Productivity Breakthrough (Outlook Edition) (aka Outlook Productivity)

Penny Milner-Smyth

Human Resources Executive, South African Sugar Association, Durban

Herewith details of this excellent trainer who has been so helpful to us in the field of improving productivity through optimal use of MS Outlook. You will especially like his focus on achieving better work-life balance through smarter use of technology.

If you think about it we have all learned our own strategies along the way for managing our incoming mail and organising ourselves using technology, but few of us have had any actual training in this area. For a bunch of people highly committed to being as productive as possible and who consider ourselves fairly jacked up technology wise I must say we have had our eyes opened by Gerrit. We have a lot of “knowledge workers” – scientists etc, and any one of them will tell you that their effectiveness, personal organisation, stress levels etc have improved since they have had exposure to Gerrit’s input.

Gerrit has set rates but is always open to a reasonable proposal. Furthermore, you get value from him long after you have left the workshop/s as he keeps sending new ideas and encouraging delegates to implement and advance the practices he has covered.
In particular, his three hour “Outlook Productivity Blitz” is an amazing value for money offering, although if one can spare half a day there is additional benefit.”

Catherine Botes

HR Manager, South African Sugar Research Institute

“The South African Sugarcane Research Institute converted to Microsoft Outlook in 2008, after more than 10 years of using the GroupWise messaging system. Initially the change over presented employees with considerable anxiety about the potential loss of information such as contacts and stored emails. From a technology point of view that process took place smoothly. Then however, came the learning. Our organisation uses the calendar function extensively for the purposes of arranging meetings, both for groups and smaller meetings. In addition, we have high volumes of emails as information is exchanged between various collaborating institutions. We decided to enlist the help of Productivity Pit Stop to help us firstly get to grips with Outlook and secondly to use the system as efficiently as possible to save time and reduce frustration in the working day.

After over 100 people from our laboratories, research farms and offices attended the programme, I can confirm that everyone learned something (many learned lots) and almost all delegates said that they learned things that have helped them so much in organising their time and incoming information that they never even realised were possible.
We can highly recommend the courses offered by Productivity Pit Stop in terms of improving both time management and efficient use of Microsoft Outlook.”

James Hoy – Transship (Swaziland)

I would like to thank you for the great course you gave.  I for one have learnt a tremendous amount and now I have to process it/teach myself to change with the times (like the kids say “get with it”) . For a guy like me, it means a lot to “get with it” .

I just listen around the office and hear what the guys are discussing, and I hear “I am doing this now and this that I am doing is helping me“. If I  can gauge a course by the way the guys are discussing what they have learnt, then I can see you have achieved what you set out to do . I liked the way you presented it, the time flew by and I was not bored once!! I also did not get the feeling of “ what am I doing here?” So from me – well done.

I also liked the one-on-one part of your course as this really helped me.  You have a lot of patience. I really do think a follow up in a couple of months would be needed.

Thank you once again.


One-to-One At-Your-Desk Productivity Coaching

Rob Dennison

Founder / Owner of TRAINIAC |

Working with Gerrit Cloete enabled me to streamline my email Inbox in such a way that I am able to go on a business trip for three days, return and still get on top of things within an hour of being back in the office! I don’t jump in and out of my Inbox anymore, but dedicate a certain time of the day to reading new emails.
I’m not looking to work hard. I’ve got a business to run and although I don’t want to be both boss and administrator, my company doesn’t need a PA right now. By re-engineering my Inbox I have improved my productivity and freed myself up to concentrate more on my business.

Productivity Mastery Programme

Moosa Karodia

PrEng Ceng; Production Manager at SAPREF(Durban) Refinery

“I have been benefitting tremendously from Gerrit Cloete ever since I saw his article in the Cape Times when I lived in Cape Town. I have since been on his Outlook Productivity Course and took my productivity habits a step further. The Mastery Programme is however designed to entrench a new habit, a new and improved way of working, organizing, thinking and feeling. I have personally benefitted immensely from the Mastery Programme in that a new productivity mind set has been created. I now feel much less anxious and much more relaxed.

I am now also able to find precious time doing the strategic and important activities that are necessary at my level in the organisation. I no longer get bogged down by the burden of carrying inboxes that are bursting at the seams. I am able to differentiate between what’s urgent and/or important, find a place for things in my head and most importantly to do something about them.
I would recommend the Mastery Programme to anyone who wants to take back control of their lives, both business and personal.”

Jan Mocke

COO, The Joburg Market

“I would like to thank you at this stage while we are still busy with the Productivity Mastery Programme. [Even] if we would stop at this stage, I would already feel that is probably the best value for money I received from any course that I have done – and I have done quite a few.

My desk is better organised than it has ever been. For a change I do not lose a lot of time looking for documents. I am prepared for meetings, as all is ready in one place. The principle of having only the documents related to what I am busy right now is helping me to stay focussed. To have a single tray for all incoming documents help me not missing anything important.
Some of the articles you share are really enlightening and all I regret is that I was not exposed to this information earlier in my life.”

Bradley Hlubi

Emergency Response Manager, SAPREF

“The programme is really tailored around people with busy schedules that need help. It really got me to rethink my levels of productivity and effectiveness. Started to expose me to other people and gain some tips on how to be more efficient.
I was coached by a really experienced person in this field. We created a platform whereby we could start to slowly improve on my systems of work.

A key learning for me is that you cannot trust yourself to remember everything – instead build a system and then use your trusted system to manage your workflow. Key personal management techniques were also taught… the values exercise was exceptional. This, for me is the crux of the course and everything you do from then onwards will be determined by the quality of your exercise and continuous reflection on this.”

Peet van Jaarsveld

Group CFO, Digicall Solutions

“I have formed and adapted and implemented quite a few new habits that are already paying off handsomely. My previous ways of handling emails and requests were not sustainable and has led to a lot of frustration. I now have a system that serves me much better. I am also now more aware of some of the pitfalls and will probably change my habits slightly over time but will not fall into the old traps of my previous habits on handling my email inbox again.

Another major benefit of the programme is insight into oneself and understanding some issues better. And secondly insight into principles that highly successful people use. I think this offers a major opportunity for learning and growth.”

Henk Agenbach

CEO, Humansdorpse Koöperasie

“The programme helped me to understand that my problem with productivity is not unique but a general problem in the current high speed and quantity of information environment we operate in.

It also helped me to manage my time so as to focus on the most value adding aspects of my life not only as a CEO but also personally”.