Amantha Imber, founder of innovation consultancy company Inventium, told Business Insider Australia she began the podcast “How I Work”, after hearing her clients say they don’t have enough time to focus on innovation.
“I was looking around at people that I thought were really successful and great innovators,” she said, “And I thought, well, they’ve got the same number of hours in the day – so what are they doing differently?” With plenty of interviews under her belt, Imber shared some of the biggest tips she learned:
“Batching” meetings for better productivity
Imber’s first interview was with Wharton psychology professor and New York Times bestselling author Adam Grant. There were two main tips which stuck out to her from that interview.
The first was that Grant “batches” all his meetings, meaning he does them back to back. It came from research from Ohio State University which found that productivity decreases by 22% if you know you have an upcoming meeting.
Another tip Imber picked up was that when Grant finishes work for the day, he will finish half-way through a certain task. “That way, when he starts the next day, it’s super easy for him to pick back up because he’s already halfway through it,” she explained.
Using clothes as a communication tool
When Imber interviewed former Pinterest president Tim Kendall, she said he talked about using clothes as a communication channel.
“When he was at Pinterest, one of the focus areas strategically was about just focusing … on doing a small amount of things really well,” she said. And so Kendall had several different t-shirts that said ‘focus’ which he would wear.
“He literally wore that all year,” Imber said.
Changing your password when you’re on holiday
Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of junk removal company 1800 Got Junk, told Imber he would get his assistant to change the passwords to his email and social media accounts when he goes on holidays. In doing so, he ensured he isn’t “lured” to answer them.
Small changes create big differences
Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress, discussed how small hacks or changes can help you develop good behaviours. He described to Imber a little hack that would encourage him to read, right on his bedside table. “He finds if he puts the Kindle on top of the phone, he’ll be more likely to read it,” Imber said.
Read your work out loud
Author Daniel Pink explained how he reads his work out loud during the editing process to see if the sentences flow. “He will…read or have someone read his books – the whole book, end to end – out loud,” she said.
A podcast that can “improve people’s lives for the better” Imber explained that from every interview, there would be at least one thing she would try out when it comes how to she works. She also said she gets people writing to her saying it has changed the way they approach work too.
“I just want my podcast to continue to have that impact and improve people’s lives for the better,” she said. “For me, that makes it an intensely rewarding project.”
And her dream interviewee? Playwright, composer and actor Lin Manuel Miranda.