5 components of the winning productivity

Voltaire - best philosopher in austere times notes and queries

Simplifying our schedule and work environment are first steps in gaining our productivity back. Hence, staying productive and turning it into a habit, requires also a work from our side. Here, I propose few approaches that can help you become and stay productive.

Prioritize three main tasks.

In this digital age, when technology is conquering every inch and second of our life, many people use to-do lists to stay organized. What really counts is the intention we put behind our planning. No to-do list or planning is effective unless we act upon it: strategically and efficiently. In other words, pile of things you schedule yourself to do with a reminder  that will beep somewhere in the background can only make you more nervous and anxious.

First thing you can do to increase your productivity at work is two prioritize three main tasks you need to do for the next day. The best thing is to write them down, before sleep. In that sense you are putting yourself forward, intentionally preparing your mind for the things that need to be done next day. Late dr Wayne Dyer used to call that “let your ideas marinate over night”.

Become an early riser.

If there are any parts of your life you would like to improve – squeezing in some time for exercising, eating healthier or simply stop being late all the time, you need to start building your morning routine, one that focuses around your needs.

Do less important and repetitive tasks when your productivity is low.

Observe yourself: note at which times your attention and concentration levels are not at their best and do tasks that don’t require that much of your energy.

Kill that nagging perfectionist inside.

No matter how good we are at our work, efficient and reliable, many people simply are never satisfied we the work they produce. But this not affecting only them, but also the people they work with. I had a colleague that what ever she was doing, she did it at such slow pace, the rest of us would always need to wait for her to finish report, to come at the meeting on time and ext. Her work was good, yet she was never satisfied, always in need to correct, add, erase…you get the picture. Now, I’m not the proponent of sloppy work, but at some point you need to put the limits and say “This is good enough – for the conditions, resources, time given – I produced a hell of good job!” – Instead of  terrorizing yourself inside with achieving unreachable perfection for never-ending goal!

Take meaningful breaks.

Take enough rest during your working hours since it can help you feel energized during the day. Instead of stressing about the things you still need to do, try to reflect upon the things you’ve already done: that sense of relief and gratitude for the things you already did, will set you on the right foot for other things ahead of you.

Why sit ye idly dreaming all the day,
While the golden, precious hours flit away?
See you not the day is waning, waning fast?
That the morn’s already vanished in the past?

When the glowing noon approaches, we will rest
Who have worked through all the morning; but at best,
If you work with zeal and ardor till the night,
You can only make the wasted moments right.

Think you life was made for dreaming, nothing more,
When God’s work lies all unfinished at your door?
Souls to save and hearts to strengthen–ah! such work,
Such a richly freighted labor, who would shirk?

Then arise, O idle dreamer! Dreams are sweet,
But better flowers are growing at your feet.
If you crush, or pass unheeding, idle friend,
You shall answer for their ruin in the end.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox


How to ‘stage’ your environment for a productive creativity

richard bach

There are two essential elements in every creative process: time and space. Considering time – we all have the same amount of time in one day. And I couldn’t agree more with the saying: “We manage activities, not time.” When it comes to creative process, as described in some of my previous articles, the moment when a creative outburst will happen is sometimes unpredictable: it’s up to us to be responsive and adaptive to it; turn on our antennas and pick up the signals of creativity as it comes along.

This second element, is one that we have even more control over: space. We make or clutter our space – for anything we do. In this article I go in length about the importance of simplicity for a productive usage of time and executing our tasks. Clean, minimalistic space is a prerequisite in my opinion for developing a fertile conditions for a productive creativity. Removing distractions: visual, acoustic and physical clutter is often an overlooked reason why we procrastinate, don’t react upon given creative urge.

You know the situation: you have an interesting idea, but you have some chores to do, you can’t find paper and pencil to write it down, then you think like “OK, I’ll get to it later”…but later never comes and the creative impulse is gone. Decluttered space gives us the chance to be proactive with our ideas, ready like an alert athlete on the start line to “run” our creative race with best results.

There is an intrinsic relationship between what you do and the place you work. Room that is stuffed with unnecessary things, desk with piles of paper, books, gadgets that we don’t need for our momentary work can bring tension and anxiety and in times acts as an obstacle to our creativity.

But that’s not all. Cleaning your desk and purging stuff is the easy part. Emotional baggage that we all carry and our psychological clutter is also something we need to “clean” from time to time.

Zen masters often refer to something that’s called “a beginner’s mind”. A beginner’s mind is open to many possibilities while expert mind recognizes only few. Now, I try to approach this philosophy from two angles. One, is to be open-minded as much as possible and try somehow to avoid previous experiences to block our view of possible creative processes:

“I’ve tried this one, it didn’t work!”

“It’s out of my reach!”

“I don’t have the skills to do this”…

That kind of internal dialogue should be turned off and we need to detach from previous experiences – especially the bad ones. In a way is a “de-conditiong” the psyche, which allows you to reconnect with your true nature. The second angle of tackling this topic is living in the present moment, without dwelling on the past and future which can distract you from your direction in the creative process.

It’s interesting to note that many writers and creatives have faced creativity block throughout their life. During the most of the 1910s, Rilke had suffered from a severe depression. In the early 1920’s he moved to  Switzerland, where he meets Werner Reinhart, a merchant that acted as his patron.  He purchased Château de Muzot in Veyras, a thirteenth-century manor, (no gas or electricity) to support Rilke to live there rent-free and focus on his work. Rilke closed himself for days, where without any distractions coming from the outer world, he wrote Sonnets to Orpheus and completed the Duino Elegies in “a savage creative storm” as he used to say, during three weeks in February 1922.

Starting form scratch with your creative work, you need open, clear, bright space (both physically and in your mind) to focus on your raw elements and possible arrangement patterns. Your attention needs to be hostage-free from any distraction, noise, stuff intruders and information pollution. This will increase your chances for innovative thinking, your ability to recognize the opportunity that will not hide behind the curtain of unnecessary things. Being adaptive in dealing with surprise is being able to take advantage of serendipitous, potentially valuable ideas.

The Sonnets To Orpheus: Xix  by Rainer Maria Rilke

Though the world keeps changing its form
as fast as a cloud, still
what is accomplished falls home
to the Primeval.

Over the change and the passing,
larger and freer,
soars your eternal song,
god with the lyre.

Never has grief been possesed,
never has love been learned,
and what removes us in death

is not revealed.
Only the song through the land
hallows and heals.


9 questions to ask yourself to know if your creative flow is on the right track


The moment after you had your breakthrough idea, what happens? Sometimes, with steady persistence we continue on refining our creative solution, we try to implement our idea and sometimes the idea bulb turns on just in another minute to disappear in open air like a deflated balloon.

Why do we give up on some ideas?

In my experience, answer might be hidden among these statements:

  1. I lack discipline and persistence (which might be due to distractions, preoccupation with other things or even due to health reason – simply you don’t feel good).
  1. It requires more effort from my side than I thought. Certain things ask for constant investment of our time, money, energy.. it just seems too difficult, especially if it’s not ‘a one time thing’ but it needs some kind of repetition and maintenance.
  1. The end goal is not clear. What do I want to achieve? What’s the value of what I’m doing? If we don’t recognize an instant gratification, it’s a rather a creativity killer than inspirational flow of ideas.
  1. And the all time famous: fear of failure. “It will not work, I can’t do it, because…” endless reasons we find why we don’t keep up with implementing our idea. Self-doubt is also one of those thirsty worms that creeps into our mind and simply sucks out any creative optimism we might have!

I have found that once I manage to connect my creative pursuits with what I want to achieve goes beyond my own satisfaction and gratification, has meaning and contributes to something larger than myself, I’m more motivated and I manage to put aside all reasons why not to do something.

Now, to keep on track creative project I ask myself simple questions:

  1. Who else can benefit from my work (is it community or business oriented, for example)?
  2. What’s the purpose of my idea (solution, project..)?
  3. Do I have all the resources that I need?
  4. Is what I do, in alignment with who I am and my beliefs?
  5. How can I simplify the process (solution)?
  6. Am I focused enough, or are there any distractions I can remove in order to be more concentrated?
  7. What action I can implement to move forward with my project?
  8. Does it bring me joy and fun?
  9. Does my idea foster beauty and harmony (how does it appeal to senses, what kind of atmosphere it produces)?

You know, when I started this blog a few months ago, I was thinking: “You are crazy, you are starting a  blog about poetry, literature and writing and you don’t have a degree in literature or English language. English language is not even your mother tongue!” Yet I wanted to share my amazement about the benefits that poetry brought into my life. So I began to cheer myself: “But I do know about creativity. I do know about the business and management. I am a creative person. I tried many different things. People can learn from me. And I can learn from them.”

So, “Business in Rhyme” was born and I have even more passion to write about the connection of creativity and poetry than at the beginning. There is still much what I want to share, contribute and learn – it’s a journey I’m looking forward to.

How do you keep your creative flow on track?

”There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
‘I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.’
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.”  

~Shel Silverstein

5 tips to make the most of your creative project


When we are facing an important project ahead (especially creative one), with lot of distractions around us, it might be hard to achieve desired goals. Hence, with a little bit of effort and better planning, prospects on finishing our project in time with desired outcome are more realistic.

These are my 5 top tips on getting the most out of your creative project:

1.Get your priorities straight

For the time you plan to be involved in the project, try to clear up your schedule as much as possible. You will definitely need some breathing space for setting the right mood for work, relaxation and creative action! So think of any activities that for time being you can let go, delegate, postpone in order to give yourself enough room to just be yourself: not having the obligation to keep so many things on your mind (+ doing them) will keep you less distracted and more open for creative flow of ideas.

2. Plan ahead for your creative needs

What I mean by this is try to plan in advance anything you might need for your creative project: supplies, materials, books, tools. In this category can also fall your “basic physiology”: simplify your cooking and shopping routine, stock up your cupboards and pantries so you don’t get overwhelmed with usual questions ”What’s for dinner, mom?” while you are in the middle of executing your crazy and phenomenal idea!

3.Pamper yourself

Don’t forget to allow yourself little pleasures during your creative rush: remember to spare quality time for your friends, family, for a hot bath and a warm cocoa with your favorite book. It’s a wonderful way for you to “recharge your batteries” once you feel your creative inspiration slows down. These daily candid intersections are also irreplaceable sources of energy you need.

4.Find a group of like minded creatives that can cheer you up along the way

These can be very beneficial – having someone to talk to about what you are going through, that can appreciate your needs, answer some of your questions and share your doubts and fears. It can be our helping hand in moments when we hit creative block and  lack confidence to move forward. This group doesn’t even have to be in person: joining online forums and chat groups where we can share our ideas and progress can give us a creative boost in times we need the most.

And the last and maybe the most important:

5. Get enough ‘Zzzzzzz’

Sleep. Essential and simple as it sounds, in my personal experience is the prerequisite for any work I want to be delivered with quality and on time. It energizes you, keeps you fit mentally and physically. It can be of special importance for people who like to work early in the morning (like me), because then the mind is at its clearest state and highly focused.

Do you have any special rituals to keep your creativity at working level? Please, share in the comments bellow.

To Imagination – by Emily Jane Bronte

When weary with the long day’s care,
And earthly change from pain to pain,
And lost and ready to despair,
Thy kind voice calls me back again:
Oh, my true friend! I am not lone,
While thou canst speak with such a tone!

So hopeless is the world without;
The world within I doubly prize;
Thy world, where guile, and hate, and doubt,
And cold suspicion never rise;
Where thou, and I, and Liberty,
Have undisputed sovereignty.

What matters it, that, all around,
Danger, and guilt, and darkness lie,
If but within our bosom’s bound
We hold a bright, untroubled sky,
Warm with ten thousand mingled rays
Of suns that know no winter days?

Reason, indeed, may oft complain
For Nature’s sad reality,
And tell the suffering heart, how vain
Its cherished dreams must always be;
And Truth may rudely trample down
The flowers of Fancy, newly-blown:

But, thou art ever there, to bring
The hovering vision back, and breathe
New glories o’er the blighted spring,
And call a lovelier Life from Death,
And whisper, with a voice divine,
Of real worlds, as bright as thine.

I trust not to thy phantom bliss,
Yet, still, in evening’s quiet hour,
With never-failing thankfulness,
I welcome thee, Benignant Power;
Sure solacer of human cares,
And sweeter hope, when hope despairs!

Simplicity – the ultimate sophistication of your work


Once Jane Austine said that life has turned into a “succession of busy nothings” and unfortunately I have found a lot of truth in her words. We often forget what really matters and get caught in petty, trivial things that deplete our time and energy. About 2 years ago, I took a radically different approach to my life – mostly provoked by my health issues. I began to simplify and minimalise everything I could – from physical stuff, what and how I eat, my everyday habits, what kind of thoughts and conversations I “consume” and interesting – beside the momentary benefits like feeling more free, relaxed and lighter (in every sense!) a need for poetry was born again. And I truly believe in the saying “Less is more”, where minimalism and poetry enriched my life on so many levels.

Today I will not speak much of a poetry, but rather I will try to share my tips and views on simplification, which can help in your writing, work or business; to find what really matters, prioritize and do more of the things you love. In the long run, you will feel more content and accomplished.

1.Learn to say no and cut down on meetings

I know we usually want to please everybody, but try to analyze your obligations more clearly and think: are all those meetings, tasks and chores really necessary? Today? What can’t wait? What can you delegate? What requires your personal, undivided attention? Once you manage to clear your schedule (just a little bit :-)) you will be more productive on the things that really do matter.

2.Take digital sabbatical when ever you can

According to International Association of Business Organizing a typical U.S. worker is interrupted by communications technology every 10 minutes. It’s a productivity killer and developing habits of focusing at a priority task is of vital importance in gaining time –which is your most valuable asset.

3.Find business processes you can automate

This is especially important in our business culture – everything requires approval, signature ext. Sharing files and templates among coworkers can help reduce incoming e-mail and paper jams.

4. Lean is the new black

Once you set your priorities, try to find any gaps where you can develop your own shortcuts to make processes lean as possible. Focus your resources on the things that matter the most.

5. Go paperless

Don’t get me wrong: I know, for the writer this one can be really hard.

I personally love the smell and the sound of lisp paper.

I love having blisters on my fingers from extensive handwriting.

I like to taint my fingers with blue ink – nevertheless there are possibilities for us to cut down the paper work and therefore the clutter accumulating on our desk and in our drawers. I’ve included here this simple info-graphic with tips and tricks to help you along the way:


6.Adopt the Zen productivity mindset.

This idea is from Leo Babauta’s phenomenal blog Zen habits, where he proposes for us actually to put limits and strict rules on everything:

Besides forcing you to focus on essential tasks that have a large Return on Investment (ROI), it forces you to eliminate the non-essential tasks. No other system forces you to do that. It forces you to make the best use of your time. It forces you to limit the time you spend on things, which means you have more time for other things that are important to you, and you are able to focus on what you want to focus on, instead of everything coming at you. It simplifies your life and makes you less stressed out.

In a nutshell, limit yourself how many tasks a day you are going to execute; do one task at a time – and put rules on repetitive tasks – like, you will check your e-mail only twice a day. It’s an edgy idea but worth a try.  In my post What writing haiku taught me about business the notion of simplicity also came forth, but we can always challenge ourselves even further.

7.Cut the the weeds at their root.

It’s so easy to go back to the old habits. Once you realize you are starting to overcomplicate things again, go back to the rules. Adopting minimalism as an entrepreneurial mindset takes time and effort. Once you see the benefits, “busy nothings” will dissolve by themselves.

But I say unto you,

Take this stuff just as a stuff;
Movement is movement;
Sitting is sitting,
but don’t wobble
under any circumstances!
My stuff has turned into a dragon
and swallowed up the whole world.
Where are the poor mountains and rivers and great earth now?

Yun-men Wen-yen, (Ummon), 864-949



4 Ideas to supercharge your productivity – the poet way


Frankly speaking, this is one of my traits and habits that I’ve never struggled with. Even from my early years in school, I was always efficient, on time and productive. Most of the time I managed to do several things at once, but always kept an eye open not to sacrifice the quality of work I’m doing. When I look back, I think that my poetic inclinations have contributed to developing of my productive skills. So, here are my top 4 tricks to keep my productivity levels high:

Think from the end about the task at hand!

The first thing I do is that I always imagine how good I will feel when I finish my task – meaning reducing stuff I need to do (being project, work or house related); how it will give me more time to do things I love – like writing this blog or working on a new poem. It goes with an encouraging thought that later develops into an encouraging process – getting things done brings joy and relaxation.

Amuse and reward yourself for any task you do!

Every task, no matter how tedious you can make more intriguing and fun. I like to invent little games along the way and when I’m satisfied with the outcome I treat my self – with some extra time for reading, having chat with a friend and ext. Element of surprise is something that brings humor, loosens the tension and stress. We are all aware that it’s impossible always to follow the schedule, that little things pop-up out of our control – see them as an inspiration, a learning opportunity for you to be more adaptive to uncommon situations. I sometimes even write little poems where I joke about these tricky uncertainties of life – and it’s a perfect opportunity for us to become more responsive. Predictability is a mood killer and is our choice to game up our working hours.

If you have to repeat, don’t get stuck in defeat!

Any chore you can treat like the most beautiful poem chorus. Repetitive tasks can be tiring and feeling like it sucks out all of our life energy. But again, remember it’s an essential part of keeping life balance and work flow – like the chorus in the poem or a song: it gives meaning to that art expression; it’s base from which starts new adventure in the coming strophe.

Finding your daily beat keeps your productivity in shape and fit!

In order to master your productivity you have to observe yourself first. When you are most productive? What activities give you the most pleasure? Take advantage of those activities for setting the right mood and build momentum you need for finishing things up. Once you find what works for you best, try turning it into a habit. Don’t forget to have fun along the way because in reality – we don’t manage time: we all have the same amount of time in a day; we manage activities and there is your chance to transfer your day into an epic story.

For your further inspiration enjoy the verses:

The butterfly counts not months but moments,
and has time enough.


Time is a wealth of change,
but the clock in its parody makes it mere change and no wealth.


Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time
like dew on the tip of a leaf.

– Rabindranath Tagore





3 tips to skyrocket your creativity at work


There are many ways how companies try to encourage creativity at work. Office furniture and desk organizations with thinking areas and “green zones” with fountains  aim to offer relaxing atmosphere for employees to jump-start their innovative thinking. But sometimes that’s not enough. You know those days when  you simply get stuck and nothing new comes out? You have a deadline and work just piles up and you don’t manage anything to finish?

Innovation is the building block of any business and as we nurture our bodies with food and drink we need to nurture our mind with adequate thought food. In order to awaken our hidden talents and bring forth our skills that can be beneficial both to us and our company, what our mind “consumes” can be of key importance for sparking our creativity.

These are three tips that can help your creative mind to work:

1.Get visual

Colors, shapes, perspective – can literally influence how you perceive your ideas and work. When feeling uninspired and discouraged, disrupt your thinking with some relaxing photos of different landscapes, displaying different colors, locations, architecture, cultures. For instance, exposure to both blue and green in the study performed by Ravi Mehta and Rui (Juliet) Zhu  has been shown to enhance performance on tasks that require generating new ideas. However, the color red has been linked with superior performance on tasks involving attention to detail.

2.Get verbal

In an intriguing book (What poetry brings to business – which also inspired this blog) Claire Morgan argues that language and different perspective on the value and purpose of language can boost surge of creative ideas.

She proposes looking, for instance, at the phrase colorless green ideas sleep furiously conjured by language theorist Noam Chomsky.

The phrase itself has no meaning or value. Some people would consider it’s pure nonsense. The words colorless and green oppose each other – creating notion of irrationality in the mind.

But in the game of language and poetry the phrase could make sense.

Think in the realm of series interlinked questions:

Is the green colorless?

Can sleep have a speed?

Can idea sleep?

Does idea have a color?

Maybe we can analyze the phrase green ideas like something new, yet to be born, to mature, but still invisible to us, colorless?

Furiously, breaking their path towards us, to be revealed and captured, but they are still sleepy in some corner of our mind, or ideas are keeping us awake, furious, while we try to sleep?

Interpretations are endless, with two opposing things, excluding each other, yet forcing us to find meaning, logic, purpose, connection, conclusion.. These associations evoke emotions and images that generate ideas.

So next time try to formulate your problem in the form of a riddle, searching for non-existing meanings. New ideas will begin to flow in and this is a fundamental way how poetry works.

3.Get physical

Engaging in any physical activity can help us generate more creative ideas. In the study “Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking” conducted by Stanford University authors document that creativity is improved by physical exercise. The study found that walking indoors or outdoors similarly boosted creative inspiration. The act of walking itself, and not the environment, was the main factor. Across the board, creativity levels were consistently and significantly higher for those walking compared to those sitting.

In your next search for inspiration, go for a brisk walk, do some stretching or light yoga for work. Giving your neurons more space and time to breath, you will feel more relaxed and eager to solve any problem.