November 7, 2021

Doing more, stressing less.

It’s Philip here.

This morning I know you were probably expecting Lisa to share something uplifting. But with your permission I want to chat with you about productivity for a second, and talk about how it relates to sanctuary. Do you mind?

Let’s be honest. Productivity is kind of a modern cult. You can see its disciples all over LinkedIn, tagging #inboxzero on Twitter, talking about their “system” at the slightest provocation, and exhibiting other rather dubious behaviors.

Let me also be fully forthright: I am also a card-carrying, kool-aid drinking member of the productivity cult, albeit a slightly less exhibitionistic one.

I’ve run into so many people who steadfastly resist any sort of productivity system. I think that maybe they fear the discipline and order that productivity systems engender would put their freedom in handcuffs, chain it to a radiator, make it eat gruel, and thus make a slave of that which should rather be venerated.

That sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Nobody wants that.

And if you, dear reader, have resisted productivity systems for this reason, I have a simple question for you: do you like clean clothes? Isn’t amazing when your car is full of gas? How about when there’s food in the refrigerator?

Let me ask you this: How would you like to approach your family time, the upcoming holidays, or a particular project with a mind absolutely clean of every other worldly concern, ready to immerse yourself into the purpose for which you have set aside these few sacred hours?

This is where productivity systems come in.

You don’t need a to-do list to tell you to hug your partner, or to pet your dog, or to try that watercolor course you’ve been thinking of. That’s not what it’s for. You probably do need one, however, to remind you to pick up vacuum cleaner bags when you’re at the store, or to write that email that might open a few doors for you, or to send thus-and-so the invoice for last month.

Everybody has a life that needs organized. Productivity systems are for THAT. Not to drain the joy and freedom for our lives, but rather to multiply it. And the more of the mundane stuff that you can put in a system, the less your head is going to bring it up right when you’re trying to be present, in the moment, and fully alive.

When I discussed this with Lisa, here were her thoughts: “A productivity system is as important to our peace as is exercise or meditation. You CANNOT be at peace while carrying all of that garbage around in your head—it will just wake you up at 3 AM and remind you of all of the balls you’ve dropped.

“I don’t need my productivity system so I can be more productive. I need it so I can be more creative, more present, and more at peace. My system is at the core of my sanctuary practice.”

So there is it is, right from the… well… right from Lisa herself. 😂 

So how much of this is resonating with you? Do you have a productivity system you can trust where all of your commitments are collected and organized, or are you drowning in a sea of to-dos, sticky notes, dropped balls and missed deadlines? 

If the latter is you, let Lisa and I be a resource for you. This is an important part of how we can help make our world a little more harmonious, filled with a bit more sanctuary.

My very best,


PS I write a short, sometimes irreverent daily email about creativity, productivity, and the like where this post appeared in protean form—Have a look here and sign up if it speaks to you.


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