Day 9 – Mon-Slay the Thieves

If you want to create something worthwhile with your life, you need to draw a line between the world’s demands and your own ambitions. Yes, we all have bills to pay and obligations to satisfy. But for most of us, there’s a wide gray area between the have-tos and want-tos in our lives. If you’re not careful, that area will fill up with e-mail, meetings, and the requests of others, leaving no room for the work you consider important. – Mark McGuinness

Thievery Among Us

I couldn’t agree more – we’ve talked about it many times already in this series – it’s learning to put aside OPP – Other People’s Propaganda or Other People’s Priorities. It’s also about discerning what the Best Yes is for you and your family.

But there are a couple of other productivity thieves among us – ones we’ve invited in and nurtured. Juliet Funt runs WhiteSpace at Work – an awesome company that helps other companies discover white space on their teams. White space is simply a strategic pause taken between activities. I say simply because on paper IT IS SIMPLE. Just stop for a moment between your tasks today. But we don’t – mostly because we forget to or we fear if we stop for even a moment things won’t get done. Or even worse, we turn to social media thinking we’re taking a break but really we’re filling our minds with even more stuff to think about.

We are becoming less and less comfortable with silence and pause. The moments that are not filled.

The Four Thieves

In our increasing fear of white space…unfilled moments…we become susceptible to the four thieves of productivity:


But wait a minute – that list looks pretty amazing – where’s the thievery?

Because we don’t have white space – pauses that encourage our brain to recuperate, recharge, dream, assess, we go into overdrive. Busy-ness becomes an acceptable way to live and work.

Can you relate to one or more of these extreme drivers?
Drive -> Overdrive: go, go, go, until you drop?
Excellence -> Perfectionism
Information -> Overload: research, study, more, more
Action -> Frenzy, like sharks in bloody waters

Personally, I see myself in all four thieves but thankfully THERE IS a way out…

Drive -> What can you let go?
Excellence -> Good enough is good enough.
Information -> What do I need RIGHT NOW?
Action -> What deserves my attention RIGHT NOW?

Your assignment:

You haven’t had an assignment in a couple of days – hopefully, you’ve had a chance to catch up and reflect on the first week of challenges. Today, I’d like you to list these four thieves in your journal and reflect on your go-to behavior patterns. And then, sometime today, I’d love for you to push back from the desk, the counter, the easel, the steering wheel and take a moment to enjoy a few minutes of white space. Just let that beautiful brain of yours go where it wants to for a few minutes.

See ya tomorrow.

Miss a day? You can catch up here.

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Donna Matthews

Donna is a passionate soul eager to help others clear the chaos from their minds, souls, and homes with keep it simple, real life, productivity and organizational solutions.