If you’re looking for my formal bio, you can scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page. But if you want the real story… the real me… here it is…
It all started in 2004… one year after starting my business. I realized I was still dragging around my big ol’ Franklin Covey planner from the last corporate job and I also had my 1998, brick-size cell phone that had to go. I wasn’t operating efficiently or productively with either one.
I wanted to streamline my systems and be planner-free.
I wanted simplicity.
So I bought my first “PDA” (Personal Digital Assistant) from Verizon in late 2004. Then I ditched the planner and decided to maximize the use of my old familiar friend, Microsoft Outlook®, a system I’d been using since the early ’90s after I graduated from college.
Sure, I’d been using Outlook for email and the calendar, but what about the Task list?! It was a total stranger to me, but I started to use it in a new way and THAT was the year my system was born. As I developed the system and it actually took shape, I realized I had a repeatable system—one that I taught over and over again to new clients—and I’ve been teaching it now for more than 12 years.
But wait… there’s more.
There are three other pieces to my past that brought me where I am today as founder and CEO of Productive Day and the creator of Taskology® The Science of Getting Things Done. How did I get here? Well, that’s the rest of the story…
From a very early age, I’ve been described as efficient, prompt and productive. Report cards from teachers continuously showed words and phrases such as “good progress,” “excellent progress,” “prompt” and “efficient.” Phrases such as these showed up repeatedly in grade school…
“Leslie uses her time wisely”
“Leslie continues to work efficiently”
“Leslie makes efficient use of her time in school”
“Leslie is using her time wisely to complete her tasks”
“Leslie is quite responsible in the performance of all tasks”
And in high school, our senior yearbook had a special page for the graduating class called “That’ll be the day when…” and every graduate was listed with a special entry representing what they were best known for.
Here’s what their entry said about me:
Hmmm… I think my classmates knew… I wasn’t a procrastinator.
At home, I was raised by two extremely productive parents. They empowered me to do anything and everything I put my mind to. They taught me how to be capable, confident, industrious, purposeful and productive.
What my parents modeled and what they taught me made a huge impact on my life, as did the environment in which I grew up. I was raised on a sizable piece of property in northern Baltimore County until I was 17. I mention this not to impress you, but rather to impress upon you that there was no shortage of things to do!
I LOVED working alongside my parents, getting things done and learning everything they had to teach. However, I know there were moments I would have probably preferred to play instead of help with lawn work, fixing fences, tending horses, shoveling gravel, digging in the vegetable garden or chopping wood. But don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of chances to play and have fun and I’m sure my chores and “helping out” were really part of my “room and board.” 😉
So, I loved where I grew up. I loved the skills and work ethic my parents taught me and I loved feeling empowered to do things. But what I appreciate the most are THREE things my parents modeled REALLY well, and I’ve carried these lessons with me throughout my entire life…
1. Planning and Execution – My parents had NO challenges with planning and execution. Whether it was planning a weekend project, our next vacation, home improvements, or their next party, they made their plan, planned their time carefully, and executed efficiently, realistically and on time.
2. Finish What You Start – My parents always finished what they started. They regularly modeled what success looked like on the other side of effort, and the feeling of success I felt in finishing what I started encouraged me to keep finishing anything I started.
3. Celebrate a Job Well Done – My parents always stood back and admired a job well done, whether I helped or not. They modeled how to take time to appreciate their efforts or mine with enthusiasm, which helped me stay inspired, motivated and looking forward to the next project.
These 3 things are absent far too often in the work days of professionals everywhere. And recognizing this helped me realize…
Bringing efficiency, productivity, progress, accomplishment and satisfaction
to leaders and professionals who want to achieve their goals faster and easier,
and with a lot less stress, effort and wasted time.
As I was learning a great work ethic during my childhood, I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work in corporate offices, just like my Dad. He had worked at Black & Decker for more than 30 years and I wanted to be just like him.
As a small girl, I remember he also started his own business on the side (Shreve & Co.) and he let me help him in his office from time to time, entering receipts in the ledger and keeping his business checkbook balanced. These were perfect little tasks for me and I always enjoyed helping him make progress, no matter how little I could do.
Then after high school, I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Business at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA and came home to Baltimore to get my first job two weeks after graduating. I was driven, excited and ready to dive into the corporate world.
I landed in operations—specifically materiel management, purchasing and contracting—for 13 years, mostly in working in health systems, such as LifeBridge Health in Baltimore and the Bon Secours Health System corporate offices in Marriottsville, MD. I loved my career. I was great at it. And then something changed.
Gradually, I became aware of not really feeling like I was making a difference… of not being as excited with my day-to-day job as I used to be. I was getting restless… maybe even bored. And being good at my job wasn’t good enough anymore. Being great wasn’t even enough. I even loved the people I worked with. But it was bigger than that. I wasn’t feeling… fulfilled. I wanted to do something completely different. And I really wanted to help people in a new way.
So I quit my corporate job.
I left a well-paying, secure corporate job with great health benefits and a fabulous retirement plan. I wasn’t married so there was no second income, but I didn’t mind the risk. I wanted to start my own business and I knew I could do it. So I left it all behind in 2003 and I’ve never looked back—not even ONCE—because I knew I made the right decision.
As I began working with clients, I quickly realized that even if professionals could find or file a paper in 5 seconds or less and stay clutter-free for the most part, it wasn’t enough.
If professionals couldn’t prioritize tasks and projects or couldn’t get enough time to do the things they needed to do or couldn’t manage the endless amounts of email, then their focus, productivity, and progress would continue to suffer.
I also discovered that professionals were frustrated—and often overwhelmed—about their out-of-control workday and they didn’t know whether to blame it on disorganization or lack of good time management skills, which are the two most popular suspects.
But I knew it was much more than being “disorganized” or having “poor time management skills.” These are just symptoms of a much bigger challenge. They are the tip of the iceberg. The real productivity challenges are not as visible or readily apparent. They’re hidden from view just as the rest of the iceberg is hidden under water.
What I learned was that my clients weren’t operating as efficiently, effectively or as productively as they could be.
- Over-committed and overwhelmed
- Falling behind in managing their tasks, time, e-mail and more
- Feeling out of control and chaotic
- Losing important tasks and information
- Missing deadlines and opportunities
- Feeling held back, stressed out, and fed up
- Worried about forgetting tasks and commitments
- Tired of watching things slip through the cracks
- Buried in email and not sure what to do with all of it.
- Not sure how to maximize Outlook or their current email system
- And more.
After a repeatable process revealed itself over the years, I created and trademarked a system for achieving ultimate productivity – a system that’s been road-tested and is proven to work: Taskology® The Science of Getting Things Done. And my Mission became apparent…
Help leaders and professionals who wish to work
more efficiently, effective and productively
—with more clarity, confidence and control—
and enjoy more time, freedom, focus, progress, achievement and success.
And before you think,
“She doesn’t understand what I’m going through…”
“This all comes so naturally to her…”
“She doesn’t feel my pain or struggle…”
Not so fast.
In all my years in corporate America, I did many of the things I advise against today and suffered because of it. I decreased my efficiency and productivity without knowing it.
I used pads of paper for my to-do lists. I used all sorts of planners. I used the papers and files on my desk as the reminders of things to do. And while I kept my email low, I’m sure I left emails in my Inbox to remind me of things to do.
And I was never able to fully consolidate ALL of my tasks into one, single, comprehensive digital task management system, like the one I teach today in Taskology. Meanwhile, I was wasting time reviewing papers and files and lists again and again (and again), I was probably not prioritizing as well as I could have been, and I was working with the risk of missing, losing or forgetting things without using a more solid plan of action.
So while I was quite efficient and fairly productive back in my corporate days, I still wasn’t using the techniques and strategies I teach today. I wasn’t managing my tasks and priorities as strategically as I could, I was wasting time I didn’t know I could save, and I didn’t know I could manage my email any better. I simply wasn’t operating as efficiently or productively as I could have been.
But these are all the things I didn’t know.
And I wish I had then the system I teach NOW.
So, now that I’ve shared all of this with you, my point is to say… I get it. I was just as over-stretched and stressed out as most professionals are today. I was sometimes frazzled trying to juggle it all and from time to time I definitely felt overwhelmed. I just didn’t know that my systems and processes could have been better and I didn’t know that I could have been even more productive than ever before.
These days, after I present to a group, sometimes an audience members will approach me and say, “I thought I was on top of my game, but now I KNOW I can improve! I can use what you taught today to be more productive and then I can [fill in the blank] as a result.”
My message to you is this…
Even if you’re doing your BEST and you think you’ve got it knocked,
stay open to change, growth and improvement.
You might not know exactly how much
MORE efficient and productive you can be.
In summary, I offer a combination of four attributes that make up the value of what I offer today: corporate experience in operations and management, experience owning a business since 2003, experience using Microsoft Outlook® (and many other similar systems), and a natural talent for being efficient, effective and productive.
This “combo-platter” allows me to identify with, support and advise business owners, leaders, executives, and motivated professionals in any industry, no matter what their expertise, experience, education, background, work environment, or unique challenges.
The obstacles that prevent you from reaching peak levels of efficiency and productivity might be new for you or they may be life-long challenges. Either way, I congratulate you on seeking a solution. I hope you take a tour of the Productive Day website and discover the possibilities for improvement Taskology has to offer.
When you put Taskology into action, you can work more efficiently—wasting less time, effort and energy—make meaningful progress, and achieve every one of your goals faster and easier… and with a LOT less stress.
To your productivity and success,
Leslie Shreve is the Founder and CEO of Productive Day® and the creator of Taskology® The Science of Getting Things Done, a unique system that teaches simple, logical and easy-to-use strategies for mastering workload management and increasing productivity, progress and achievement for individuals and teams.
Since 2003, Leslie has taught hundreds of business leaders and motivated professionals from more than forty different industries how to improve their efficiency and productivity by 300% while reducing stress by up to 80%.
Clients previously frustrated or overwhelmed with too much to do, too many emails and not enough time now claim to have a secret – a new system they can use to take charge of their workday and get more of their priorities accomplished in less time with less stress. Those who learn Taskology are able to gain more clarity, confidence and control in their workday and, as a result, enjoy more time, freedom and focus to make more progress and achieve more goals.
For more than 13 years, Leslie worked in corporate office environments before establishing Productive Day in 2003. She’s been interviewed on TV and radio, and has written tips and articles for Smart CEO magazine and the Baltimore Business Journal. Leslie has also published her first book in 2016, a business fiction called “Taskology: How to Unleash the Power of Your Most Productive Workday.”
Leslie lives in the northern suburbs of Baltimore, MD and enjoys cooking, reading, playing the piano, home decorating and being outdoors. And having been born and raised in Maryland, Leslie especially enjoys the state’s finest… steamed crabs and the Chesapeake Bay.
To learn more about how you can master your workday, make more powerful progress, and achieve more of your goals in less time with less stress, email email@example.com to set up a call.