Archive for April, 2015

Hi from Singapore!  I arrived here yesterday for a short visit with Lindie, Ryno, Niene, Carli and Nadia.  What a privilege.  Such a privilege that it has taken up some of my thinking and writing time – so please accept this belated Monday Morning Productivity Memo!

As we were descending for the landing in Singapore, I noticed that they guy in the row in front of me was reading sheet music just like I would read a book.  When I saw him in the terminal building again, I asked him if he hears the music in his head as he reads it.  “Yes, I hear the music when I read it.  But first you have to practice.  When you practiced enough, you can hear the music.”  And with a big smile he said goodbye.

For the same piece, the sheet music looks the same to all the artists who play it, created by someone else, and each one interprets it in his or her own unique way.

For our own lives we are both the composer and interpreting artist.  We create our sheet music and we play it.

We create our calendars and fill it with meetings, travel, phone calls, time to plan, time to meditate, time for exercise and time to do email.

This should be our weekly routine.  To look ahead at the week and create the sheet music for the week from our own creative minds, given that some things are already there by our own acceptance.

Looking at your calendar for the next week, you are looking at the sheet music for the next week.  If you practice enough, you will be able to “hear the music” as you experience the next week in your mind.

All that remains is for you to play next week according to your unique interpretation.

You will either get a standing ovation or be booed off stage by Friday evening – not by others, but by yourself.

Play with enthusiasm and joy!

Quote: “In doubtful cases the more liberal interpretation must always be preferred.”   – Marcus Tullius Cicero

What’s happening? You may recall last week’s Memo about the difference in being guided through Kirstenbosch as part of a big group or when you have a personal guide.  The obvious value in being guided on an individual basis spoke to me quite strongly.  So, based on the experience I have had in the past with my individualised “productivity coaching” programme, I decided to invite you to have a look at the programme and let me know if you are interested in such individually guided tour through the journey of living an even more productive, happy and fulfilling life.  The information is here – just click to get it.  Heads up: there is a lot of information on the page but I wanted to give you as much information and the best framework for you to make an informed decision of whether to apply or not – this is not yet a commitment!


Grab a great short week!


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This week’s focus point:   I was so happy with the lesson that I could learn from seagulls on Sunday morning at the Broken Bath (Path?) beach in Sea Point.

I was watching seagulls and other birds drink water from a fresh water source, take a bath and then sun themselves.  Everything happened so naturally.  There was no CEO-bird working out strategies or managers and supervisors working out schedules of which birds will drink, bath and sit in the sun at which times and for how long.  They just got the job done. (Why do we often times complicate things?)

And they got the job done with as little effort as possible. I noticed that when the gulls flew some distance over the water, they kept rather close to the surface. Why?  Because (thanks, Google) “when they fly less than a wingspan’s distance from the surface, flight is more efficient due to slight changes in airflow patterns around the wing…which reduces drag”.  It’s called the “ground effect”.

What creates your “ground effect”?  What are the things that will reduce drag in your day and help you get your job done more efficiently?  When you know this, you can put and keep these things in place, knowing this will result in increased efficiency and productivity.

Think back to times when you were highly productive, when things just happened much easier than expected.  Write down what was “in place” at the time – anything from 24/7 internet access, an assistant, a library, flexi time, deadlines (or no deadlines), you were allowed freedom to follow your own mind, or maybe you were strictly controlled, you worked on your own, or you had a team, could you listen to music, maybe you had lots of natural light in your office.  We’re not talking about weird and way-out things!

These are the things that creates your personal “ground effect”.

Use the next few weeks to become aware of events that go off really well and note what was in place so that you can recreate your ground effect again and again and again.

Enjoy flying low!

(PS: Next week I will be musing from Singapore…)

Monday Morning Perspective: It can only rain when the conditions are right.  You can only be productive when the conditions are right.  Put the right conditions in place and productivity follows – and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. (No wise author wrote this – just a thought that popped into my head now.)


What’s happening? The Modular Productivity Breakthrough Programme has launched last Friday!  You can still get it all.  Module 1 (How to create and sustain a productive mindset) is available immediately (articles, workbook and online video that you can download) with Module 2 (Clarity) being released on Friday 8 May.  Click here to have look and join us!

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Chatting to Amien Jacobs, an associate, early on Sunday morning I said to him that I was going to spend some of my time in Kirstenbosch.  But then I changed it around and said to him that “I am going to have Kirstenbosch invest some of its time in me”.  And I am so glad that I opened myself up to that investment – the returns are great! (Like having the canopy in the picture as my office ceiling!)


As I was enjoying a cappuccino and toasted sandwich at the coffee shop at the entrance, about 8 buses stopped one after the other and their Chinese passengers disembarked.  A bit later I saw one group of them (must have been about 50 people) stand in the Conservatory, listening to what their tour guide had to say – using something like a loudhailer.

The same thing happened during the next hour or so when smaller groups walked past me at not an insignificant pace, stopping to quickly look at trees and Colonel Bird’s bath (being “loudhailed” about the details of what they were looking at) before rushing off to the next stop.

And then suddenly they were gone and it was quiet.

Checkbox ticked: Kirstenbosch.

Next checkbox could possibly be Table Mountain and then the next…and then the next…enter the bus…exit the bus…

Just a short while later I noticed a couple, accompanied by their guide, walking slowly and stopping more frequently and engaging in conversation (no loudhailer!) with their guide. They probably learned and understood more about what they were looking at than the visitors from China.  Maybe they did not look at and superficially engage with as many things as the rushing Chinese tourists; they did fewer things better.

Is a productive life about checking as many boxes as fast as we can (think about all your projects, everyday goals, studying, jobs, even your career “boxes”), or could it maybe be more about picking a few things and do them extremely well?

I don’t think it is the one or the other, but maybe it’s not a bad idea to reflect every now and then on our own ways through life and create balance between the things we feel we have to do as part of our daily routines (checking the boxes) and the things that rejuvenate us and nourish our souls.

Perspective: “If you pick one thing to do, and do it completely, people will notice.” – Trevor Blake

What’s happening? Due to many requests the format of the modular Productivity Breakthrough programme has been changed from live webinars to having the exact same content available for download or on a DVD delivered to your doorstep.  Click here to get the details and order the modules you wish to own.  First one is released on Friday.

Have a meaningful week.

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Oh what a beautiful morning!  Oh what a beautiful day!”  I am so happy that I could enjoy sunrise at Vleesbaai this morning…  I stood on the stoep for maybe 15 or 20 minutes (who cares about how long it took anyway) end enjoyed how the colours reflected by the clouds change as the sun came closer to peering over the horizon.

 See what I mean?







At times I felt like going inside to make a cup of coffee, but then realised that I would miss some of the magic…


I just stood in one place, enjoying the unfolding sunrise and realised that there certain things in life that just cannot be rushed, and when those things happen, accept that you cannot put them on fast-forward – it takes as long as it takes.


Not that one is better than the other, but I felt privileged to receive this lesson today while at the same time tens of thousands of people are stuck in their cars for the next few hours rushing to get home after the Easter holidays.


Natural and man-made.


What will happen if we replace some of the man-made paradigms about time and “time management” with something more aligned with natural laws of living a productive, happy and fulfilling life?  Like understanding what needs to be in place for you to be productive (think about a few highly productive times in your life) and then keep these things in place and let your productivity follow – naturally.


These things can be very simple, like having no interruptions or distractions, access to the Internet, someone you can trust and delegate work to, having your walls painted green, respecting the boundary between your professional and private lives…



Make a list and put them in place and as sure as there was a beautiful sunrise at Vleesbaai today, as sure you can be that your personal productivity will improve.


When we align how we think and what we do with natural laws of productivity improvement, we become happier and more productive.



Perspective: “Sometimes things aren’t clear right away. That’s where you need to be patient and persevere and see where things lead.” –  Mary Pierce

Achieve your personal Productivity Breakthrough based on natural laws. The very first 9 part Productivity Breakthrough webinar programme kicks off on Friday 17 April 2015.  The sessions are live and every session will be recorded so if you have to miss one due to clashing schedules, you won’t miss it but just get a delayed delivery.  Click here for the details.  You can get the whole enchilada or just the bits you prefer.  If you think that getting the programme digitally on DVD or in a downloadable format will work better for you than the live webinars, click here to let me know and I will be in touch.

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