Paying it forward with Personal Productivity


Receiving positive feedback is something which will always put a smile on your face.

Since launching our Personal Productivity programme in 2007, we’ve taken great pride in seeing people’s lives change for the better – both in and outside of their working hours.

One of these individuals is Cheryl Osborn, Director and Co-Founder of learning & development specialists Motiv8us, who not only benefited from the programme personally but went on to help others do the same.

We recently sat down with Cheryl to discuss how this happened.


So tell us how you first came across the programme.

I’ve known Neil Massa for years. He used to deliver training when I was working at Reed and during one of our catch-ups he talked to me about this new e-programme which he was developing.
I then observed the programme being delivered a couple of times (purely as an observer rather than a delegate). I found I adopted a lot of the elements myself and started to use it in my own productivity – which is why I’m happy to pass it on now.
From then on it was always in the back of my mind that I’d quite happily deliver the programme to other people.

And how would you say the content helped you from a personal perspective?

Well, being a very busy person (who was easily distracted) it helped me to focus. This is particularly useful, considering I’m trying to run a home, manage a business, look after 4 kids, 5 dogs, and a cat! (It all gets quite stressful at times.)
Overall, the programme helped me to manage my time a lot better by properly planning, forecasting my time and my daily workload.
The email management aspect was particularly powerful for me. It helped me to stop constantly dipping in and out of emails and gain control over my inbox again. Using a Today List rather than a to-do list became absolutely fundamental to me because it took away a lot of personal stress by helping me get clear on the list of things I wanted to achieve that day – even down to tasks such as getting the washing and ironing done.
That’s why it manages my whole life, not just my work life.

What is it you find most rewarding about delivering the programme?

I find that there’s always a ‘lightbulb moment’ which happens when I start talking to people about how they manage or organise their time, as you know straight away that you’re going to be able to help them.
They often talk about how they’re constantly being interrupted or distracted by either their colleagues or their emails, and you know from the minute they say this that you’ve got a solution. That’s very rewarding.
Then when I’m delivering the programme, seeing the delegates’ faces light up (which is often followed by “how did I not think of that?”) is really rewarding as well.
I also do some of the coaching after the workshop, and I love hearing them tell me what a difference it’s made – even just by making the simplest of changes. For example there was an HR Director who told me how just changing her voicemail message had made such a difference to her. It stopped the ‘ping-pong’ voicemails from happening and it made contacts consider whether they really did need to speak to her at that very moment, or whether it could wait. Just by doing that she found she wasn’t being interrupted nearly as much as she was before.

Finally, what would you say makes this programme in particular different to any others you’ve delivered?

For me, it’s the fact that these things are so simple – they’re minor changes with a major impact.
A lot of time management programmes are full of such complicated techniques that, at the end of the day, no one bothers to do them.
I also do a lot of sales training and management training and, although these have a profound effect too, the impact and turnaround the delegates see aren’t nearly as quick as the ones from the SNH Personal Productivity programme.