Productivity does not need to be hard. Hard work does not define success, nor real productivity. Success as we tend to define it does not often equal happiness, either. Perhaps if we stop implying that hard work and success are required before we can be happy, we can be happy as we work and become successful, and we can do it with more ease.

Of course, our current definitions for success are often not rooted in what really makes us happy, like honoring our true values. But then, that’s another conversation for another time. We have many words in our culture that carry a connotation that limits our true potential and ultimately our “productive” productivity. Here are some other examples:

Disappointment: It does not need to be experienced as “shame” or “painful.” Einstein is to have said that he learned more from his mistakes than his successes. Edison is supposed to have failed thousands of times before he found what we was looking for. What if he had quit for fear, failure, or “looking bad”? We may never have heard of him, and he would have faded into the abyss of time.

Failure: As in number one, how about seeing it as realizing what doesn’t work, reflecting on what you can learn, and attempting it again. You will make life easier for yourself by not wasting your energy agonizing over negative feelings.

Mistake: How about seeing the situation as “(A) Miss Take” as in a movie director needing to re-do a scene: “Take One, Take Two.” Just rethink it and try again differently.
Get the point? It’s all in the perception, the meaning that culture has assigned to the word. It’s more of a connotation than the denotation that is the problem. We could flip it on the side of growth and learning instead of fear, shame and limitation, and we’d all be better off. How?

We’d be more adventurous with a growth-and-learning mindset instead of a fear-based “stay in the box” mindset that encourages people to avoid mistakes, failure, and disappointment. So what? You made a mistake or have some disappointments. Disappointment hasn’t killed me, neither have mistakes or failure. In fact, they just make me dig in more, build my mind muscle, and develop more perseverance and persistence. These two traits have made the difference in my life, along with courage, more than anything else in terms of personality traits when it comes to achieving success.

I choose to learn from my experiences, not worry about “looking good.” Leadership requires courage. How else will we learn if we don’t even make an attempt? If we don’t try again? If we don’t slow down, reflect, and figure out where we are going and what does not work? When we learn how to retrain our brain regarding how we perceive negative words and how they stop us in our productivity and innovation tracks, we can really begin to tap more of our true potential.

Sometimes to be more productive with less effort will require us to do new and different things, to leave our comfort zone. There are a couple of other ingredients I will mention that you can do starting today even before rewiring the connotation of your perceptions.

When it comes to “productivity with greater ease,” try these ideas on for size:

Start reflecting on what is important to you and why. The clearer you are regarding your values and purpose, the more likely you will develop your feelings of passion for your work in the world, whatever it is.

Only do those things that run through your “purpose filter.” Ask yourself, “Is this purposeful for me?” If not, get it off of your to-do list and stop letting others put things on your list that do not belong there.

Envision your outcomes in full sensory detail before you get busy with your “massive action.” Most of what people are calling productivity is just activity. They are throwing things up against the wall in the hopes that something sticks. This is a real waste of time, energy, and money. Don’t I know this “miss-take.”

Let some of the “how” simply show up. In other words, once you have envisioned your end result in alignment with your purpose and values, ask yourself questions and listen for inner guidance. You probably don’t know what you don’t know. Let the Universe bring you some fresh insights.

Last, but not least, take good care of yourself. It’s not about time management as much as it really is about energy management. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night, exercise, and eat healthy. Your body is a magnificent gift. Honor it. Ironically, you will have more time when you are also integrating rest, restoration, and reflection time into your routines.

For more productivity with greater ease, pull out ahead of the masses, the crowd, and take the road less traveled. If you want an abundant, WHOLE life, you need to develop yourself first in a way that is whole – holistic – by leading with the brain in mind and understanding how perception creates blind spots. Be a leader who actually leads. Retrain your brain, and then your spirit can shine through to the world a whole lot easier.

Author's Bio: 

Valencia Ray, M.D. teaches business owners and corporate leaders how their amazing brain can actually hijack personal power -- not in the abstract, but in the context of integrating business and personal life. Dr. Ray, a board-certified eye surgeon and medical business owner for over 20 years before selling her practice, shares her own life changing process. By sharing her story, she helps others to expand their vision and learn that by living with purpose and confidence, it is possible to have a more integrated, healthier lifestyle – with less struggle, more inner peace and more abundance.

For more information and to contact her regarding dynamic, inspirational keynotes, trainings in collaborative leadership and team building, entrepreneurship and coaching programs, visit her website at