Archive for November, 2015

In the moment…

What a glorious weekend!  Saturday morning I went for a walk on the Sea Point promenade from the Mouille Point lighthouse to the swimming pool and back, and Sunday it was time to see what Kirstenbosch had to offer.

Maybe the trigger for such a “do no work” weekend was the topic for the monthly productivity meeting with one of my clients: “slow down to speed up”.

A number of the 8 basic work habits that we know increase productivity were rolled into my weekend experience.

The first one was “slow down”.  The more I get it right to do the minimum work over a weekend, the better the week works for me.  I am the process of creating a stronger boundary around my weekends, and it seems to be paying off.  At least one full weekend day with NO work.

The second one was that it does not really matter how long something takes, but that what matters is what you choose to do.  The activities that you engage in determine the quality of your life.  Out of curiosity I used Google maps to check the distance of the promenade walk, and it came to about 5 km.  The distance collapsed into the experiences I had along the way.

die poeletjie waaroor ek al paar keer geskryf het - met hoogwater is dit chaos maar dan danksy die mure word alles weer kalm.  nog nooit water so stil gesien nie!

The ocean was as calm as you have ever seen it, and I could even see the reflection of one of the sides in the water the water inside the “boundary pool that keeps life calm on the inside” that I have told you about a few times already (that’s it in the picture).  A powerful reinforcement of the idea that there are times (during the week) that one’s life becomes unpredictable with high tide coming in and splashing over your boundaries, and that’s OK.

But when chaos recedes, if you have created and maintain your boundaries, things return to calm – guaranteed.

I was looking at a flock of seagulls sitting in the sun on a rock when suddenly, and for no apparent reason, they took off and flew to a rock on the other side of Three Anchor Bay where they settled down.  And then I saw the cause for the behaviour:  a dog was walking on the rock.  Work habit 5 is about the ability to adapt what you are doing when your context changes.  The dog’s presence changed their context and they adapted.

Things hardly ever work out 100% the way planned them.  So let’s continuously scan our environment for changes in priorities or things that “splash” into our pool of life and remain flexible enough to adapt to our ever-changing reality.  Leave open space in your calendar (a few blocks of 30 minutes every day) so that you have the space to manoeuvre when required.

By the way, I have no idea how long the walk took me…  and it doesn’t matter! I think it’s called “being in the moment”…

Quote: “Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going to fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” – Eddie Cantor

What’s happening: 2016 is what will be happening soon!  If you are thinking of working with us next year to enjoy sustained productivity improvement for you and your team, you may want to contact me now so that we can complete the paperwork before the end of 2015.  Do this and you will not only avoid the increase in our fees that kick in on 1 January 2016, but you will also qualify for our courtesy discount for upfront payment.  If you want to save a few bucks and still get he same results, click here to send me an email and I will contact you.

Have an “in-the-moment” week!


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Beauty in simplicity.

Nothing unnecessary.

Everything is essential to being the most beautiful flower it can be, making a contribution to the enjoyment of all the people that saw it yesterday in Kirstenbosch.

It made me think of what I am currently reading in the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less  by Greg McKeown, from which I would like to share a few things.  He speaks about it here (5 minutes).

A few golden nuggets:

  • Do only those things that are essential – and ignore everything else that is asked of you.  There will most likely be no negative responses.
  • Give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone so you can make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter,
  • Stop majoring in minor activities.
  • Be productive – not busy.

The way of the Essentialist:

  • Filter through the noise to get to the essence.
  • Eliminate the non-essential.
  • Do less, better.
  • Pause and ask, “Am I investing in the right activities?”
  • Make the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at your highest point of contribution.
  • Reject the idea that you can fit it all in; instead, grapple with real trade-offs and make tough decisions.
  • Live by design, not default.
  • Be in control of your own choices.
  • If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will.

Pause for a moment, and reflect on what you have just read.

How does it make you feel?

What would you like to experience differently in your life?

This time of year is good for reflection, learning and change.  I invite you to join me on the journey of a disciplined pursuit of less in 2016.

 Quote:We often think of choice as a thing. But a choice is not a thing. Our options may be things, but a choice — a choice is an action. It is not just something we have but something we do.” – Greg McKeown

  What’s happening? Within two weeks I will be hosting a 60-minute webinar to let you know how the 2016 Productivity Mastery Programme will “work”.  If you are interested in how this 10-week programme with at least 16 virtual sessions and 18 intensive individual virtual sessions will pan out and benefit you, click here to send me an email and I will get right back at you.

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The weather in Cape Town was a bit “iffy” Sunday morning and I could not quite make up my mind whether to visit KBU (for first time readers that is KirstenBosch University) or not – and if I did, whether I should pack some kind of “rain protection” gear.

I went (without the raincoat!) and am so glad that I did.

pc5I saw many beautiful flowers and birds – but it was this stretch of “nothingness” that caught my attention.

No beautiful plants or spectacular flowers.

No people stopping to admire the “no plants today” show.

Just soil, compost, mulch and whatever else (I don’t know the right terms!) waiting for seeds/bulbs/seedlings to be planted, fed, watered and cared for so it can develop into beautiful plants and flowers in due course and give pleasure to thousands of people.

No activity.  No rush.  No urgency.  Just the sense of “Let’s prepare now for a spectacular show later.”

This is what Stephen R. Covey referred to as ‘Production Capability” or “Production Capacity” in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.  He defines effectiveness as the balance between Production (P) on the one hand and Production Capability/Capacity (PC) on the other hand, or P/PC balance.

Slow down NOW to speed up LATER.

Want beautiful flowers later?  Prepare properly now.

Sustainable performance requires time to prepare for performance. Think and plan now, so you can execute better later. Clarify priorities now so that you can make faster decisions of the right things to do.

Go to your calendar now and block out some “slow down to speed up” time.

You will love it!

Quote: ”One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.”  Viggo Mortensen

What’s happening?  This week – nothing. I am slowing down now to speed up in December *smile* .  By the way December is a great month for individual tuition and coaching at your desk.  I work with you for a day at your desk and we co-design and implement a highly efficient system (that matches your way of thinking and working) to get the right things done with a lot less effort and hassle.  This will include both your electronic and physical work spaces.  Click here to let me know if you want me to call and discuss this with you.

Enjoy a fun-ductive week!

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VB BeachGood morning from Vleesbaai! My last day here before the trek back to Cape Town tomorrow…

It was good to relax and take a bit of time to largely disconnect from the everyday buzz.

VB Snail


During one of my walks along this beautiful beach I noticed a bluebottle on the sand with plow snails on and around it.

I have no idea of the mechanism involved but as the water washed the bluebottle to a different place, the snail in the vicinity all turn and make a bee line (snail line?) to the bluebottle.

I wanted to make a short video of this, and was waiting for the next wave to come and reposition the bluebottle.  The first wave slowly approached but turned about a metre from the bluebottle.  The next wave came a bit closer and the next one still closer but it was taking such a long time that I got distracted by something about 5 yards away from the bluebottle.

I went there to take a few pictures with my back to the bluebottle and ocean, and the next thing I felt was water around my feet….  When I turned around, the bluebottle, plough snails and the video opportunity have all been washed away while I had my back turned to them!

I was unhappy with myself for allowing this to happen after I have been waiting there for quite a while. The moral of the story (for me) is to be more patient (after all I am on holiday) and allow processes to unfold in their own good time.  Don’t rush that which cannot be rushed.

And do not allow myself to be distracted by something that has nothing to do with what I was (supposed to be) focusing on.

Stay with the task you are busy with until it is done.


In this way you will not lose opportunities that will never be repeated, and you can experience the joy of a job well done.

 Quote:Whatever you want to do, do with full passion and work really hard towards it. Don’t look anywhere else. There will be a few distractions, but if you can be true to yourself, you will be successful for sure.” – Virat Kohli

What’s happening?  If your company has more than 50 Outlook users and improving productivity is an important issue and you would like to see some improvement in the next 4 months, you may qualify for a seat at one of our open workshops “Productivity Breakthrough for Outlook Users: 8 Basic Work Habits That Will Skyrocket Your Productivity” to come and experience and evaluate our programme.  Click here to send me a mail including your phone number and I will call you to discuss this opportunity.

Have a fun week!

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