OG Tuesday Issue #184

The Assist Newsletter
April 1, 2024
OG Tuesday Affirmation #184

Today’s checklist: 

  • What does “productivity” mean?
  • Confront ageism in the workplace
  • TA reader Vanessa Maternowski shares the best career advice she’s received

🤔 Riddle me this: I am something people love or hate. I change people’s appearances and thoughts. If a person takes care of me, I will go a long way. If a person loses me, they may never find me again. (Find the answer on the bottom).


🚀 Productivity: Feeling distracted? You need to understand the 4 types of attention.

💼 Work Life: The unpaid emotional labour expected of women at work.

🏆 DE&I: Why DE&I leaders should “stay the course.”

💡 Leadership: How to help leaders flick their leadership-style switch.

📝 Career: How names impact minority job seekers in the hiring process.



A productivity reflection


In a feature for Esquire, journalist Kelly Stout reflects on her relationship with productivity at work, from her earliest unpaid internships to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s some food for thought you can take away from her experiences:

Productivity means little as a standalone concept. Simply “doing more” doesn’t automatically translate to the satisfaction of feeling productive.

  • Consider this: What does ideal productivity look like in your life? What do you believe achieving this would mean?

“I could only dream of a life in which I had too much work and not enough time to do it,” Kelly writes, encapsulating her point of view as an entry-level worker hungry to do more.

“That would be a sure signal I was believed in, trusted, and even loved. This way of thinking is now unrecognizable to me.”

Productivity can be subjective — a moving target.

  • Consider this: For even just one day, try swapping the word “satisfied” for “productive.” Say: I will be satisfied if I ______________.
  • Instead of: I will be productive if I ______________.

“I’d spent a decade wondering how many of the things I made for a living people would want, secure only in the knowledge that whatever I came up with would be inadequate.

No matter how many books, articles, Tweets, and TikToks I’d gobbled up, it had apparently eluded me that no one was ever going to say I’d produced enough,” Kelly writes.

However many people want would be the answer forever. How many of these things we produce is not productivity. How you spend your life is.

The act of producing can sometimes provide as much satisfaction as the state of “having produced.”

  • Consider this: What kinds of tasks do you enjoy doing as much as you enjoy having done them?

“I began to miss the joy not of performing the work but of actually pushing the rock up the hill. What I didn’t know when I entered the world of work was that there’s a term for the thing I was enjoying.

It’s called a ‘flow state.’ It’s when you’re really cooking on something and the world outside the task at hand fades away. It’s the opposite of running on adrenaline,” Kelly says.

“The feeling is weightless, the feeling is good. When you feel it, it’s almost intoxicating, but there is no hangover beyond a faraway expression that stays for a few hours after the untrammeled hours of work are over.”


monday.com to do list

Upgrade Your To-Do List


If you’re a visual person and want to upgrade your to-do list, check out monday.com.

It’s perfect for anyone who is struggling to…

  • Prioritize tasks
  • Fight overwhelm due to the amount of projects flying around
  • Keep teammates on the same page
  • Manage time throughout the work day

You can customize your space, color code, set deadlines, collaborate with teammates, and more.

Like any tool, we suggest you try it out for yourself to see if it covers all the bases.

💡 Get started here for free.



Let’s talk about ageism


One TA reader wants to spread awareness about ageism:

I started seeking a new position in January. It’s a very tough job market, especially for a 50+ woman who no one seems to want to picture in a different role than teaching.

It’s frustrating and demeaning, to say the least. [. . . ] I believe ageism is very real, and more awareness may help hiring managers realize that someone like me has a wealth of experience to offer.

She is absolutely right.

Ageism — the conscious or unconscious discrimination of or prejudice against someone based on their age — is very real, indeed. It also has a very real impact on very real people.

Gendered ageism is a notable hurdle for women workers.

“Gendered ageism sits at the intersection of age and gender bias and is a double whammy where there is ‘no right age’ for professional women,” write experts in a Harvard Business Review article that details the results of a recent survey.

Standout findings from their investigation include:

  • Women 60+ years old are frequently overlooked for promotions they’re unquestionably qualified for.
  • Women 40-60 years old reported negative hiring outcomes due to erroneous age-related liabilities, including “issues with menopause” or “family responsibilities.”
  • Women under 40, or who are perceived as under 40, are given demeaning pet names and report that others frequently doubt their statements and expertise.

In summary, workplace and job market feedback sends women of all ages the message that they are either “too young” or “too old.”

Ageism affects everyone and everyone can help break the bias.

Here’s how:

Respectfully confront ageist biases that come up in your conversations.

For example, if a coworker makes an assumption that another coworker won’t be able to complete a tech-centered task because of their age, then you might mention that skills, including skills in new technologies, are not age dependent.

Gently confront and reflect on your own ageist biases.

  • What are your thoughts on your own age and aging?
  • Have you ever made an assumption about someone on the basis of their age?
  • How has media and entertainment affected your perception of age?

Seek out age-inclusive social and networking events.

Interacting with real people of all ages helps break down biased thinking rooted only in stereotypes.

Use tools, such as the WHO’s Global Campaign to Combat Ageism, to raise awareness on social media and in your community.

At work, talk to the people responsible for your organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives about addressing ageism, if they’re not already.

Think of yourself and others in terms of growth and potential instead of decline—regardless of the feedback you get or hear from the outside world.

Mentally model how you will handle ageism when you confront it.

Unfortunately, others may not be as engaged with mitigating ageism as you are. Being prepared to handle it could save you a lot of discomfort.

For example, if you’re preparing for a job interview, you might practice answering questions that could reflect ageism. (Ex: Why are you interested in a job you’re so overqualified for?)


Bonusly gif

Want to motivate your employees? You better recognize


At my the last company I worked, we used Bonusly — it was a simple platform but it got everyone pumped.

People felt a sense of pride whenever they got points and recognition, so they went above and beyond.

Using Bonusly in a nutshell: You get a set amount of points each month (in my case it was 100 pts) that you can award to anyone in the company accompanied with a message.

What I personally loved about Bonusly:

  • Your points don’t roll over so it encourages you to use them before they expire; you celebrate your team’s wins, big and small
  • The feed is public so everyone (including C-suite) can see how awesome you are
  • Points can be redeemed for rewards (I always redeemed mine for cash and bought flights to Cabo once!)
  • Set up is a breeze & easily scalable; our company grew to 1,000+ employees, and the plans were easy to switch as we grew.

Have more questions? Set up a quick free demo here.


Joanna (Co-Founder of TA)


What’s the best career advice you’ve received?


Vanessa Maternowski
⭐️ Want to be featured? Share your best career advice here.


Stuff we’re loving this week


🌿 An app we love: Take public transport or shop from sustainable brands? Commons rewards you up to $30 in cash each month, just for spending more mindfully.

📚 Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg is your must-read guide to empowerment and success in the workplace.

🏷️ Don’t underestimate the power of a label maker — helpful for office and home things.

🗣️ If you have a meeting or team building event coming up, here are some icebreaker questions to kick it off.



Before you go…


Answer to the riddle.

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