Archive for December, 2015

The curtains of the room I am sleeping in at Vleesbaai, where I have the privilege of enjoying a few days, may prevent people from looking in but it cannot prevent the sun form letting you know that it is up and about.

So just after 5am today I went for a walk.  Not along the beach, because it was high tide.

After almost being hit by a guy in a bakkie who was doing a U-turn in reverse, I was given wonderful pictures of the rising sun.

I don’t know about you, but the rising sun fills me with energy and hope.

I wanted to get a better angle and suddenly found myself looking at the sunrise through strands of rusted barbed wire, as you can see in the picture.


There were strands of barbed wire between me and my rising hope and energy for the day.  I could not get through them to get a better appreciation of the sunrise.

How often – especially at this time of the year – don’t we see visions that fill us with energy and hope for the new year…only to be thwarted by our own limiting-belief-strands-of-barbed-wire that hold us back and prevent us from embracing the sun that is steadily rising over 2016?

We don’t have to have these barbed wire fences in our minds.  We can cut through them and set our minds free to see what’s possible and then move toward it.

We don’t have to keep talking to ourselves in negative ways (the mental barbed wire).  We can choose our words.  We can choose what we eat.  We can choose who we associate with.  We can choose where we work.  We can also choose what we say when we speak to ourselves.

Maybe the one of the most fundamental decisions (not new year’s fantasies) you and I can make as we move towards and into 2016 is to rid our mind of everything negative.  To replace “I can’t” with “I can”.  To replace “I have to” with “I choose to”.  To replace “Everything has to be done and is important” with “Only a few things really matter”.  To replace “Let me create my schedule and then prioritise it” with “Let me understand what really matters and then schedule my priorities”.

It may just help us to move from taking on too much, feeling out of control, being unsure of whether we are doing the right things and feeling overwhelmed and exhausted to feeling more in control, getting the right things done and experiencing joy in 2016.

You willing to play?

(Note: You may well find Essentialism by Greg McKeown a very good read.  I found some inspiration for the last two paragraphs from his book.)

Quote: “The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentialists.” – Lin Yutang

What’s happening? Here are a few upcoming steps (there were 55 steps as you can see in the picture,  plus a few 20151228_070148_resizedbonus ones at the top this morning! Vleesbaai till 31 December, Kirstenbosch on 1 January 2016 for my annual looking forward session in my outdoor office with a ceiling of branches high above me  (this time without barbed wire beliefs!), a few walks on the Sea Point promenade which always has something to teach me, then hibernate for  a week to review and refresh content of my work for the new year, and then getting my “Productivity Breakthrough: 8 Basic Work Habits That Will Skyrocket Your Productivity (Outlook Edition)” published online at Udemy towards the end of January – 2016.


Happy 2016 to you!


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My good friends Richard and Senomi de Villiers visited Cape Town this weekend and the Mother City rolled out a few of the most beautiful blue-sky and little-wind summer days for them.  We enjoyed walks on the Sea Point Promenade, enjoyed the city lights from Table Mountain, and Kirstenbosch and the Boomslang also opened its arms to them.

2015-12-18 09.13.52A few beaches along the promenade are dog-friendly but most are not.  On one of the “No dogs allowed – Sorry” beaches we saw a man and his dog enjoying the day in a tide pool.

Richard made the comment that maybe the man is testing the “no dogs allowed” boundary to see if he gets “caught”.  And if he doesn’t, he knows it’s safe to keep on doing it.  He might eventually be stopped but until that happens, he will be having fun.

How invadable are your boundaries?  How often are people having fun on your “please do not disturb” work area, even leaving their dog’s faeces behind on your desk when they leave?

How often do you say “yes” when you should have said “no”? How often do you do things that are not part of your work or help you perform well in your Key Performance Areas?

How often do you even allow your own thoughts to cross the “focus boundary” of the work you are working on?

Just like the man with the dog could return again and again until he is stopped, in the same way people who interrupt you and even get you to do the work they should be doing, will return again and again until they are stopped.

You are your own policeman.  Only you can stop them.  Only you can say “no dogs allowed”, and enforce that law.

What you allow is what will continue.

What you allow, you teach.

Quote: “Let today mark a new beginning for you. Give yourself permission to say NO without feeling guilty, mean, or selfish. Anybody who gets upset and/or expects you to say YES all of the time clearly doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Always remember: You have a right to say NO without having to explain yourself. Be at peace with your decisions.”  –  Stephanie Lahart

What’s happening?

2016 public “Productivity Breakthrough (Outlook Edition)” workshops in Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg

On demand “Productivity Breakthrough (Outlook Edition)” workshop(s) for your company.

i wish you a season of internal peace at this time of the year.

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So the Blitzbokke won the inaugural Cape Town Sevens, and within the space of about 4 days South Africa had three different Ministers of Finance!

There are 199 words in President Zuma’a announcement in which Minister Nene was removed as and at an “average speaking rate” of 150 words per minutes, this announcement could have been read out in about one and a half minutes.  Not a lot of words and not a lot of time, but look at the impact it has had and will continue to have!

The playing time in the Seven’s final was about 20 minutes, but look at the impact that the victory has had and will continue to have for some time.

As you can gather, I am returning to one of my favourite topics.  It does not matter how long something takes that determines impact (or value), but what you choose to do.

Whether the time it takes a golf ball to travel to make the journey during a hole-in-one experience is 5, 10 or 20 seconds, does not matter –  it’s what happened that will make the golfer remember it forever.

So forget about “time management” and think “action management”.  The productivity question is not “how long will the meeting be”, but rather “is having this meeting the most productive thing we can do now?”.

And during the course of a day, ask “is what I am doing right now the most productive thing I can be doing?”, keeping in mind that being productive does not mean working harder and faster, but getting more of your “right things” done with as little effort and hassle as possible.

If you are going to enjoy a break at this time of the year, I wish you many moments of happiness and joy that you will be able to file away in your mind and relive later because of the high-value impact your choices will bring you.

Quote: “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” – Joel A. Barker

What’s happening?

2016 public “Productivity Breakthrough (Outlook Edition)” workshops in Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg

On demand “Productivity Breakthrough (Outlook Edition)” workshop(s) for your company.

2016 Productivity Mastery Programme: 8 people will join the 6th Productivity Mastery Programme for a period of 10 weeks.

Have a fun holiday – if you are taking one!

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Stephen R Covey liked to say that if you pick up one end of a stick, you also pick up the other.  If you make choice A you also “pick up” the consequences of that choice.  It is impossible to get the consequences of a different choice.

Yet, and I can only speak for myself, we often want the results (like being fit and healthy) but keep on making choices that will not deliver those results.  Or we let life run by default and not by choice, and then are unhappy about our lives.

I came across the following line of thinking recently and find that it helps me to force clarity about the choices I make.

In the moment of choice:

  • Ask: “Is this a choice?”
  • If yes, say: “The choice is mine”
  • “My choice is…”
  • “The reason I made this choice is…”

When I know that I will have to justify my choice, even just to myself, this “making a choice routine” helps me make conscious choices because I have to think about the consequences.

Use the above “routine” for a day or two and let me know how it works for you.

Quote: “Listen to your heart. Listen to your instincts. Listen to your inner voice. It is your true self.  It will guide you to make the right choices.”   – Lailah Gifty Akita

What’s happening? Our public “Productivity Breakthrough: 8 Basic Work Habits That Will Skyrocket Your Productivity (Outlook Edition)” workshops are back in full swing. Just click here and I will send you the full details.  We will be coming to Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Bloemfontein.

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