The Productive Researcher
Online course


This half day or full day course split over two half days is designed to enable you to think deeply about how you can get the most important things done in your work whilst protecting your work-life balance. The first half takes a deep look at your relationship with work, the priorities you need to focus on and the psychological barriers that might prevent you from achieving your goals. The second part gives you an opportunity to think more deeply about the goals you want to achieve and how you will reach them, drawing on visualisations, a theory of change and an experiment to get you started on a plan that will work. 


Find out how you can become significantly more productive as a researcher in a fraction of your current working day. Rather than learning (yet more) time management techniques, you will learn new ways of thinking that will reframe your relationship with work. The course is based on Prof Reed’s book, The Productive Researcher, in which he draws on interviews with some of the world’s highest performing researchers, the literature and his own experience to identify a small number of important insights that can transform how researchers work. The course is based on an unparalleled breadth of interdisciplinary evidence that speaks directly to researchers of all disciplines and career stages. 


Prof Reed’s publication rate, grant income and levels of impact are unusual for someone who works 37 hours a week and never works weekends, especially given that he does this whilst running his spin-out company, Fast Track Impact. So what’s going on?

Course description

The course works by shifting you from focusing on tasks to focusing on priorities, linked to your values and identity. By working regularly on your most important priorities, even if only for a small proportion of the working day, you can become increasingly motivated to make time for these priorities, creating a powerful positive feedback loop. Rather than encouraging you to extract ever more productivity from your working life, the emphasis is on using your new-found productivity to get better work-life balance and, by resting well, working even more effectively. This course will make you more productive, more satisfied with what you produce, and enable you to be happy working less and being more.

Key benefits:

  • Leave with practical tools you can use immediately to save time while achieving more ambitious career goals.

  • Gain a deeper understanding of the values that underpin your work, and the reasons why you feel time-pressured.

  • Identify priorities that are as much about being as they are about doing, and that are stretching, motivational, authentic, relational and tailored to your unique strengths and abilities.

  • Turn these into an “experiment” to make practical changes that create a positive feedback loop between your priorities and your motivation, so you can become increasingly focussed and productive.

  • Receive a copy of The Productive Researcher (second edition, RRP £17.99, 176 pages hardback, 4.8 out of 5 stars based on 54 reviews on Amazon). 

What does our training include?


We spend time with you before we train to ensure our workshops are tailored to the needs of your group. Our training includes:

  • Prof Reed works with every group.

  • Each participant gets a pdf copy of Prof Reed’s acclaimed The Productive Researcher and an e-handout pack with editable worksheets. Hard copies are available for any participant who would like one. Simply email to request a copy sent directly to your home address.

  • Configure your training as a full-day event or as two individually bookable half-day events.

  • Sessions run via Zoom which does not require any software (just an internet browser), enabling colleagues to join easily from home. Breaks are generous, so people can pace themselves effectively.

  • Two main modes of group interaction:

    • Small group work via Zoom’s break-out room function, with key insights reported back in plenary to the wider group. 

    • Plenary discussion is done via Zoom’s chat function in a two-part process. First everyone is asked to comment via chat (e.g. provide an answer to a provocative question, or ask a question of their own). Second, a sample of these is used to facilitate further in-depth discussion via commentary from Mark, followed by an open-mic session for those who want to take the discussion further.

  • Additional learning and interaction you can't get face-to-face, for example:

    • You get more engagement in plenary discussion than is possible face-to-face because everyone is asked to write an answer to the discussion point (or pose their own question) before discussion commences, rather than just the few who have time (and courage) to speak. 

    • It is possible to get more out of some exercises where those speaking are able to share their screen with the whole group. 

    • New individual exercises enable participants to go deeper into course content linked to their own research.


We pride ourselves on the quality of our follow-up with participants, ensuring they are able to apply what they learn to transform their practice:

  • Online courses feature additional individual follow-up after each training. Participants are invited to write actions they commit to doing within a month, based on the course, which we email back to them exactly 1 month later, increasing the likelihood that actions are completed.

  • In the follow-up email after a month, participants are invited to reply to get help applying what they learned if they have not completed their intended actions. If they use our system, we guarantee a response within a week to all questions with no time limit and no restriction on the number of questions that can be asked.

  • Everyone gets an email via the course organiser (including those who do not wish to share their email with us) with links to slides and a reminder about how to get support from Prof Reed.

Further training


If you would like to consider adding a coaching follow-on to make your course even more impactful, read more about our coaching options facilitated by Dr Joyce Reed.

What does a typical day look like?

View course slides

Screenshot 2020-03-20 at 16.20.46.png

What do other researchers say about this course?

"[Doing the course online was] really useful and engaging.”


“Inspirational day”


"I learned a lot about good ways of doing online delivery and the functionality that Zoom has!"

“Very beneficial and eye opening.” - Lecturer


​“I now aspire more to be an inspiring researcher, and realise that productivity is both ‘doing’ and ‘being’.” - Post Doctoral Research Assistant


​“I liked that I am going away with a workable plan at the end of the day” - Professor


​“I like the structured approach, the build-up and especially the space and time to think. It has changed my approach to goal setting entirely. My whole work goal emerged entirely from the values I had identified in my personal life and I now have something to aim for that I really believe in – thank you!” - Professional Services


​“Food for thought or a great kick start to moving forward.” - Senior Lecturer


​“I’m switching from being task-orientated to being priority-orientated.” - Professor


​“It’s very helpful to be reminded why we wanted to become an academic in the first place, and to reconnect with values-based priorities when we are struggling to get daily routine work done. Thank you!” - Senior Lecturer


“Thinking about what is important compared to how I spend my time is very powerful” - PhD student


​“If I implement these techniques, I see a lot of untapped potential being unlocked, so this workshop is a real eye opener” - PhD student


​“Positive, useful, thought-provoking.” - Professor

​It made me really think about what sort of researcher I want to be. It has given me the time and space to think through ways I might start to achieve this, both in the short-term and in my longer career. It has given me hope that there is a way forward to get work-life balance and it has focussed me on a path to achieve it.” - Post-Doctoral Research Assistant


​"Really inspiring course. Motivated to become a better researcher and person after attending this course. Thanks Mark.” - PhD student




Half-day workshop £1500 +VAT for 30-40 participants

Includes free hard copies of The Productive Researcher book sent to each participant’s home address. 


90 minute workshops £750 +VAT for 30-40 participants

Includes PDF copies of The Productive Researcher book. You can add hard copies of the books for your participants at additional cost.


Read our Terms and Conditions.

We've trained >8000 researchers from >200 institutions in 55 countries: