How to be more productive (it’s not what you think!)

Happy Friday!

Last week, I had a very enjoyable coffee with my oldest and dearest friend from middle school. In the middle of the work day no less.

[Cue gasp here.]

Now it’s not as if it was an indulgent 3-hour coffee by any means – in fact we still had our beverages in our hands when we parted ways. But it was just enough to get our fix, and have both of us leaving on a high.

And then on my drive home, I questioned how ‘productive’ I was being with my time… and was kinda wanting to judge myself, beat myself up.

But I didn’t.

Because here’s the thing. Often my default pattern is to compare my productivity to the folks that seem to have books published within weeks, new courses launched at the drop of a hat, and manage to keep their inboxes under 50 at all times.

That will NEVER be me! And so it’s time to stop judging myself or somehow making myself wrong for not being a hustling, no-nonsense, head down, task-focused, content-producing machine.

In fact, it’s time to redefine what it means to be productive in the first place.

According to the dictionary, productive is an adjective to describe one’s ability to produce large amounts of goods, crops, or other commodities.

I actually think productive should be an adjective to describe one’s ability to spend time on meaningful work, in fulfilling moments, and in producing large amounts of joy.

That means your definition is going to depend on what matters to you, what is meaningful to you, and what brings you joy.

And a lot of that is going to depend on your values.

So here are some questions you can ask yourself in order to gain some clarity on your values, and therefore what will help you to be more productive.

  • When you are ‘in the zone’ or catch yourself in a moment of total bliss, where you lose all concept of time and space, what are you doing?
  • What are your 3-5 non-negotiables?
  • Which words would your closest friends use to describe you?
  • What do you stand for?
  • What brings you joy?

For me, I place a high value on people, connection, and relationships. I also place a high importance on living in and enjoying the present moment. And so sharing a cup of tea or java, while in deep and meaningful conversation with someone I care about, is arguably a very productive use of my time!

I used to lie in bed at night, and in my head go through all I had accomplished in my day – how many tasks I had checked off – ready to give myself either a pat on the back, or a kick in the butt. And I let that determine whether it was a ‘good’ day or not.

But that’s not what it’s about!

It’s not about how many things you may have checked off on your to-do list, if you’re not lying in bed with a smile on your face and feeling content with your day.

It’s time to redefine what it means to be productive. And it’s going to be different for you than it is for me. So enough comparing or adopting others’ definitions for our own… especially if it’s going to make you feel bad!

This week, I challenge you to be brave enough to be productive, on YOUR terms. And then I want to hear how it goes OVER ON THE BLOG! 

(OH, and as I was looking at past blogs to see what I had previously written about this topic it turns out I spoke about this very idea on this day last year… I even did a video! Check it out HERE.)


Have a FAB week!


P.S. It’s time to Get Your Brave On! Join us at Pursuit OCR where we’ll learn how to get into your B.R.A.V.E. Zone ~ and then put it into practice at this indoor playground – think 30,000 sq ft of awesome! 

P.P.S. We are now booking speaking engagements and training opportunities into 2020… if you’d like to explore how we could introduce brave leadership to your group or organization, let’s hop on the phone!

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Carol Schulte

Carol is a published author, has been featured in numerous magazines and podcasts, and is a returning guest expert on Rogers TV. Having lived and worked in 16 countries including Ashrams in India and vans in New Zealand, rocked dreadlocks in Thailand and shaved her head for breast cancer, she certainly walks her talk and brings a global perspective to all she does. When she’s not traveling or speaking on stage, you can find her volunteering as a bereavement facilitator, training for her next triathlon, or practicing her serious carpool karaoke game.

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