Thursday, March 17, 2016

Interview with non-fiction writer Michael Brecht about The Productivity Book

Today’s special feature is an interview with non-fiction writer Michael Brecht, about his non-fiction time management book, The Productivity Book. 

During his virtual book tour, Michael will be awarding 5 Doodle Premium Accounts for Free to five lucky randomly drawn winners. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too.

Welcome, Michael. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a serial entrepreneur, have more than twenty years of experience in IT and Digital Media and have held several international leadership positions in Europe and AustralAsia.

Since the beginning of 2014 I am CEO of Doodle – the world’s favourite online scheduling tool. Together with my fantastic team we have integrated Doodle into the Digital Portfolio of Tamedia AG, Switzerland’s largest media company. Our focus is to grow the business into a global application while strengthening its product offerings and continuing its successful monetisation. Doodle AG is a highly profitable business with offices in Zurich and Berlin.

My experience ranges from founding a start-up to various exits to multi-national corporates and subsequent integration. I enjoy topics of digital transformation and the leadership of highly innovative teams with a particular focus on growing a business internationally.

Now that digitalisation is increasingly becoming a topic for all businesses from start-up to large corporate, I have decided to start my own blog. Here you’ll find information on productivity topics, quotes about personal and professional efficiency, my reviews of awesome apps I use myself and I am trying to present a few stories that aren’t meant to be too serious too.

In my private life I am married and our home comprises of four children and our dog (an Australian Labradoodle). We are currently living in five different countries and I myself carry a German and an Australian passport. I enjoy sports, in particular football, swimming, tennis and all kinds of outdoor activities and I am passionate about the discovery of great wines.

Please share a little bit about your current release.
The Productivity Book contains interviews with 30 time management experts I took over the past years. These experts share their thoughts and recommendations of how to stay more productive during your day. The secret is to work smarter, not harder. I summarized the findings in an extensive afterword to help the reader find some very concrete recommendations and tips for every day.

What inspired you to write this book?
I started collecting notes from my encounters with these productivity experts in the past years. As the CEO of online scheduling application Doodle, I travel quite extensively and meet thousands of busy people. My aim is to give back and share some of the information gathered.

Excerpt from the Productivity Book:
The most common threat to productivity? The disruption caused by technology. Ironically, this was in part due to the proliferation of time management apps, as well as the devices they’re on. In addition to being a frequent distraction, many users felt this has resulted in their information being spread too thinly across multiple platforms. For the majority, the technology designed to help us has become yet another balancing act – and one which can be done without.
In addition to being tried and tested, there are several advantages to planning with paper. There are no notifications or distractions; it never runs out of battery; and after a day spent looking at a computer screen, it’s also easier on the eyes. Striking a balance between the digital and physical was essential – as was a high degree of selectivity. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon and adding the latest app to your collection, determining what your needs are and then doing research based on them was seen as central to making technology work for you.
When we asked our interviewees to share their favorite apps, we were surprised to see that many of them stuck to familiar names.
So, here’s a list approved by the experts themselves:
      and of course Doodle 

What exciting story are you working on next?
At the moment I am a frequent speaker at productivity events or on topics of digital transformation and disruption. I share my findings on my personal blog – I am fluent in English, German and French.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always wrote a lot, published a children’s book in Australia and besides managing my productivity blog also write a wine-blog called with news on wines, wineries and winemakers from Australia and beyond. What turned out to be a hobby has become a great way of communicating with both the wine industry and the many million wine-drinkers and enthusiasts from around the world.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
No, I am the CEO of Doodle, the global scheduling application, and have offices in Berlin and Zurich. I manage a team of 20 staff and focus on global growth of this productivity tool. I write my blogs and works on another topic in my free-time.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write as I speak, mostly based on my experience from writing blogs for quite a few years now.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
That is dependent on the age: from football/star to university professor or coach, my plans changed almost every year.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
My question would be whether they would like to contribute their tools for staying more productive to be published on my blog. Digital tools? Which ones do you use? Morning habit or evening routine – tell me about it.

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

Thank you also, it is a real pleasure.


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