For this edition of Productive Fundraising In Action I interviewed my friend Rusty Baker. Rusty serves as Executive Director of PA Museums. Without further adieu, lets dig in and see how he stays productive …
What personal productivity technique has had the most impact on your career?
Making lists has always helped me move the ball down the field. Marking things off the list when a task is complete makes me feel like I am getting somewhere. Sometimes you notice a task carrying over from list to new list that never gets done, and that makes you ask, “Do we really need to do that?” Sometimes the answer is no, so you get more from a list if you use it thoughtfully.
Why did you choose this specific technique over any others that you may use?
I always wanted to be a writer, and maybe that dream came true because I am always writing. Most of that happens on my laptop, but holding a pen is more active and deliberate. The act of writing, the physical part of it where you don’t type or look at a screen, can pay enormous dividends because you are really remembering and thinking about what is on the list and what the process will be.
Do you have a favorite tool that helps you stay productive?
No, but I have a least favorite tool, and it’s the fax machine. When people ask me to fax them, I feel like they’ve asked me to time travel to 1995.
Do you have a favorite productivity book, system or expert that you look to for guidance?
I used to be a Franklin Planner guy, and I still think about that system and have customized my lists to include what I found most useful about the Franklin system.
Summary (Chad’s Two Cents)
Rusty touches on something here that is not often addressed … there is a tactile side to productivity. Sometimes the mere act of picking up a favorite pen or using a certain planner can put you into a productive state of mind. I also find that certain music play lists can do the same thing. I know that when I need to be uber productive I will schedule out my available time down to 15 minute increments, pick up my favorite pen and put on a playlist reserved just for this purpose. It’s amazing how much I can get done when I have to (and this ritual makes it somewhat enjoyable).
Rusty also addresses one of my key tenets of personal productivity … personalization. The word “personal” is in there for a reason. You can’t just adopt someone else’s system and expect it to work perfectly for you. You need to figure out what works for you by giving techniques a try and tweaking your system as you go. I make a change to my system at least quarterly. Personal productivity is a lifetime journey of continuous improvement. We are all different, you have to find what works for you.
Rusty Baker serves as Executive Director of PA Museums. PA Museums is Pennsylvania’s statewide museum association serving around 400 member museums as an independent nonprofit. They create a museum community with their communications, professional conference, partnerships, and other programs. PA Museums leads statewide efforts to increase the visibility of museums and their public value to lawmakers in Harrisburg.