2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight: Mindful Productivity in a World of Interruption

Written by Megan Collyer | Monday, Feb 10, 2014

At SXSW 2014, attend Mike Vardy's session on mindful productivity

Mike Vardy wants people to be more mindful when it comes to their work. He’s written about it for publications like 99u, The Huffington Post, Lifehacker, as well as many others. He’ll present “Mindful Productivity in a World of Interruption,” the topic of this installment of the Session Spotlight, at this year’s SXSW Interactive Festival. To connect with him on Twitter, follow him @mikevardy where he tweets thoughts related to personal productivity.

SXSW: Your session addresses “mindful productivity.” Can you explain more about that?
Vardy: In this panel, the idea of mindful productivity in a world full of interruption is explored through the discussion of tactics, tips, and tools. Technology plays a role in this process, and how it can help (and harm) usher in the era of mindful productivity.

SXSW: Have you spoken about this topic before?
Vardy: All of us have spoken about aspects of this topic before either through our own websites and platforms or in other panel discussions. I've spoken about it in a session at IdeaWave in Victoria, as well as used examples of mindful productivity practices during my creativeLIVE workshop and recent TEDx talk.

SXSW: Who else will be joining you for this panel? What are their qualifications?
Vardy: Craig Jarrow is known as the Time Management Ninja and has been writing about time management for several years. He dives in deeper than the traditional "make a list" and "use your calendar" tropes and looks at much as the tactical approaches to time management as he does the technical approaches. Marc and Angel Chernoff have brought their blog Marc and Angel Hack Life to incredible heights - and it's still growing. They often write about happiness, fulfillment, and achievement, looking at practical and holistic ideas to make the best happen in work and in life as a whole. Their more "human" and less mechanical look at this topic is a huge asset to this panel.

SXSW: What type of people will want to attend this session regarding mindful productivity?
Vardy: Anyone who is looking to wade through the noise of daily life and get the right stuff done, above all else, will want to attend this session. Whether you're working a nine to five job with kids and a busy life after you clock out of work, a person who is trying to move away from their day job and into something more aligned with your passions and can't quite figure out how to do so, or an entrepreneur who is trying to slow the right things down by removing all of the clutter from their lives, this session will have something to offer you.

SXSW: If a registrant has no familiarity with the topic, will they still be able to follow the discussion?
Vardy: One of the things that all of the panelists do in their work, written and spoken, is to make the topic of personal and professional productivity accessible. That means anyone who is unfamiliar with the topic will not only be able to follow the discussion, but be able to have some great takeaways that they can use to move forward down the the right path for them.

SXSW: What excites you most about this session?
Vardy: The thing that excites me the most about this session is how we'll be able to create a more cohesive connection between the technological and human components that impact productivity in today's world. Technology still can only take us so far, but with the right mindset going into using the technology we can really make that technology work for us in so many ways -- better ways, in fact -- as opposed to running into occasions where technology hurts our productivity without intent.

SXSW: Do you have a blog?
Vardy: My blog is productivityist.com. I write about productivity practices, mindful approaches to workflow, and related things. Styles of my posts vary from reviews, to "why to" posts, and how-to posts.

SXSW: What’s something about you that we wouldn’t know from your official bio?
Vardy: I'm a sports fan. I have an unhealthy love for the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s unhealthy in that they never seem to do very well and yet I still support them - and am a big hockey fan.

Watch this website for more installments of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight. Click here for the complete list of programming for March in Austin. For tips on interesting sessions to attend, visit the new Recommendation page. Register now to attend “Mindful Productivity in a World of Interruption” and other incredible programming at SXSW Interactive 2014.