For four years, I've had a weekly phone call with my friend TJ Cosgrove. We record it, he edits it and then posts it on the internet. A group of masochists download it every week. Some of them may even listen to it. It's called 1857 and you can find it at its website or wherever you get your podcasts. (That's all the its.)

Through 1857, I met Justin. Given that he lives in British Columbia, online was probably the only way I was going to bump into him. Now, we have a podcast together, called Stationery Adjacent.

Justin and I are both 18 (with 30+ years experience) and have a penchant for productivity. All that experience means we've bumped into lots of productivity tips - some real, and some that are, well, theoretical, at best. Our aim is for each show to give the listener at least one improvement, they can take into the real world. You know, the world that has bosses, customers and similar inconveniences.

The more we talk, the more common ground we discover. An unhealthy attachment to Apple technology for a start. Since starting recording, he's bought a HDR monitor - and the $1,000 stand to hold it up. He paid more for the monitor stand than I did for my MacBook Air! But actually, what do I need a MacBook Air for?

Anyway, moving swiftly on.

Justin and I don't claim to have all the answers, nor do we have "THE" productivity hack. There is no "THE" productivity hack.

Very few employers talk about how to work. In the old days, firms would get an experienced hand to train you, but since Covid, the approach seems to be to drown you in Zoom or Teams meetings online and see if you surface again.

Why don't companies run courses on "Managing calendars", "Task Management", "Notifications", or "Effective E-mail"? That's what employees need - not 4 hours on how to claim expenses. Justin and I talk about these essential skills.

Hardly a new phenomenen, but a word that I hear more and more is "overwhelm". Grizzled old warriors that we are, Justin and I can't get overwhelmed, can we? Yes. We can, and do. Anxiety? Yep. We get that too. Don't tell anyone, but everybody feels anxious sometimes. We all get scared and overwhelmed, from time to time. The trick is having a toolbox to deal with the onslaught of these negative feelings.

There's plenty of digital talk, but an equal measure of analogue tools. I mean - "Fountain Pen of the Week"?

Anyway - maybe you'll like it. Wherever you get your podcasts, or here.