Time Management: 5 Ways How I Stay Productive at Work

Time Management. An ironic topic to get back into my posting cadence after skipping a week. (Thanks for staying tuned to my blog!)

Over most of April, I had the opportunity to take on a different type of work (Project Management) which resulted in a lot of my schedule being spiralled off course. Last time this happened was in January, when I was doing my MiniMasters Classes while juggling with a big project at work. This post would not be a recount of that experience, which will be for another day when I fully see through the project. Here are some of my tried and tested secrets to staying productive at work:

1. Effective Calendar Management (Compartmentalising)

Firstly, let us begin with a tool which is commonly available to most of us while at work. It is called a work calendar. I tend to schedule most of my required meetings for the week, as well as any potential work preparation I would need for the meeting into the calendar. By doing so, I am able to set fixed timings in each week completing what I have set out to do. Blocking time on the calendar signals to the audience that there is limited time in the day, ensuring that my meetings stay succinct, and I would have time to complete my other to-dos.

When collaborating with multiple colleagues on a project, I would sometimes also block additional calendar time for myself especially when I know that there might be multiple rounds of discussion which may not have been set out in the diary. This way, I would not be thrown off guard and be left firefighting, which disrupts the productivity of other tasks in the day.

2. Setting Up a Dashboard of Items (Kanban)

Secondly, setting a dashboard of items, also known as Kanban, is a place where you can stay up to date with your deliverables, or even your team’s deliverables (I didn’t have a chance to do this at work yet).

Personally, I use Trello (Not Sponsored), where a Kanban Template lets me place everything in boards, cards and checkboxes, creating a directory cum to-do list of sort. I do this board not only for work, but also for my own weekend planning too. As a bonus, this well separates work and life, as each aspect is clearly documented for when it is time for which.

3. Prioritising (Eisenhower Matrix)

You may have heard the saying that goes, “There is no end to work, once you have no work left there is no need for you anymore.” When faced with mountains of work, the Eisenhower Matrix is one way to look at prioritising. Is the task urgent? Is the task important? If both checks out, do it immediately! If it’s urgent but not important, if it’s not too much of a hassle, just help, otherwise delegate to someone else who believes that it is important. If it’s important but not urgent, put it on calendar (back to tip 1) and ensure that you set time for it. If it is neither important or urgent, you can always delegate or just leave it there, perhaps automating the process for the long run using various techniques, for instance ETL or RPA.

In one of my recent reflections, I found prioritising especially important when I was juggling between work and study. While I’m finished with the extra studies for now, I learned that I need to stay mission oriented and prioritise according to what would be important for me.

4. Start of Day and End of Day Routine Planning and Reflection and stick to it.

While not having diligently stuck to it sometimes, I tend to make it a point for the first and last 30 minutes of the day to be planning out the day and what I intend to complete, as well as reflecting on the day, what went wrong, how I can do something more effectively.

As the saying goes, “when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Each day should start with identifying the goals which needs to be achieved for the day, as well as how much time there is. This way, time can be effectively allocated (through calendar) to different levels of priority. That said, things may go wrong sometimes, for instance ad-hoc tasks assigned by your managers.

Sticking to the plans as much as possible will ensure that we stay mission oriented and focused.

5. Getting Ample Rest

This might sound counter intuitive, as spending more time doing more work means being more productive right?

Productivity is the measure of output over a given time. Just because you are spending more time doing work does not mean that you are productive.

Most humans require at least 8 hours of sleep a day, not trying to be a science teacher here but it is something about the brain needing to reorganise thoughts and reinforce learnings. Surprise, I usually try to sleep for at least 8 hours before my exams at university, and I do quite decently I must say! Anecdotally, this is a tried and proven method for me to be productive.

Hope you liked our story today. Do bookmark this site, leave a comment in the section below, and follow us on our LinkedIn page as we look forward to curating new content for you every week.

If you liked this post, here are some work rules that I like to stick to.

Photo Credits: Original Image by Tan Wei Xiang


Analytics: Analysing Fortune Global 500 Companies with Tableau

Today, we will explore the top 500 companies in the world with Tableau! (Inspired by touching Tableau at work non-stop and assisting with lots of queries for the past two weeks! Yes, I keep getting inspired from work.)

Recently, I had the chance to use Analytics Software, Tableau at work, which reminded me that I have a student license which has recently been renewed during my digital marketing class. While I could, it’s time to demonstrate the capability of Tableau to be showcased on my blog. One of the reasons why I would use Tableau is the ease of use. Of course since that comes with a hefty price tag, we could always use PowerBI (too bad I’m a Mac User here though so no PowerBI for me!)

Where are Fortune Global 500 Companies Located?

The countries where each Fortune Global 500 Company is Located
The countries where each Fortune Global 500 Company is Located

Fortune Global 500 Companies are Located in a total of 35 countries. The countries are:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA.

Which Countries Have the Most Fortune Global 500 Companies?

China and USA are tied at having the most Fortune Global 500 Companies

Well a surprising answer to the question! We managed to get a tie between the USA and China, with 121 Companies in the Fortune Global 500 in 2020 each!

Which Country has the Most Total Revenue Earned by Fortune Global 500 Companies (In USD Millions)?

USA Companies Earned the Most Revenue in 2020.

Despite having the same number of Global 500 Companies in USA and China, the companies in the USA has generated above 20% more revenue than in China in 2020. The third largest revenue is generated by Japan, followed by Germany, France, UK, etc.

Which Fortune Global 500 Companies Hire the Most Employees?

Walmart Hired the Most employees, followed by China Natural Petroleum and China Post.

In 2020, the company which hired the most employees is Walmart, at 2.2 Million, that is about 1/3 of Singapore’s (My Home Country) Population!

Dashboarding and Filtering

A look into Japan on the Fortune Global 500

Since we have talked enough about China and USA, I decided to take a look further into a third country on the list, Japan. I clicked on Japan on the world map to filter the revenue earned, as well as seeing the largest Japanese companies in terms of Employment. The largest Fortune Global 500 employer in Japan is Toyota, with 360k employees, followed by Nippon with 319k employees.

Do you know what else comes from Japan? Ramen, and here’s some pricing analytics on Ramen prices!

Wow it’s quite hard to show this analysis on the blog, perhaps it is time to create a new YouTube Channel on the analysis or something to show videos.

Will definitely miss having Tableau once my student license expires.

Hope you liked our Analysis of the Global 500 Companies. Now that we are done analysing companies, how about analysing universities in Singapore?

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Image Credits: Original Artwork by Tan Wei Xiang
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Innovation Management

Innovation: Business Model Canvas vs Strategic Business Functions

If you had been following our Innovation posts where we use the business model canvas to breakdown businesses, you might have always wondered how the business model canvas for a lean business scales up to that of a full business. We also had that question so we decided to explore linking the business model canvas to various business functions, in order for us to fully comprehend what it means.

Business Model Canvas
Business Model Canvas obtained from Quantic

Value Proposition

The value proposition is considered the most top level summary of what the business is. Therefore, this should be under the Chief Executive Officer, or the Business Strategy Department. While the Marketing team also would have a say in this, the value proposition is the heart of the business just like how the Chief Executive and Business Strategy brings everything together.

Customer Segments

In a corporate business, segmentation should be jointly owned by the Marketing Department, Consumer Insights Department, as well as Business Strategy Department, as there is a high level view of the customer and certain decisions would have to be made on the specific customer segments to target.

Customer Relationships

For customer relationships, the high level view would be driven by the Marketing Communications Department, as it would maintain the general relationship with the customer.

To target specific customers, the Sales Department would be the primary team developing these personal relationships.


Channel selection should be done by the marketing department, in order to achieve the broad go-to-market objectives of the company.

The execution of channels would usually be done by the Supply Chain Department and Operations Department, depending on the mix of channels chosen.

However, in this age, there is also online channels available. This is when the Digital Marketing Department arises to manage these channels.

Key Partners

Away from the external facing functions, key partners would usually be managed by the Corporate Communications Team, who consistently keep partners engaged. In businesses without a dedicated Corporate Communications Team, the Business Strategy Team should own this function.

The Sales/Procurement department might also be the right team to engage these key partners depending on whichever side the company is on.

Key Resources

For key resources, there is a variety of functions which govern this.

For human capital and labour, the Human Resources Department is definitely the one in charge.

For resources related to technology and infrastructure, we have the Information Technology Department in charge.

For financial-related resources, we have the Finance Department in charge and if there is no Real Estate department, the Finance Department also owns the aspect of leasing and ownership of commercial space.

Key Activities

The key activities will likely vary based on the business which is in question. While key activities should be carried out by the Operations Department, organisations are becoming more decentralised and constantly spreads out the key activities across various departments.

Cost Structure

The cost structure of the organisation should be helmed by the Finance Department, but as a partner to the various departments. Everyone plays a part in the cost structure but the owner of the costs should be finance.

Revenue Streams

The revenue streams usually stems from the pricing strategy as well as opportunity identification and the Business Strategy Department should clearly be in charge. The Finance Department can track the revenue streams to manage the profit and loss of the company, however the onus is on the Business Strategy Department to consistently look for new opportunities to increase the revenue streams.

How Many Teams Should There Be?

While you first start a business, you may find yourself doing everything, you might eventually want to scale up and see which functions are required by the business. As a general guide as covered, these are the functions in a business:

  1. Chief Executive Office + Business Strategy (To plan for the business.)
  2. Marketing + Consumer Insights + Sales (To manage customer-facing aspects of the business.)
  3. Supply Chain + Operations + Procurement (To run the external operations of the business.)
  4. Finance + Human Resources + Information Technology (To enable the internal operations of the business.)

While the functions can be combined in other ways too, the key is to understand your evolving business needs, as well as the skills of your team to ensure that your business runs smoothly.

Now that you have read the breakdown of how each department comes together in the business model canvas, are you more intrigued to run your own business in the future? Let us know in the comments below!

Are you interested in exploring business ideas? Please drop us a note at

If you liked reading about this post, do follow us on our LinkedIn Page. You may like to build your own hair salon, photo studio, bakery or ramen restaurant.

Image Credits: Photo by Raspopova Marina on Unsplash
Artwork Designed by Tan Wei Xiang