Today we’d like to introduce you to Maura Thomas.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I got my start in the productivity industry straight out of college, working for a company that sold paper-based planners and time management training. I spent almost a decade there, and in my last few years there, it was part of my job to learn about competitors. So I got a very detailed education on the “time management” industry. In 2003 I launched my business, and it began to take off in 2011 when I was approached to write my first book. Shortly after that, I received an invitation to do a Tedx Talk, then to start writing for Harvard Business Review, and now it’s ten years and six books later!
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
No, after three years in my business, I realized I created a business model that I hated! I completely reinvented it into speaking and training only, but that caused a big hit to my income when I let all of my other clients go. The next five years were just enough to keep the business alive but I did supplement my income with credit cards! I spent a long time paying my dues, speaking for free, and going to every networking event in town!
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a speaker/trainer/author with an expertise in personal and organizational productivity and effectiveness. My unique approach is that time management is an outdated concept, and attention management is a more relevant path to productivity in the 21st century.
I am most proud that I started speaking and writing about the topic of attention management in 2009, with my first public post in 2010 (still live at https://maurathomas.com/attention-management-2/attention-age/). My goal at the time was to push the phrase attention management into the mainstream business lexicon and to become the most widely recognized expert in the topic. I gauge this by internet searches on the term and am so proud that most every result on the first two pages is either written by me or referencing me. I think it’s such an important term and I want to reach everyone with my work because professionals today are so burned out and overwhelmed, and I know I can help them!
Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
I believe that one of the biggest things that has helped me is that I have always been a part of one or more mastermind groups: formal and informal, some I organized, some I just joined. There is so much wisdom to be gained by helping other people and letting them help you. I can’t stress the importance of these enough.