare for someone in the online creative industry, has large rewards and benefits in the social and networking arenas.

His days are cut down into digestible chunks in order to maximize his productivity. “I research and write from 6.30 to 10.30am with maybe 1 break to review emails and then only to flag which ones to respond to later. I have to be ruthless with my time in the morning, but if I don’t do the research at this time, it ruins the rest of my day and the quality of the output to my clients and sites. I avoid business breakfasts, calls and meetings before 11am to ensure I have the time to do this work.

You have to rewrite everything you learn. It makes you digest the data better and use it later for idea generation.

After 10.30am I work out my to-dos and action list. As a small business owner there’s always too much work that you’d want to do in a day. I have to focus on what needs to be done today that will maximize PSFK’s output tomorrow and the week ahead. Concentrating on tasks that are connected to dollar signs helps.”

When asked what his greatest frustrations were, he responded with the overwhelming amount of email he receives and his inability to multitask. His solutions for these? “[I find] dead-time to review flagged email — Friday afternoons, early Sunday mornings…[and] I hire the multi-taskers.” He has implemented processes to assist him in retaining knowledge, and understands the importance of study — even for people who aren’t students anymore. “You have to rewrite everything you learn. Keep a diary. Keep a blog. It makes you digest the data better and use it later for idea generation. Otherwise it’s in-out.”

He is always striving to improve the lives of people and the business community around him.  “I want to make things better. I want to help make my client’s products and services better, I want my readers to make their products, services, life-experience better.”

Comments (1)
  • NABH

    I really appreciate your post and you explain each and every point very well.Thanks for sharing this information.And I’ll love to read your next post too.

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