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A Productivity Tip From Taoism

Achieving productivity and flow are two reasons why leadership is important in an organization.

Photo by kazuend on Unsplash


This week's post starts with a confession. The headline is a lie. This week's tip isn't about productivity. It's about flow. But productivity sells right now so I cheated 😆

But, don't worry. This tip might (probably will) make you more productive. And it is rooted in Taoism, but that's not the point.

Let's take a step back.

Taoism is an ancient Chinese philosophy based on the writings of Lao-tzu, advocating humility and piety.

Now I can hear you shouting? "So what has this got to do with coaching Stephen? Lao-tzu lived in the 6th century BC!!"

To which I say, "I'm impressed at your knowledge of ancient philosophical figures". But not that surprised. I mean, you do read my blogs so you're clearly a smart cookie.

The reason why the writings of Lao-Tzu are still talked about is that they contain a lot of eternal wisdom. One of the concepts of Taoism is "wu wei", which can be translated as "effortless action".


And you can apply that to your work right away.

Here's what you're going to do.

Next time you sit down to work, you are going to forget having a plan for the day. What you're going to do is think, "what do I feel like doing right now?"

Then, do that.

Once that's done, ask yourself the question, "what do I feel like doing right now?" Then, do that. Keep repeating the process until you get to the end of the day. Don't worry about should do, ought to do or feel guilty about not doing. Just keep doing what you feel like doing.

When you get to the end of the day, look back and see how that was for you. I guarantee you will have been more productive, but that's still not really the point.

What matters is that you'll have spent the day in flow. You'll have satisfied yourself from moment to moment. And you'll have enjoyed all of your work.

Now, I realise this requires a little leap of faith. It seems counter-intuitive to the way we're conditioned.

But there's ancient wisdom in this approach, which is also backed up by modern psychological understanding. So why not give it a go?

Just dive right in and go with the flow.

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