Talk on Productivity at Barcamp Bangalore 10

At Barcamp Bangalore 10 on Saturday, I talked about GTD, Pomodoro and Productivity:

NOTE: If you have trouble viewing the web version, there is also a PDF version of my slides.

I was nervous when preparing for this talk because it is not a concrete topic, it’s something abstract and perhaps even illusive for many people, so when I started off my session, I asked people to set aside their cynicism for half an hour, I then established some source credibility, explained my view of how I look at productivity, success and happiness, and how GTD and Pomodoro tie into all this. The presentation above is quite self-explanatory, so I’ll not repeat that again, except for the demo-on-whiteboard part where I did a live session about how to do Pomodoro.

(photo by @the100rabh)

The session went surprisingly well, and most people grokked what I was explaining, which I’m still very surprised about. I guess part of it is because (1) the audience was so interactive and asked questions and (2) most people in the audience have already tried experimenting with todo lists and GTD, so it is a problem they were already facing, so they assimilated what I was saying very quickly.

(photo by @anenth)

The best part about Barcamp is that I got to talk about a personal obsession of mine and I would have otherwise probably never gotten a chance to discuss such a topic in-person with other people who are interested in this topic.

Some of the feedback on my session:

It was even more fun to hear from people when days after the conference, they were actually trying out the Pomodoro technique:

There were many other good sessions in Barcamp that I liked, I especially loved the sessions about the Namma Cycle project and about ShreeKumar’s adventures and how to survive while doing a yatra across the country, talking the locals, etc.

And I really do hope that the Namma Cycle project takes off – Murali who effused passion when talking about it has shown a lot of progress already – got sponsorship, got government buy-in, and is starting off at Bangalore University and has big dreams about turning Bangalore into a cycling city. That seems to be already under way, with the new cycle stand near M G Road.

Overall, even my non-techie wife thoroughly enjoyed the day and was inspired by the people she met at Barcamp. And that really says it all for me on how much I enjoyed going to Barcamp again.

Special thanks to SAP Labs India for hosting the Barcamp in their beautiful campus and the great lunch as well. And not to forget, all the organizers of BCB10, kudos to you guys for making it happen!

P.S. Regarding the Quantified Self phenomenon, I highly recommend reading the New York Times article by Gary Wolf on The Data Driven Life.

Update: Just remembered a related old article of mine – Creativity and Organization is Impact”.

6 thoughts on “Talk on Productivity at Barcamp Bangalore 10

  1. Missed out on the session at BCB!
    Thanks a lot for putting this up, I’ve been struggling to be productive, lagging behind timelines always. Hoping to come up with a system which works for me!

    One question:
    How do you minimize interruptions? For me most of the time interrupt is caused by a colleague seeking some help. Since it’s my own startup, colleagues keep asking for things which is a big hit on my productivity. I’m sure you must have been in this situation. How do you handle these interruptions?

    1. @Prashanth I hope this helps you in growing your own system.

      Regarding interruptions in a startup environment, it’s been my personal experience that when I get a couple of hours work done in solitude and am in “the flow”, then I’m ready to take on any number of interruptions during the day, so why don’t you try getting 2 hours work done by yourself at home or at office early before the others come in and then see your performance of handling interruptions over the subsequent weeks?

      Regarding apps, I use pen and paper (seriously) :-)

  2. Thanks for an excellent session at BCB10, Swaroop. Your words about habits of doing doings (as opposed to “discipline”) are still ringing in my head. I’m hoping I’ll end up using a similar technique (with customizations to suit me) – and go from the required “discipline” to the habit phase.

    1. @Shree Wow, thanks for the compliment, really hope it has helped in some way to find your own flow! :)

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