Meet Alister Sneddon, a technical product manager, consultant, and advisor living in London, England. Al has the distinction of being Taskable’s longest active user, helping test the product before it was even in beta.
Al was previously co-founder and CTO of Genuine Impact, the world’s first financial terminal created to empower individuals to make better investment decisions. He’s now running his own consultancy, helping startups in the financial technology space launch new brands and products. One of the startups he’s currently working with is Tulipshare. This platform empowers people to invest in stocks that align with their values.
The most exciting part of Al’s work is turning product ideas into reality.
Watching loosely connected ambitions and dreams and stringing them together into something which truly helps solve a problem or bring some joy, it’s immensely satisfying. That and working with a range of individuals makes it interesting and varied; you’ll always find a new perspective or challenge.
The hardest part of his job is managing the balance of ego when building a product against your customer and business needs. It often requires making tough decisions when cutting ideas out of the scope or vision.
Alister is very much a creature of habit. His alarm always goes off at 6am. He then jumps into the shower and mentally plans his day. This is followed by his daily breakfast - a ham omelet - while he catches up on the news.
After breakfast, he’ll start his commute or get set up for remote work. Once logged, he fires up Slack and Chrome, where he has Clockify, Gmail, Hey, Taskable, and Notion open. He checks through Taskable to see what his calendar looks like for the day and what tasks are due. He then runs through email before starting his timer for whichever client he’s working with that day and jumping into work.
When Alister was a kid, he learned that one can be over-prepared.
He was a cub scout, and one year the Queen was attending their annual parade. Al was chosen to represent his troop and stand at attention as the Queen walked by. He was instructed that if she were to stop and ask a question, respond briefly and politely.
Leading up to the parade, Al practiced in case the queen wanted to have a chat. Assuming she would ask how he was doing, he repeated the phrase “Good thanks, and you?” over and over again so he could nail his line.
As it happens, the Queen did want to have a chat. But instead of asking Alister how he was, she asked for his name. Al dutifully replied, “Good thanks, and you?”.
Alister first started using Taskable to keep to-dos and work he needed to get done out of his client’s ecosystem. Taskable is his own personal space that he owns and can access anytime.
He previously used Notion to try to track tasks and information, but Notion required too much maintenance.
Taskable allows me to spend less time worrying about the tool I’m using and actually getting value out of it!
Taskable gives Alister peace of mind. It’s his single source of truth for all his tasks. With Taskable, he spends less time switching back and forth between different applications and spaces for each client. He can quickly capture tasks and ideas as they come up.
Alister also uses the Google Calendar integration to see his day at a glance, right from Taskable, without having to open his calendar or look at his phone.
Al’s number one tip is to recognize when you are most productive throughout the day for specific work types. For example, he’s a morning person, so he tries to get his deep, focused work done then and keeps meetings and non-deep work for the afternoon if he can. He even will block his calendar for the mornings if he has a big project or deadline approaching.
With COVID-19, working from home, endless back-to-back meetings, Al also wants to stress just how hard and intensive decision making can be. He likens it to a battery - every decision drains us a bit. He likes to drop non-essential decisions into Taskable to revisit them later and not let them drain his battery too much. Recognize when you are getting decision fatigue, and make sure to give yourself a break!