Our awareness is like an open sky with clouds passing by

“Our awareness is like an open sky with clouds passing by. Take your time to let things float by at their own pace and appreciate the view.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Philipp Potocnik

Being productive has always been a high priority for me. I’ve always considered a day with little or no evidence of accomplishment something to avoid at all cost. The more points I put on the board the better.

The idea of laying back and letting the world float by just seemed way too passive. How else was I to scale life’s mountains without breaking a sweat?

With a few more decades under my belt, I can now see more clearly that learning to take in the wondrous views of life are indeed active and productive things to do.


How can you more actively examine the open skies of your awareness?

What new sights might you see by taking a much closer look at things coming into view?

Make it fun if you want it done

“Make it fun if you want it done.”

Jon Acuff, New York Times Bestselling Author

Image from Amazon

What are your definitions of work and play? Consider examining the numerous activities throughout your day to determine the ratio of one to the other.

Which of your efforts are both enjoyable and productive? What duties do you dread and often avoid altogether for more pleasant pursuits?

My grandson Weston loves to play, and within minutes no one would ever recognize that the house was cleaned moments earlier. Getting him to clean up and put things back where they belong is no fun for him or mom and dad.  Making clean up a game where numbers, colors, shapes, and toy categories are identifiers helps immensely, especially when his efforts are timed.


How can you gamify and add a bunch more fun to some of your more challenging or distasteful tasks? Consider reading Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog for more ideas on getting things done.

The cult of productivity has its place

“The cult of productivity has its place, but worshiping at its altar daily robs us of the very capacity for joy and wonder that makes life worth living.”

—Maria Popova, American-based writer of cultural criticism

Image from Amazon

Even the title of Clay Christensen’s book, How Will You Measure Your Life? is a profound question worth pondering. Events in recent years have had many of us consider issues through a more holistic lens, to determine what is truly important and what constitutes a meaningful life.

Where have you rearranged your priorities? What activities moved up, moved down, or were eliminated from your list? What has happened to your need to be productive at all times in order to keep up with or beat the person next to you?


What changes have and can you make in your life to score more points on your joy and wonder scoreboards?

What’s the best small thing I can do right now

“What’s the best small thing I can do right now?”

—James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits

Image from Unsplash by Photos by Lanty

How energetic do you feel? What levels of energy and vitality do you experience throughout your typical day? What do you notice about your general energy during each season of the year?

What are your levels of productivity and overall life satisfaction as you ponder these questions?

Generally, winter is a time of lower energy for many of us. Darker days and colder temperatures have us seek comfort and much of our get up and go wants to go back to bed.

What do you notice about the relationship between activity and productivity now that winter has passed? Most of us feel greater satisfaction and a sense of overall well-being when we are getting things done.


Free yourself today from any grand plans and monumental tasks.

Simply look at the best small thing you can do right now and repeat as often as you wish.


“A party without cake is just a meeting.”

“A party without cake is just a meeting.”

—Julia Child, 20th Century American cooking teacher, author, and TV personality

Image from Unsplash by Caitlyn de Wild

How many meetings do you attend each day? How many of them are in person or over some form of technology?

How would you rate your experience of these events in terms of both productivity and enjoyment?

If you are like many of us the title of Patrick Lencioni’s classic book, Death by Meeting may sum up a good majority of your feelings.

Today more than ever companies are looking to attract, retain, and excite their team members, and the old ways of doing things by just offering competitive compensation and reasonable benefits won’t cut it in the long run.


How can and will you pursue a work environment with more of a celebratory and engaging culture?

Please don’t forget the cake!

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour. You don’t have to do it all today. Just lay a brick.”

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour. You don’t have to do it all today. Just lay a brick.”

—James Clear, author, entrepreneur, and photographer

Image from Unsplash by Joe Dudeck

What does being highly productive look like? How do things go when you are at your best? How have the last few days, weeks, or even the past year compared to the benchmarks and standards you hold for yourself?

Let’s face it — our best each day can vary widely due to internal motivators and capacities as well as a host of external constraints and limitations. How do you feel at these times, when your expectations of yourself and your world are not met?

Our lives are constantly under construction. What we get done with each day is simply what we get done — that’s it.


What cornerstones and foundational bricks can and will you lay today to build upon with each new day?

The majority of meetings should be discussions

“The majority of meetings should be discussions that lead to decisions.”

—Patrick Lencioni, Founder of The Table Group

Image of a team in a meeting

Image from Unsplash by Content Creators

Death by Meeting is one of Patrick Lencioni’s numerous books. He first made his mark with his classic, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, from which his business fable format gained considerable popularity.

How do you feel about the meetings you attend? How many, how long, and perhaps most importantly, how productive are these often stolen parts of your day?


Given the concept that people participate more fully in that which they help create, try using the More, Less, Start, Stop Exercise to upgrade the engagement and value of your meetings.

Please also check out Death by Meetings for additional ideas that can benefit you and your organization.

Too Few Accomplish Twice as Much as Too Many

“Too few accomplish twice as much as too many.”

—Malcolm Forbes, Publisher of Forbes Magazine

“The more the merrier” may be a great strategy for a party or special occasion, however this approach can have considerable drawbacks.

Consider the times you had to make an important decision by committee. How did it go? How long did it take? What were the results?

I am all for the idea of people participating in that which they create. My experience in coaching executive leadership groups and project teams leads me to believe that keeping the group to only those essential participants, the better.


Choose a high-priority personal project. Then, limit the group working on it to the vital few.

Feel free to reply to this post and let me know what happens to your level of productivity and effectiveness.

If you seek ideas go walking

“If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.”

-Raymond Inmon

Image of a man at a wlaking desk

Image from dlvr.it.blog

Has anyone ever told you they get some of their best ideas while taking a shower? It turns out that a change of scenery or venue is often just the ticket to get your creative juices flowing. Even the relatively new phenomenon of using a standing desk versus sitting all day has been touted to produce significant boosts of focus and productivity.


What changes can you introduce into your day to shift your perspective and open up new levels of innovation and creativity? Consider taking a walk and letting your angels whisper a few suggestions.

The faintest pencil is better than the strongest memory

“The faintest pencil is better than the strongest memory.”

⏤Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism

Image of a pencil on a table

Image from Flickr by Chris

Sam Horn was one of the speakers/conversation starters at a coaching conference I attended last year. One of her favorite sayings is “Ink it when you think it.” She always has a notebook in her hand.

Productivity guru David Allen, who wrote Getting Things Done often advises his readers that brains were meant for thinking, not as a storage device for information of limited value.


How would an “Ink it when you think it” strategy foster less stress and far more productivity in your life?