Archive for March, 2015

7g living

So many thoughts today…I visited the Kirstenbosch Conservatory for the first time today, and  seeing fossils of plants that grew in the Eastern Cape more than 200 million years ago,  and reading about the Gondwana Continent that existed 650 million years ago, first put my mind into a spin and then to a complete stop. 


That’s a long, long time ago, but short in comparison the earth’s estimated age of 4,5 billion years (with an error range of 50 million years) and grandpa universe’s 13,8 billion years.  (Note: I acknowledge that many people believe Earth to be about 6 000 years old.  This memo is not intended to contribute to that ongoing conversation.)


According to the World Bank (2012) life expectancy for humans on Earth is 71 years.


How would you live differently if your life expectancy was, say 100 years, or 1 000 years, or 10 000 years?  Would you do different things?  Do thing differently? How would your priorities change? Would you care more about others or less? Would you take better care of your self?


There is a saying, claimed to come from “The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations: The Great Binding Law”:  “In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation… even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine.”  (“Seven generation sustainability” is an ecological concept that urges the current generation of humans to live sustainably and work for the benefit of the seventh generation into the future.)


Look at your calendar for the week ahead… and take a further-into-the-future-than-usual time perspective… anything to delete or add? What impact could the things on your calendar for this week have seven generations down the line – or even just one?  Or even just for you, one year from now?


Quote: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs


Suggest you don’t miss this: I am really happy and excited to invite you to join me and other people on the brand new Productivity Breakthrough Webinar Series!  Everything will be recorded so if you miss an event – no sweat!  I can carry on with more details … but rather just click here to check it out.  NOTE:  Only 100 seats are available per session – so don’t miss out…


Have a really fun and productive week!

Read Full Post »

A confession: I miss the wide open spaces of the Karoo and Free State…I sensed a freedom of spirit that is difficult to capture in words…And when I read and heard about my friends Igno’s hugely frustrating experience  when he last travelled by air from Egoli to Bloem, I might just drive again next time!

Mother Nature is a master teacher, if only we are open to her lessons.  I watched a bit of “the battle of the waves” as I was walking off my own “battle of the bulge”.  In a never-ending display waves come in and waves go out.  At the promenade they often hit the concrete wall with a loud crash and lots of spray and then retreat, back into the ocean.

And that’s where the fun happens.  Incoming and outgoing waves “collide” and interfere with one another with the result that the amplitude and impact of the incoming wave is diminished.

When we want to close the gap between our current productivity, happiness and fulfilment we try new things and push to make the change (the incoming wave).  But there is another force in play: outgoing “productivity handbrake” waves that work against our efforts and cause us to work harder at creating the change we want.

If we could release our productivity handbrakes we would not have to work so hard to get where we want to be.  These handbrakes can be things like our own limiting beliefs, interruptions, distractions (think about all the notifications you get every day from Facebook to WhatsApp to email…), feeling overwhelmed, not enough time, working over weekends…

You can only release handbrakes you can see.

So why not keep an “activity log” this week, note everything you do and look your productivity handbrakes in the eye and then begin saying NO to them?

It takes so much less effort to release these handbrakes compared to “giving more gas” when you want to improve your productivity!

Monday Morning Perspective:  “I encourage people to remember that “no” is a complete sentence.”  ― Gavin de Becker

I wish you a week without productivity handbrakes…

Read Full Post »

What a fascinating week!  I spent about 22 hours on the road driving from Cape Town to Bloemfontein last Sunday and then came back on Saturday. I wanted to experience the wide open spaces of the Karoo and Free State again…and what a joy it was!

And I learned three important lessons.

I pulled off for an hour or so at Hanover, where I used to live 50 years ago – what a sobering experience. Gone were the beautiful flower beds my mother used to have.  In their place there was … nothing.  At first I thought back to the way things used to be, and why it had deteriorated to where it is now.  But then I was served Lesson 1 from this trip: “What was, was.  What is, is. Move on.”

Lesson 2 came from Eric, a trainee petrol attendant. He was all smiles and I asked him if he was happy.  “Yes, I am very very happy!” he said.  I asked him why. He said:”I had a vision. I am going to be a millionaire. I am going to have a school and teach children who cannot afford to go to other schools how to use a computer.  I will charge them R200 per month.  I have already started.  At the moment I am working on my capital.  Now I have to focus. Then it will happen.  I am going to be a millionaire.”

A simple, straight forward lesson in productivity:

  • Have a clear picture of what you want to achieve.
  • Know why you want to achieve this outcome.
  • Make a plan to get here.
  • Stay focused on the right actions.

Eric’s lesson can work for you and me today and every day. What do you want to achieve today?  Do you have a clear picture of what a successful day looks like? Write down your plan of how to achieve it – this can be a simple “to do” list.  Then eliminate distractions (email notifications, interruptions, distractions from your own mind, Facebook, Twitter, SMS, WhatsApp….) and all other activities that will take you away from your goal for the day, so that you can stay focused on the things that matter most for today.

Doing this will give you a much better chance of getting in  bed tonight knowing that you have done what you wanted to get done today.

Lesson 3 came from two of my Bloem friends. I stayed with Igno van Niekerk and his family (if you are a photographer check out Igno’s site) for a few days.  Christo Spies, who is a keynote speaker and mental performance coach and has worked with some of South Africa’s top sportsmen and women, was so kind as to give me three complimentary days in their lovely guest house, Matanja.  They gave me the opportunity to do some work with them in the evenings and both of them implemented the things that we discussed right away and were very happy that they did.  Lesson 3:  How often don’t we learn something new (read a book, attend a course, get some coaching…) and then not do anything with our new knowledge?  Reinforce and cement new knowledge by applying it as soon as you can.

Productivity quote:  “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” – Jack Welch

Read Full Post »

This week’s focus point:  When I walked past Rocklands Beach in Sea Point recently, I noticed that there was a mound of sand where previously there was just “flatland”.  How did this come about?

We had a bit of rough weather at the time and I assume it must have been the result of some serious wave activity.  But delivered “Goldilocks” style – not too gentle, not too rough, but just right to achieve that result.  The right force – for the right duration.  Even if the force was “Goldilocks” but it only lasted for one minute, nothing would have changed.

Imagine your are in “productivity flatland” and want to produce some “productivity improvement mounds”.  You have to keep a few things in mind:

  • You must be willing to be “moved around”, just like the sand moves with the tide.
  • You must apply the appropriate “force” for an appropriate amount of time.
  • Don’t try and change 457 habits in one day – its not going to work. The wave is too big and strong – and will destroy your beach!
  • But don’t be too easy on yourself either, like small little 1,2 cm waves coming ashore wishing they could create a change from a  flatland and create a sand mound in 10 seconds.  It’s not going to happen.
  • Your productivity improvement project must be both challenging enough and sustained for long enough.

It has taken you a long time to form your current work habits.  It will take you time to change them.  That’s life.  Get with it – “let’s get real or let’s not play”.

List the things that could be preventing you from living at optimal productivity.  This can be anything from interruptions, too much email, a bad boss, not knowing exactly what to do, no one you can delegate to… right up to whether you are in the right job or career.

Then pick ONE thing you want to apply some “waves of change” of the appropriate force to for the next month.  Just one.  And work on it for 4 weeks.

Review results regularly and feed back into the “force”.

“For best results, repeat.”  If this procedure can work for shampoo, it can work for productivity,

Monday Morning Perspective: You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of. –  Jim Rohn
Singapore Calling.  Yeah!  I will be visiting my daughter Lindie, her husband Ryno and my granddaughters Niene, Carli and Nadia in Singapore towards the end of April.  I already look forward to chatting to you from there.  I would just love to do some work there with local businesses from very small to very large, while I am there.  If you have business contacts in Singapore, let me know who I can contact – on  Thanks!

Read Full Post »

 Richard and his wife Senomi, my dear friends in Joburg, have recently become the proud owners of a Harley Davidson Fatboy. Beautiful bike! You should hear the sound when they fire up that piece of lifestyle that weighs in at about 318 kg.  Music to your ears – unless you are the neighbours!

When we last met Richard said that he wanted to go on early morning rides on weekends but was concerned that his neighbours might hear the sound of a departing Harley as he accelerates up the driveway from a different mind-set than that of a new Harley owner.

I suggested that he push it up the inclined driveway and start it in the street.  He reminded me that the bike weighed 318 kg and that it will be quite a job to get it to the street.

“Just put in in neutral!” Senomi suggested.   We frowned, thought about what she said and then had a good laugh.  Putting the bike in neutral will sadly NOT make it lighter and the job of getting it up the driveway easier.

But there’s something in what she said that doesn’t want to leave my mind…”just put it in neutral”.

Not being all that mechanically minded, I went to Uncle Google (“my uncle in the information business” – remember that ad?) to learn more about putting your car in neutral.  He says (my caps) “When you place a car in neutral the gears in the transmission won’t be spinning, the main INPUT shaft will spin BUT NOT THE OUTPUT SHAFT, going to the drive wheels.  You DISENGAGE the gears”.

So the INPUT (mom’s taxi, overwhelm, email overload, too much to do and not enough time, your boss) is still there and “spinning”, but you are not allowing it to “spin your wheels”.

When you are having a difficult day at the office, stop pushing harder – “Just put it in neutral”.

Are you a busy bee mom’s taxi?  Don’t allow it to “drive” you nuts – “Just put it in neutral”.

Feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do – “Just put it in neutral”.

Thank you, Senomi, for this liberating productivity tip!

I wish you a week of putting some stressful things in neutral.

Productivity Perspective:  “There is a difference between giving up and strategic disengagement. Know the difference.” – Bryant McGill

Big time saving tip!  (Up front – this won’t cost you anything and therefore I don’t make anything if you were to get it!)  Do yourself a BIG favour and stop wasting time by typing the same things over and over and over and… Like “Kind regards.  Gerrit.  08 2 PERFORM. “.  Get ShortkeysLite and replace up to 3000 keystrokes with as little as 2 keystrokes and see the magic happen!  This must be the biggest time saver that I have ever used.  Enjoy!

Read Full Post »