Episode 15 – Yotam Cohen
Yotam is the co-founder and COO of Wibbitz – a video production web tool that powers thousands of videos every day for partners like Reuters, Bloomberg, Forbes and Time Inc., helping them increase their audience engagement and revenue through video. (Think of it like a Canva for video.) Wibbitz has raised more than $30MM USD in investment and now has offices in New York, Tel-Aviv, and Paris. To accomplish all this, Yotam has created his own productivity strategy called Another Hour a Day. Let’s hear more from him in this episode of Productivity Masterminds.
- Have all your tasks in one place. Many people have their tasks in different places. They are losing a lot of time by just going through all those lists. Avoid this by having your personal and work tasks on the same list. (Trello-board template from Yotam Cohen)
- Prioritize. Prioritize your tasks according to what time it takes you to achieve them and what impact this task is going to achieve.
- Have an inbox-zero. The idea is to clear the email, slack and every other message app and focus on the things you actually want to achieve for the day and not let people or other stuff take your time.
- Learn how to get to a zero-email-inbox. Start your day by clearing all messages and if it takes less than five minutes, just get it done. If it takes longer, put it on your list as a task to get it done later. Batch all these messages into different sections: morning, lunchtime, evening, night and make sure you get that awesome feeling of there is nothing that hasn’t been tackled today.
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Juan: [00:00] Yotam Cohen is the Co-founder and COO of Wibbitz video production web tool that powers thousands of videos everyday for partners like Bloomberg, Forbes, and Time Inc, helping them increase their audience engagement and revenue through video. Think of it like a canva for video. Wibbitz has raised more than $30 million dollars in investment and now has offices in New York, Tel Aviv, and Paris. To accomplish all of this, Yotam has created his own productivity strategy called another-hour-a-day. Let’s hear more from him in this episode of productivity masterminds.
Juan: Yotam, thank you for coming on the show.
Yotam Cohen: [01:28] Thanks for having me.
Juan: [01:31] Yotam, so you are a Rockstar entrepreneur, a founder, a productivity expert, and you have come up with a different paradigm to help us maximize our time. Can you walk us a little bit through how you think about time and what that paradigm is?
Yotam Cohen: [01:42] Definitely so the way of kind of like I called it: it’s another hour a day. And the reason is that after working with several people and helping them to actually maximize their day they told me that it actually created another hour, hour in a day for them. And the idea behind that is really not about the tool. I think that a lot of people around the world are thinking that if they will have this crazy app or this tool that they can manage their task with, it will solve their problems. And what I saw is that that’s really far from the truth. Um, a lot of people are managing their tasks on different places like the calendar and maybe the write on a notepad and also kind of like a to-do app or other stuff they are using.
The main problem is that they are managing their tasks in different places.
So I came up with a new system that helps people to actually create a very, very clear system to manage your tasks. The first thing in this system is to have all your tasks in one place. This is the most important thing. Your personal and your work tasks, and I know it sounds a bit weird, but to have all of them in the same place in the end when you think about yourself, you need to think about yourself as a resource. One resource that needs to do several types of tasks. And if you don’t have all those tasks in one place, you will find yourself in the end trying to jump from one list to another from, I don’t know, ordering a plumber to actually closing a research that you need to do in your work.
The idea is to have everything in one place.
After you have everything there, and just as personal note, I use Trello to do that, but you can use any tool you want. After having everything there, you need to prioritize it of course, according to what you want to achieve by today, tomorrow, the next two weeks or something which I call the backlog task.
[03:43] So afterwards if you want, you can go to my blog post and actually see the trello-board that I use. It’s a template that will help you to get started, but in the end it’s really divided into what are the tasks I want to achieve today, what are the tasks I want to achieve tomorrow? And then looking, let’s say a week or two weeks ahead and all the rest will be in the backlog.
I will prioritize according to one, how much time it will take me to achieve this task. And the second thing is how much impact this task is actually gonna achieve.
The second thing that is super important, I know a lot of blog posts and other I was talking about and I really believe in it, is having an email zero and I know if it’s something that is a big thing, I know it sounds like impossible to achieve, but I can guarantee you that I have at least 200 emails every day and I get to zero three times a day and the way I do it is by actually having a really an organized system throughout the day.
[04:44] So first thing I do in the morning is clearing my inbox and when I’m saying inbox it means also slack. Other messaging things you’re using in your world, clear everything and all the emails that are long, you know, that I need actually to think about or respond or is it use it as a test. I actually add them as a task to my trello board and all the ones that are not important. Of course I delete. And and all the, you know, all the things I can postpone. Sometimes you can use boomerang or other staff to respond only if it’s actually related to a specific date. Then you can also do that, but don’t really use misuse this feature and so the second thing, as I said is, is having an email zero and to have a very systematic way of how you go about your emails throughout the day.
[05:38] So I do it in the morning, I do it after lunch and I do think in the evening when I leave work and again in the night. So if you do it four times a day, you, every time you’re going to go over, I don’t know, tens of emails but not hundreds and you will be able to have your email in zero all for the day. Another really cool thing about it, it does a really nice psychological effect on you, right? I think feeling and know a lot of people in the world don’t feel that feeling, but it’s amazing to actually have it and the way to do it is having really a set of routines that you go throughout the day and clear your emails. Again, you can see it in my blog post afterwards. They are already organized how you’re going to run it.
The idea, in the end, is really to clear the email and clear slack and, and move and focus on the things you actually want to achieve for the day and not let people or other stuff take your time.
Juan: [06:33] So and Yotam, you must have gotten really good at saying, no, this is a little bit of a curve ball question, but not all emails you can just say yes and let’s follow up. Yes and let’s schedule a meeting. How are you actually dealing with turning down opportunities and knowing what not to do?
Yotam Cohen: [06:47] Yeah, I think it’s really all about focus. Like you mentioned. I think it’s really around prioritization in the end, you know, you have 24 hours a day. I didn’t see someone who can actually change that, so if you have 24 hours, this is what you can achieve, so you want to achieve the things that will actually make impact and the way to do it it’s just to prioritize and understand what are the things you need to focus on and what’s not and in the end it’s all about that. You you won’t be able to achieve all the things on your trello board and it’s okay. It’s a matter of actually getting the right things done first and the way to do it is really to have a very systematic way on how you go about your tasks and not just to come in the morning, okay, what do I have to do?
[07:31] Okay, open the emails. Okay, let’s go with them and then you jump back to your notes and go back to emails. If I came back from a meeting and I have 15 minutes, they are very productive. I know exactly what I need to offer because I just go to the next card that I have on my list because I already prepared it in the morning.
I know exactly what I need to work on so I don’t have this 15 minutes between meetings that I’m not productive in.
I’m actually getting things done in 10 minutes because I know exactly what I need to work on.
Juan: [07:59] So do you start your day? Okay, so let me. Let me get this right. You Start Your Day by actually going through your emails and your messages first or do you start your day by scheduling out your priorities? Which one comes first?
Yotam Cohen: [08:10] First is clearing all the places that can actually generate tasks for you. So first I go over all my emails, slack channels, Eh, whatsapp messages if you have or other stuff that you actually get things from. And then I put everything that are tasks that came out from those emails in the Trello Board. It could be going over the email that Uwe sent me and and answering about it. It sounds weird, but then I prioritize this email compared to other tasks that need to do and sometimes it I will answer two days, maybe I will just answer him, I will look at it and then in two days I will actually answer it because that’s the right time that they actually need to work on this email and not because email just push up all this things that I know that according to time and not according to priority. Right?
Juan: [09:00] Right. Do you have a structure for how you actually think about, you mentioned impact versus time. Are you thinking about them? Like on a scale of one to 10, how much time is this going to take it on a scale of one to 10, how impactful this is. Do you have anything like that?
Yotam Cohen: [09:13] I started to do that. I must say it was a bit kind of like weird. So what I do try to do is really to break the tasks as much as possible. So for example, if I need to decide on a specific vendor for my company for Wibbitz, then you know, I’ll do one task of research, one task of setting goals, one of setting a table too to compare and one task, maybe to make a decision, right?
So I will try to break those big tasks into smaller tasks or be able to achieve them in a shorter amount of time.
And I think it also really helps you to, like I said, to get things done and not just to put light on a two days a task, right? Then you know, you, you always won’t be able to go to it because it sounds too big.
[09:58] But in the end it’s more about an impact that you think. And again, in impact could be something personal as well, right? If you have something urgent at home, you need to, you need to solve it, right? And other tasks might need to go back. Right? So you need, you need to see everything in one pic in one place. And I think if I look back at, you know, all the people that I manage today and look and I worked with them on this, I saw that the biggest thing that most people do are managing those tasks in different places. One of the things a lot of people are doing are either mark and read or style or stuff like that. When you do that, it’s actually a list if you think about it, right? So you have a list in the email, you have a list in other places, and then you find yourself jumped from one to another throughout the day and trying to think what’s next. And if you set it from the get go in one place, you will know what you need to work on.
Juan: [10:50] Okay, that’s amazing. And we’ll actually have your terms trello-board template in the show notes of this episode so that you can actually download it and see what he’s talking about. Okay? So let me make sure I have this right. You Start Your Day by clearing out all your inboxes were, tasks could even be created and then you start prioritizing the tasks that come in, whether it’s through slack, whatsapp, email, wherever that is, you start prioritizing them and then you go through your day, but now as you’re saying, it basically sounds like from then on it’s just autopilot because you go, you do your things in batches and you never have to actually put any creative energy about what to do next. You were kind of at that point by your to do list and since everything about your personal and professional life or in the same dashboard, then you can really just lean back and trust the process.
Yotam Cohen: [11:35] Exactly. And, and you know, we all know that life is unexpected, sometimes so.
If something urgent happens and it’s okay, you just put it in the top and take something out for tomorrow.
Right? So that’s, that’s exactly what you said. You have autopilot, you know exactly what you need to work on. Something happens, you just switch it, then it’s okay. Finish the day again. Just a reminder, I do go over the emails also after lunch, also on the evening before I leave the office and do the same process every time and change priority sometimes when I need to.
Juan: [12:11] Okay, perfect. So let’s get into the show notes now so that we can recap all of this and learn Yotam’s habits for success in productivity and time management. So Yotam has this paradigm called “another-hour-a-day” and he found after helping lots of people maximize their day, that people, it was taking them a whole other hour just to be productive and to start managing their time. So the problem that he finds is that people are thinking that they need just one more tool to help manage their time. That’s really not the best way to do it. You don’t need another tool. What you actually need is a system and infrastructure that helps keep all your tasks in the same place. This is your personal and your work tasks. So you need to start thinking of yourself as a resource and you need all your tasks in the same place to make the best use of your resource, which is you and your time. Yotam actually uses Trello to do this. He starts by having his board ordered by day, so today than tomorrow than two weeks, and then he even has a column for backlog tasks. He starts gauging all of this by time and impact to make sure that he’s doing the things that are impactful and that don’t take a lot of time if they don’t take a lot of time, they get done faster and sooner. He also has this policy. It’s the email zero policy, which is basically having the zero email inbox and how he does it is he starts his day by clearing all messages from slack, email, whatsapp, and if it takes less than five minutes, he just gets it done. If it takes longer than he puts it on Trello as a task to get it done later, then the last thing he does is he patches it all of these messages into four different sections. That’s in the morning, lunchtime, evening, and then at night to make sure that he gets that awesome feeling of there is nothing that hasn’t been tackled today. Everything has either been organized or handled. Yotam starts his day by clearing his inboxes and then prioritize his tasks to fit into each other. Everything is on the same place, which is Trello and we will be sharing the Trello board in the show notes of this episode so you can use Yotam’s habits of success and productivity in your own life.
Yotam, as you continue to grow and growing your company, which is super exciting. Where’s the best place for people to stay in touch with you and learn more about you?
Yotam Cohen: [14:12] You can reach me on Linkedin it’s Yotam Cohen, Wibbitz and you can find it there and you can also see my blog there. You can also follow me on twitter, Yotam C um, and yeah, that’s it. My company or my side wibbitz.com
Juan: [14:35] And that will also be in the show notes. It’s an awesome tech startup that will help you create tons of content moving forward your time. Thank you so much for coming on the show.
Yotam Cohen: Thanks for inviting me.