The Secret to Productivity - Part 1

David Day

2 min read
Like most of us in the communications business, you’re probably moving at the speed of life, knocking out your to-do list and moving to the next project. I can hear John Wayne in one of my favorite old movies The Cowboys: “Saddle up, boys, we’re burning daylight.” It seems there’s never enough time in the day to get it all done.

Here’s a little secret that some of the most productive people in the world know. It’s not rocket science, and it’s not the fountain of youth, but nevertheless, it’s wisdom that comes from experience: slow down.

Like the saying goes for military snipers, “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” If you want your next year to go smoothly, every now and then you’ve got to slow down in order to get it all done. Sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?

Slowing down on purpose in order to mentally and emotionally “digest” has become a rare activity for many of us, and we can see the consequence of it in our world: agitation, anger, depression, and yes, lack of productivity. We get busy doing and we forget to slow down and think it through. The human brain was not made to simply control the body. It was made to think deeply, creatively, and strategically. Deadlines and urgency cause us to neglect this truly artful element of strategy.

When we pause long enough to really think creatively and come up with a plan or solution, we actually create more energy than we use. Have you ever come up with a really great idea and then fallen asleep from boredom? Probably not. You get pretty jazzed about it, right?

To be productive in 2016, you need to include time in your day and in your week to slow down and think. Clear the cobwebs. Get clarity. Dream. Imagine. Plan. Ask “what if” instead of “how.”

In my next two posts, we’ll examine some of the reasons why we typically don’t slow down and think, and I’ll share with you some tips on how to slow down and think it through. Until then, if you need help, just comment below and I’ll be glad to connect with you. If you’d like to send me a private email, just go to

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