3 secret ingredients of productivity

Before we examine the factors that impact on your productivity in detail, let’s take a moment to think about what it means to be productive in the workplace.

Being productive is more than just being busy. You’ve no doubt had days when you were busy all day but, at the end of the day, felt as if you hadn’t actually achieved anything. I know I have.

Work is something we do with intent. It has a purpose. It’s not just a way of passing the time. You generally don’t get paid for that.

Being productive at work or in your own business is about getting things done that you want to get done for a specific reason, and I don’t mean so you’ll get paid. That’s a by-product of being productive.

Contrary to what many people think, business is about service. It’s about producing goods and providing services that others need or want. If you’re being productive, then what you are doing is contributing to either the production or delivery of those goods and services. When you’re not being productive, then, basically, you’re not contributing.

If you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re interested in contributing by being productive in your chosen field, and that you want to be as productive as possible. After all, we live in a society that rewards people for being productive, and there’s nothing wrong with being paid for making a contribution.

As I mentioned in the overview, there are a lot of factors that can either help or hinder your efforts to be productive. There are three other things though, what we might call the three secret ingredients, that are more important than all of those factors: awareness, purpose and action.

3 secret ingredients


You can’t do anything about things of which you are not aware. You can probably recall a time when someone at school stuck a sign on another student’s back as an April Fool’s joke. It was a laugh for everyone – except for the poor person totally unaware of the sign. You don’t want to be that person in the workplace.

The focus of this book is on helping you bring things into awareness, so that you can (1) assess their impact on your productivity, and ( 2) do something about them.


It’s important to be aware of the purpose of your work. If you don’t know what it is that you are working to achieve everyday you’re not likely to be very productive.

Before reading on, take some time to identify the purpose of your work. This might take a moment or it may require a little research. You may need to review your vision or think about articulating one for your business, or you may need to read your duty statement or job description.

I’ll come back to purpose in the chapters on attitude and knowledge, but I suggest you stop and answer the appropriate question below before reading the next chapter.

  • If you’re an employee; what is it that you’re being paid to do each day?
  • If you’re self employed; why do you get up and go to work every day?


There is no point in knowing all there is to know about being productive if you don’t take action, and not just any action. If you want to be productive you need to take action aligned with your purpose.

This is a draft of material that will eventually appear in Everyday Productivity, the next title in my Everyday Business Skills books. Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing a series of Everyday Productivity posts, and providing you with an opportunity to download a free copy of the workbook to complete the exercises designed to help you get the most out of the content. Please feel free to offer feedback in the comments.

Peter Mulraney has forty years experience working in schools, banking, and government. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Living your life on purpose

Expanding love is the purpose of the soul. How the soul goes about doing that colours the life purpose of its manifestations in form – us.

It doesn’t actually matter what you choose to do as your life’s work – it can always be infused with the soul’s purpose of expanding love.

The challenge is allowing the soul to inform you how to live your life as a servant of its purpose, while you’re doing what you have chosen as your life’s work.

Once you tune into the voice of the soul, it doesn’t take long before you realise some of the hows of the way you have been living your life do not fit in with the soul’s purpose. That’s why you get those little uneasy feeling when you do something that you know is not expanding love in any shape or form.

When you choose to align your living with the soul’s purpose it impacts on everything you do. You start to relax and let go of your need to control everyone and everything. You give up being the general manager of the universe.

You also give up your goal of attaining more stuff at any expense, and start to appreciate that your store of love is inexhaustible. You discover that you can keep giving it away for free, with no strings attached, without ever running out.

You start seeing all others as people of equal value and not just as functionaries delivering your wants and needs. You no longer need to be a grump or to treat people rudely just because they’re different or to simply get your way. You stop pushing your agenda and start living from the heart.


This is a whole new dimension of living your life on purpose. This is a step beyond working out what your passion is. The soul doesn’t mind whether you think your passion is climbing mountains or working with kids. What the soul asks is that you use your passion as a vehicle for expanding love.

When you start listening to the soul you make different choices in how you go about living. You realise that violence is never the answer to conflict at either a personal or international level. You choose to de-escalate issues instead of escalating them into fights or arguments. You become the one who smiles, instead of rages, when someone cuts you off in traffic. You become the one who pauses to breathe and centre yourself, instead of the one reacting angrily out of habit, when someone blames you for something.

You live from your authentic self and stop living behind the mask of your self image.

Sometimes it’s difficult to follow the quiet voice of the soul when all around us, and on the nightly news, we see evidence of a world riven with strife and violence. That’s why reluctant mystics are a people of faith. We have faith that the soul’s purpose will manifest itself in our world, and we know that’s what we are here for.

Thanks for dropping by, Peter

No ordinary moments

All of us live a life composed of moments. One moment follows another, from the moment of birth to the moment of death.

Most of us, given the media coverage of today’s heroes and celebrities, believe we live ordinary lives. We might have the occasional special moment, like getting married, the birth of a child, launching a business venture or retiring after forty years in the workforce, but in the main, we see our lives as routine.

But routine does not necessarily mean ordinary.

Your life is ordinary only if you think it has no meaning. When you come to understand that your life has meaning, there are no ordinary moments. Every moment is a gift from your soul, as it guides you home.

Most of us are living life on cruise control, so we don’t notice what the soul is up to – until it presents us with a moment that really gets our attention.

The soul likes to nudge us towards our purpose, but we are an insensitive or reluctant lot, and sometimes we need more than a gentle nudge to shift our awareness. Sometimes we need a push or a jolt. Sometimes, like St Paul, we need to be thrown off our horse.

Some of us need to be thrown off our horse many times, because we insist on getting back on the same horse.

If we are awake to it, we are all on the hero’s journey. 

Be careful here, I’m talking about real heroes, not the pseudo heroes of the sports field or movie fame, but the hero as the person living life authentically.

We all know about the hero’s journey. It’s the basis of many stories and movies. One of the best examples of the conscious use of the hero’s journey, as mapped out by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, is the Star Wars series.

If you stay on your horse or within your comfort zone, you can’t start the hero’s journey. 

That’s why the soul keeps nudging you, and you feel restless or dissatisfied with your life situation. For some of us, that nudging is enough to start us on the journey – several times.

Eventually, the soul presents us with an experience that we find difficult to ignore – our lover leaves, we lose our job, our business fails, we crash our car, our house is robbed, we get a serious illness or break a leg.

You get the picture, and if you’re awake enough when it happens, you might recognise the experience for what it is: a call to move out of your comfort zone, to get off the particular horse you’re riding at the time and set out on a different path – on a different horse.

Some of us resist the invitation to reflect on our life, to examine what we’ve been doing, to examine the things we believe to be the truth, to question what we’re here for, to take a new direction.

What’s going on in your life right now?

Are you at one of those moments when you’ve fallen from your horse?

I invite you to take a moment and have look, a real look.

Horse image



Don’t just get back on that horse.






Thanks for dropping by, Peter