A Peek Behind the Scenes of Productivity Coaching

A cat peeking from behind a curtainI love it when people say nice things about me. Does that make me needy? I don’t care.

I shamelessly request testimonials from past clients. I have amassed a collection that I have organized into a spreadsheet. I go there when I’m feeling low.

In this post, I am going to break down one of my favorite testimonials and give you a peek behind the curtain to see what I did with this client to earn her praise.

Below are some words from Melanie Orsini, Partner at Game on Financial. If you are a gamer, streamer, podcaster, creator, and/or maker, Melanie is your accountant.

What happens in productivity coaching?

Melanie: Melissa Gratias is the office-mate we all need. She is part organizer and part therapist, that provides an insight to making our lives more efficient and effective.

My reply: Thanks! I am not a therapist. I don’t care if you have a difficult relationship with your mother. But I validate how contagious it is to get organized at work. It often leads to more effective practices in one’s personal life.

Tip: Don’t compartmentalize work and life. You do not hang up your humanity when you enter your workspace.

Melanie: And I know many of you out there are thinking, but I have this software/app that will get me in organization shape. Don’t get me wrong- a phone app, or software is great- until you aren’t utilizing it properly, thus making Candy Crush as Useful as To-Do Master v3.6.

My reply: LOL…To-Do Master v3.6! Yes, a car is only as good as its driver. One thing I have clients do with their task management software is to repurpose the “Due Date” field. Not all tasks have an externally imposed due date, and when they do, you can enter that in the subject line of the task.

Tip: Use the DUE Date field as a DO Date instead. Enter the date on which you wish to make progress on a task.

Melanie: Melissa had me change the way I was thinking about tasks, and streamlined the roughly 400 processes/softwares I had to keep up with deadlines, projects, etc.

My reply: Yeah, more is definitely not better. When you have more than one task management tool, you have planted a stop sign in the middle of your information superhighway.

Tip: All your tasks/to-dos should flow into one place, and one place only.

Melanie: However, she also did a review of my big picture at work to make better use of my staff. We worked on the proper means of collaboration and delegation. My staff is more empowered, and I don’t have as much work on my desk.

My reply: I often hear clients say something to the effect of, “It would take longer to teach them to do it than just to do it myself.” My response is typically, “Short-term pain, long-term gain, my friend.” When you do not delegate you make everyone stagnate in their careers.

Tip: Add five things to your task list that you need to delegate, document, and/or train someone else on your team to do.

MelanieAll this to say- I do still get behind, and I still say yes more than I should (working on it- Progress not Perfection), however; I feel in control.

My reply: Are we playing poker, Melanie? I see your perfectionism and control-freakiness and raise you one wall oven and one surprise visit from Will Smith.

Tip: How do you say “no” without feeling like a jerk? Blame your calendar! Read how.

Melanie: I wanted three things done by Friday, and I only got two done- but the knowledge of knowing where I stand, is incredibly freeing. It gives me the ability to walk away on Friday, relax on Saturday, and feel ready on Monday.

My reply: Your to-do list will never be empty. You will hardly ever get everything done in a day that you intend to.

Tip: At the end of each workday, look at your task list. Delete what you completed. Change today’s DO dates to the next time you wish to make progress on the task. Go home and be home.

Melanie: I spent way too much time prior to working with her- not even knowing what was behind, much less a plan to fix it.

My reply: Here are some excerpts from the bio that folks read when introducing me at conferences:  Dr. Melissa Gratias is a productivity specialist who was not born organized. She became organized through years of self-education and trial-and-error early in her career. Melissa decided that other businesspeople shouldn’t have to struggle with productivity like she did, so in 2007 she opened her consulting firm.

Tip: Save yourself years of turmoil. Hire a productivity coach.

Melanie: I cannot recommend her enough.

My reply: Thanks. Really, truly, thanks.

Tip: Hire THIS productivity coach.

Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at getproductive@melissagratias.com or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.


  1. Julie Bestry

    This is a podcast transcript without you ever recording it. It’s a testimonial but it’s also a coaching session for all of us. And there’s some serious wisdom in these tips; in particular, it’s sewn into the seams of, “Go home and be home.” I’ll be thinking deeply about how and when to share that. This is the good stuff!

  2. Joyce Teal

    Melissa, Getting positive feedback is not being needy! It is a reflection of the good actions that you have done and are doing. People will always do more of what brings them attention whether it is good or bad. Those words stick in your head and will influence what your actions are and what you say. Yes, you “need” to hear the positive so you can continue on that path!


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