procrastination | Steve's Quest: The Animated Musical Web Series

Dropping The “Make Or Break” Mentality

Here’s something that doesn’t make much logical sense.

I imagine that, at some point in your life, you worked on a task that felt really “make or break” to you.  Maybe it was a project for an important client at work, or perhaps you were a student and preparing to take a test worth a big share of your grade.  Whatever it was, your whole career seemed to depend on your success at it, and “failure was not an option.”

When Starting Is Not An Option

Have you ever noticed that these “make or break” projects are actually the ones you have the most trouble starting?  That, the more that seems to be “riding” on the outcome, the harder it is to make progress?

From a rational perspective, this is hard to understand.  You’d think we’d dive headfirst into a task we see as “mission critical.”  Isn’t that what all the motivational bestsellers tell us — that we need to “chase success as if our lives depend on it”?

But when we look at this issue from an emotional perspective, it starts to make sense.  After all, if I really believe that making a mistake in my project could “break” me or my career, that probably means I’m basing my sense of self-worth on how well I perform.

If my self-worth depends on how my work is received, of course I’m not going to start my project.  This is because, if I finish my task and present it to the world, I’ll run the risk that people will see what I’ve done as inadequate, and then I’ll have to feel inadequate.

I think this is one reason so many people seem to have a book they’ve been “meaning” to write, or a business they’ve been “planning” to start, for the last ten years.  They’re worried that, if they come out with a final product and others don’t appreciate it, they’ll stop appreciating themselves.

Being Okay With Our Non-Okayness

Now, it would be easy for me to say that “the solution is to be okay with yourself no matter what.”  But as I think you know, that’s not so easy in practice.  Building up our basic sense of “okayness,” in my experience, takes work, and there’s no “30-day miracle cure.”

One practice I’ve found simple and effective, though, is to watch carefully for moments when you’re basing your sense of self-worth on the results you get in your work.  When you notice yourself thinking this way, just acknowledge what’s going on, without trying to change it.  Simply admit to yourself:  “I’m worrying that, if people don’t approve of my work, I won’t approve of myself.”

When I do this, I often feel the sense of heaviness in my body dropping away, and find myself chuckling out loud.  When I look directly at the painful story I’m telling myself, rather than trying to push it aside or pretend it isn’t there, the light of my awareness tends to burn it away, like the sun burning off the clouds.

On a practical level, when I let go of the sense that a project can “make or break me,” and see it more as a chance to play and experiment, I find concentrating and finishing my work so much easier.

Embracing Writer’s Block, Part 5: Emptiness Is Fleeting

I do something kind of unusual when I’m writing.  (I know, shockingly enough.)  I keep a journal of what I’m feeling and thinking when I’m faced with writer’s block.

To an outside reader, this journal would probably seem painfully repetitive, because it talks about the same worries again and again.  Some common themes are:

* “I think I had the last decent idea of my life a few days ago, and the well has officially run dry.”

* “I’m not sure I have the brain cells left to do this kind of piece anymore.”

* “I’m never going to finish this article — I might as well delete it.”

Why would I want to keep an angst-filled journal like this?  Because I’m a masochist?

I’ve Been Through It All Before

Actually, this has been one of the most helpful techniques I’ve discovered in a while for staying focused and motivated as I write.  The fact that the journal sounds like such a broken record is really what makes it so helpful.

Why?  Because the goal of this journal is to remind me that, no matter how much hand-wringing I may be doing as I’m writing something, I’ve been through it before.  There’s no moment of blankness, doubt about the originality of what I’m saying, or concern that I’ve “lost my mojo” that I haven’t experienced in the past.

And yet, even in the face of those doubts and fears, I’ve managed to finish my piece.

On one level, this is simply a reminder that I have the strength to handle whatever writing-induced suffering I’m going through.  But at a deeper level, it’s a way to keep in mind that, just like every experience we have as human beings, that creative blankness we call writer’s block is fleeting.  It passes away quickly.

From Black Hole to Break Time

My sense, from looking inside myself and talking to people, is that a lot of the suffering we do around writer’s block happens when we worry that it will never go away.  That sense that we’re empty of ideas can actually be kind of scary — almost as if the emptiness might grow and swallow us up if we let it.

Naturally, many of us tend to write in fits and starts, running off to fold our socks or play Solitaire when the emptiness arises.  Unfortunately, when we write this way, we usually don’t make as much progress as we’d like.

But when we keep in mind that the emptiness is fleeting, those blank moments become so much easier to be with.  Instead of looking like a black hole threatening to devour us, that blankness starts to seem more like a welcome moment of rest before we unleash our creative energies again — just as our bodies naturally cycle between waking and sleeping.

I think “this too shall pass” is a great mantra for moments when we’re feeling creatively empty, just as it is in other parts of life.

Embracing Writer’s Block, Part 2: Content Needs Emptiness

I’ve written before about how it’s helpful, when you’re facing writer’s block, to just sit with that sense of creative emptiness, and allow it to pass away on its own — rather than beating yourself up for being uncreative, or distracting yourself from the emptiness by playing Minesweeper.  When we learn to just let the writer’s block be, instead of resisting it, we get more inspired and productive in what we do.

In this post, I want to expand on why this is.  One thing I often say is:  “If you can’t be with emptiness, you can’t be with content.”

Emptiness and Procrastination

What I mean is that, no matter what creative project you’re working on — whether you’re painting a picture, drafting a business plan, or something else — you’ll inevitably encounter moments when your mind feels empty of useful ideas.

Many people, in my experience, can’t bear those moments.  For them, staring at a blank screen, canvas, or other empty surface, is agonizing.  Because they know, consciously or not, that working on their project will involve empty moments, they find it easier to put the project off, or perhaps never to start in the first place.

So, because they can’t tolerate creative emptiness, they can’t generate the creative content they want to bring into the world.  It seems we need to get comfortable with emptiness if we want to make sustained progress in our work.  But how can we do this?

Why Is Blankness So Bad?

In my experience, it’s helpful to become aware of why emptiness is a problem for us.  When we closely examine the reasons why we see writer’s block as a threat, we often recognize that it isn’t so dangerous after all.

What I’ve found is that the fear of blankness is often driven by a sense of urgency.  We think “I’ve got to put my work ‘out there’ as quickly as possible.”  If you can relate, I invite you to ask yourself, in those anxious moments:  “What will happen if I don’t finish this project immediately?”

Often, the answer to this question is rooted in a desire to be seen and appreciated.  In other words, it comes from the ego.  “If I don’t finish this project, the world may never recognize my brilliance.  I may never get written up in the New York Review of Books.  I may ‘die with my music left in me.’”  And so on.

Now, I don’t mean to put down the ego — we all have one, and without some degree of concern for our own advancement we probably couldn’t survive.  But I do think it can impede our progress in our creative work.

Content Needs Emptiness

So, if you find this fear that you’ll “die with your music in you” arising, consider these questions:  what if it isn’t really “your” music at all? What if the ideas at the core of your project aren’t really “your” ideas?  What if you are simply an instrument on which the universe plays its music?

At a deeper level, what if you are not just the instrument, but also the music? What if you are not just a body, small and limited in time and space, but a limitless creative energy suffusing all that is — just as a wave on the ocean, in some sense, is the ocean?

If all this were true, why would a moment of blankness bother you?  A pause in a piece of music creates tempo and expectation — without space, music would be a confusing, unpleasant jumble of sounds.  Without emptiness, content cannot exist.

The next time writer’s block comes up for you, see if these questions help bring you peace and focus.

Work Consciously Audio Course Now Available

Ready to get off the “time management treadmill”?

You’ve tried all the usual productivity advice:  make to-do lists, reorganize your e-mail, color-code your folders, and so on.  You’ve probably bought more than enough books, CDs, planners, special notebooks, and “apps” as well.

So why do you still find yourself procrastinating, getting distracted, feeling anxious, and not making the kind of progress you want in your work?  Why does getting through your daily routine still seem like such a frustrating chore?

The answer goes deeper than planners and iPhone apps . . .

Although there’s a lot of sound advice out there, it usually doesn’t deal with the biggest obstacle we tend to face in getting our work done:  our own minds.  As I think you know from experience, arranging your e-mail subfolders in some fancy way won’t be enough to keep you on task if:

  • You keep getting to the end of the day, and feeling like you didn’t accomplish enough
  • You’re working from home, and it’s hard to stay on task when no one’s keeping tabs on you
  • You feel overwhelmed when you see a lot of items on your to-do list
  • Your mind keeps jumping around to all kinds of different ideas when you’re trying to focus on something
  • You struggle with a sense that you’ve got to do everything perfectly, or not do it at all
  • You have trouble starting a project you want to do, because you worry that it’s not going to be good enough
  • You have difficulty saying “no” to requests, and protecting your time, when you’re trying to do a task
  • You’re tired of beating yourself up and forcing yourself to work
  • You get bogged down in resentment, because it seems like people don’t appreciate what you do

Most of us are in the habit of running from uncomfortable feelings and sensations like these when they come up as we’re working.  To distract ourselves from them, we check e-mail, play Minesweeper, get up and pace around, or do something else.  Unfortunately — and this is key — when we distract ourselves from our discomfort, we also take our attention off our work.

What if, instead of running away from difficult emotions and sensations, you could learn to accept and allow them? What if you could choose to move forward in your work, even when discomfort is coming up?

That’s what the Work Consciously Audio Course is all about.

For thousands of years, mindfulness practices like meditation, yoga and qi gong have helped people learn to be with silence and discomfort, concentrate on one thing for a long time, and even find peace and joy doing it.  This program is about using practices like these “in real time” — while you’re at your desk doing a task — to stay focused and motivated as you work.

To get a sense of what this is about, next time you find yourself wanting to turn away from your work, pause instead, and notice what you’re feeling.  What kind of discomfort is there — tension, heat, itching, or something else?  Where is it in your body?

Now, see if you can keep breathing, relax your body, and just allow that discomfort to pass away on its own, without trying to fight it or flee from it.  Notice how, the more you welcome the uncomfortable feeling or sensation, without resistance, the easier it is to be with.

This is just a taste of the practices offered in the Work Consciously Audio Course.  In this program, you’ll learn how to:

  • Let go of anxiety that used to paralyze you in your work
  • Develop a longer attention span and feel less distractible
  • Stay focused even when you’re feeling the urge to procrastinate
  • Motivate yourself by getting in touch with your desire to contribute to the world
  • Return your attention to the present when it’s drifting off
  • Become aware of the unconscious ways you sabotage yourself in what you do
  • Set boundaries with others and protect the time you spend on your projects
  • Move through writer’s block, and even use it as a source of inspiration
  • Bring the “real you” into your work by letting go of the “work persona” you put on in what you do

What others have said

“I found Chris’s material in the course amazing!  And what I mean by that is the value that he provides, the wisdom he shares and the practical applications he leaves us with can literally transform our life and work.  And he does it all, with the most loving and authentic approach.”

- Evita Ochel, author of EvolvingBeings.com

“We all need some nudges along the way to keep our thinking, writing and designs fresh and refreshing.   The [Work Consciously Audio Course] is a good work out.”

Patricia Hamilton, author of PatriciasWisdom.com

And here’s some of the wonderful feedback I received about Inner Productivity:

“Chris Edgar has taken an exploratory dive into the procrastination pit and come up with a cogent explanation of this phenomenon as well as an elegant set of techniques to transcend it.  It’s a great read and a useful guidebook for turning the daily grind into something much more interesting and engaging.”

David Allen, bestselling author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Inner Productivity will show you how to clear your inner clutter and create a pathway to success!”

Marshall Goldsmith, bestselling author of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

“Real productivity doesn’t come from forced behaviors.  Inner Productivity can help you connect with the inner state of being that can empower you to act in new ways, choose new perspectives and have a different experience.  There is no greater productivity than connecting with your true self.”

Tama J. Kieves, bestselling author of This Time I Dance!: Creating the Work You Love (How One Harvard Lawyer Left It All to Have It All)

Inner Productivity is packed with practical examples of how to achieve greater results and peace of mind at work.”

Laura Stack, bestselling author of Leave the Office Earlier: The Productivity Pro Shows You How to Do More in Less Time . . . and Feel Great About It

“A wonderful guide for organizing both your physical and your head space.”

Peter Walsh, bestselling author of Enough Already!: Clearing Mental Clutter to Become the Best You

Download the introduction

To get a sense of what the course is all about, you can listen to the introduction here free of charge.  If you’d prefer to read it, you can view a text version here.  Whether you buy the program or not, I’m confident that just listening to this section will fundamentally shift the way you think about your work and what’s possible for you in it.

One unique part of this course is that, if you download the program, you’ll also receive a 100-page document with the entire text of the course.  If you prefer reading to listening, or you’d like to review the exercises you’ve done in written form, this will be an ideal resource.

Buy the course

The audio course is available for $24.95.  I’ve tried to keep it affordable because I want everyone, including people who want help getting through the job application process — and who benefit a lot, I’ve found, from my book Inner Productivity — to have access to this program.

You can buy the course using this PayPal button:

Buy Now

If you’re done with buying fancy gadgets and notebooks, and you want to really get to the source of what’s holding you back in your work, this is the program for you.  I think you’ll find this course will help you bring your creative gifts into the world, find the efficiency you want in your work, and even have some fun in what you do.

Wishing you the best in your work and elsewhere,

Chris Edgar

New Videos From My Public Talks

I want to share a few videos from a talk I gave recently at a job-seeking group.  I’ve revamped my “Transcending Procrastination” presentation to add some more techniques and ideas, and these videos offer some samples of the new content.  I hope you find them useful and fun.

In this first video, I talk about how to develop a longer attention span, and thus get more done in a single sitting in your work, by practicing holding your attention on your breathing or an object:

In the next video, I talk about how being able to say “no” to requests is an important part of staying focused and motivated in our projects.  Often, this is a matter of getting comfortable with the intense sensations that can come up when we refuse a request:

Here, I answer a question about dealing with job interview-related anxiety, discussing how useful it can be to find the place in your body where you’re feeling the nervousness or tension, and breathe into that place.  This can be helpful for anxiety in other situations as well:

Guest Post At The Change Blog: “Letting Go Of Your Ego At Work”

I’ve just published a guest post at The Change Blog called “Letting Go Of Your Ego At Work,” which addresses the puzzling question:  why is it that, when we’re doing something that’s deeply important to us, we actually tend to procrastinate the most?

I hope you enjoy it and that you had a great weekend.

The Yoga of Productivity, Part 2: Awareness and Allowing

In the last post in this series (over at Urban Monk), I talked about some yoga asanas, or poses, that can help us restore our focus and motivation as we work — without even getting up from our desks.  In this article, I’ll speak more generally about how yoga helps us develop what I call Awareness and Allowing — two capacities that are key to giving us the efficiency and enjoyment we want in what we do.

1.  Awareness. Almost immediately, when I started doing yoga, I became much more attuned to the sensations coming up in my body.  I noticed all this tension, tingling, heat and so on that I hadn’t been conscious of before.

Another thing I began to notice was that certain sensations would come up right before I’d find myself procrastinating or putting off a project.  I’d start getting this antsy, jittery feeling in my arms and legs, as if there were some danger I needed to run from, and then I’d find myself checking e-mail or pursuing some other distraction.

I eventually realized that I was putting off my work because I didn’t want to experience those antsy feelings.  Because I found those sensations disturbing and uncomfortable, I’d fallen into the habit of checking e-mail, surfing the Web or doing something else to distract myself from them.

Understanding that those jittery feelings were what I was trying to escape helped put my procrastination in perspective.  If discomfort in my body was really all I was running from, why was I running at all?  Wasn’t moving forward in my projects more important to me than avoiding those sensations?

Of course, yoga isn’t the only way to develop Awareness — you don’t need to learn to contort your body into a pretzel shape to be aware of the sensations you’re feeling.  :)  A simpler approach, in my experience, is to pause whenever you find yourself about to put off a task, and just bring your awareness into your body and notice what’s coming up.

2.  Allowing. If you’ve done yoga, I imagine you’ve had the experience of getting into a pose that involved a really deep stretch, and brought up intense sensations.  Perhaps you stayed in the pose, despite its intensity.  And when you did, you noticed the sensations becoming more comfortable and less threatening.

By Allowing, I mean just that — staying with an uncomfortable sensation that’s coming up, rather than resisting or fleeing from it.  This attitude of Allowing, I think, isn’t just for the time we spend on the yoga mat or the meditation cushion — it’s also very helpful in our working lives.

Suppose, for example, you’re working on a project and you start getting bored.  Most of us would react to that boredom by doing something to “take the edge off” — maybe playing a few hands of Solitaire on the computer, messing around on social media, and so on.

What if, instead, we chose to stay with that feeling — breathe, relax our bodies, and just allow the sensations to wash over us?  What if we decided, instead of pushing our boredom away, to get intimate and familiar with it?

The biggest benefit of learning to Allow the discomfort that comes up as we work is that it gives us control over our own schedules.  Most of us are like Pavlov’s Dogs, automatically turning away from our work whenever unpleasantness arises.  Developing the ability to drop our resistance to that unpleasantness, and keep moving forward, helps put us in charge of what and how much we get done.

Taking Back Your Self-Control

laura_branigan_-_self_control

(Yes, I couldn’t resist — if I wrote a post about self-control, I just had to pay tribute to the late, great Laura Branigan.)

Do you ever get the sense that some of your behaviors are beyond your control — that they “just happen,” as if you’re playing no part in them at all?

I know a few smokers, for instance, who say they’d love to quit, but they just keep “ending up smoking.”  They’ll be walking along or doing some task, and suddenly they’ll realize there’s a lit cigarette in their mouth.

But this doesn’t just happen to people who are addicted to nicotine or some other drug.  Some clients I’ve worked with, who came to me hoping to find more focus in their work, have said they just tended to “end up procrastinating.”  It’s as if their hand, of its own accord, keeps grabbing the mouse and opening that Minesweeper game.

Knowing Isn’t Enough By Itself

How do we take control over harmful behaviors that we just seem to “find ourselves” doing?  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be enough just to know that what we’re doing isn’t helpful.  Smokers can read hundreds of articles about the dangers of smoking, and procrastinators can learn 500 different “e-mail inbox hacks,” and often both stay locked in the same self-destructive patterns.

Many of us have read that habits like smoking and procrastination result from some “deeper issue” — maybe an emotional wound we’re carrying around that we’re trying to numb with our behaviors.  But just being aware of this doesn’t seem to do the trick either — simply knowing we’re “self-medicating” doesn’t take away our craving for a “fix.”

Watch For The Feeling

One insight I’ve picked up from spiritual teachings I’ve learned, as well as my own meditation practice, is that getting familiar with how we’re feeling, in that brief moment before we start doing the unwanted behavior, is more important than any intellectual understanding.  In other words, we need to notice the sensations coming up in our bodies when we’re just about to begin smoking, procrastinating, playing Freecell, or whatever it is we want to stop doing.

Because smokers and users of other drugs feel their cravings so intensely, it’s easier for them — if they’re willing to look — to understand what’s going on inside right before they reach for their drug of choice.  But even people with habits our culture considers less destructive — watching TV, compulsively shopping, or something else — will notice some telltale sensation before they’re about to indulge, if they watch carefully.  It may be something painful, or something subtler like tingling or twitching, but they’re almost certainly feeling something.

We find these sensations uncomfortable and want to get rid of them, and our destructive habits serve that purpose.  To a smoker, a cigarette relieves the burning emptiness they feel inside.  For a procrastinator, playing a hand of Solitaire releases the tension that comes up when they’re working.  And so on.

Buddhist teachers call these sensations sankharas, and say the best way to deal with our sankharas is simply to be aware of them and let them pass.  In other words, keep breathing, and let yourself fully experience the tension, heat, tingling, or whatever you’re feeling, without doing anything about it.  The more you do this, the more you come to realize that the sensations you’re feeling aren’t going to hurt you.  If you just let them be, they’ll pass away on their own.

When you learn to accept and even welcome these sensations, you become able to genuinely choose how you’ll live your life.  Rather than spending most of your time running from feelings you’d rather not experience, you become able to do what you want, even when those feelings come up.  When you’re in this mindset, the next time that burning curiosity about what’s in your e-mail inbox arises, you can simply tell it “thanks for sharing — and I’m going to finish up this project.”

Link Love

I recently had the good fortune to meet Wilma Ham, whose blog offers some great insights about communication and intimacy in relationships.

Inner Productivity (My New Book) Is Now Available

innerproductivity

I’m excited to announce that my new book, Inner Productivity: A Mindful Path to Efficiency and Enjoyment in Your Work, is now available in both paperback and Kindle format.

The book is a compilation of the techniques and perspectives I’ve successfully used to help people find—you guessed it—efficiency and enjoyment in their work.   The book approaches productivity from a unique angle, using insights from psychology and mindfulness practice to help you stay focused and motivated.

I’ll say more about the book, and give you a taste of what others have said, in this post.  More information about the book, including videos and interviews, is also available on a separate site I’ve created.

About The Book

As I’m sure you know, it’s one thing to bone up on all the productivity “tips and tricks” out there—learning creative ways to make to-do lists, declutter your desk, hold shorter meetings, and so on.  It’s quite another to actually stick with those techniques and make them work for you.

A major reason for this is that productivity techniques usually don’t address the biggest obstacle to getting our work done:  our own minds.  If you find yourself mentally replaying an argument with your spouse, daydreaming about your next vacation, worrying about how big the bonus will be this year, and so on, simply knowing the latest “Top 100 PDA Hacks” won’t do much to keep you on task.

A Deeper Look At Procrastination

What’s really going on in moments when we find ourselves getting “off task”—becoming distracted or putting off your work?  In coaching individuals and groups on overcoming inner obstacles to productivity, what I’ve learned is that we often get off task because some inner experience—some thought or feeling—that we don’t want to be with is coming up.

Here’s a common example.  Suppose your boss assigns you a project, and you accept it but feel resentful that it wasn’t given to somebody else.  Naturally, as you do the project, you feel the resentment, which shows up as a tightness in your shoulders.  Because you don’t like that feeling, you distract yourself from it by checking e-mail, playing Minesweeper, or whatever your favorite procrastination technique happens to be.  Unfortunately, although you take your attention off the unwanted experience, you also get nothing done.

This is the “normal” reaction to uncomfortable inner experiences in our culture—procrastinate, take a drug to numb the feeling, go do something else, and so on.  In other words, we might say, we run away from ourselves.  The trouble is, of course, that we can’t get any work done while we’re fleeing from our inner experience.  And so we find ourselves spending large chunks of time accomplishing little, and feeling frustrated about it.

Accepting Your Inner Experience

Inner Productivity offers a different approach to dealing with these difficult inner experiences—allowing them to be, just as they are, without distracting yourself or pushing the experience away.  To understand what I mean, try this simple exercise.

The next time you’re working, and you start experiencing some uncomfortable thought or feeling, try breathing deeply, relaxing your body, and just letting the sensation move through you.  Where you would have run away from the sensation before, see if you can stay with it and welcome it for a little while.

What I think you’ll find is that the feeling actually passes away pretty quickly when you let it.  For instance, if you’re feeling resentful about working, and you breathe deeply and allow that tense sensation to simply move through you, it’s not like you’ll stay angry forever—the tension in your body will relax, leaving you in a calm and focused state.

The more you do this exercise, the more you’ll come to realize that the thought or sensation isn’t actually dangerous to you, and you don’t have to run away from it.  And when you understand, at a deep level, that you don’t have to flee from your inner experience, you become able to stay on task even in the face of intense sensations.  You become able to calmly respond “yes, I’m feeling angry or sad or afraid, and I’m going to continue with this project.”

The Yoga of Productivity

Yoga, one of the practices that inspired Inner Productivity, offers a good analogy.  People who are starting out doing yoga tend to assume that a pose is difficult because their bodies aren’t flexible enough to get into it.  But interestingly, surgeons have found that, under anesthesia, the human body can bend in all kinds of ways we’d usually see as impossible.

In other words, the problem often isn’t a lack of flexibility at all—it’s that we don’t want to be with the discomfort we feel while we’re doing the yoga pose.  But as we ease ourselves into the pose, and realize that the sensations we feel while doing it aren’t going to harm us, the pose starts to feel natural and even enjoyable.

We could think of the techniques in Inner Productivity like a form of yoga.  As with a difficult yoga pose, when we learn to accept, rather than flee from, the thoughts and sensations that come up as we work, working starts to feel more easy, natural and fun.  That’s what I want for you, and that’s why I wrote the book.

So, if you aren’t getting enough out of conventional productivity techniques, and you’re ready to take a deeper look at what’s really holding you back in your work, I think you’ll find Inner Productivity eye-opening and valuable.

What Others Have Said

I was amazed at the enthusiasm and generosity of the authors I asked to provide advance quotes for the book.  Here’s a sample:

“Chris Edgar has taken an exploratory dive into the procrastination pit and come up with a cogent explanation of this phenomenon as well as an elegant set of techniques to transcend it. It’s a great read and a useful guidebook for turning the daily grind into something much more interesting and engaging.”

David Allen, bestselling author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Inner Productivity will show you how to clear your inner clutter and create a pathway to success!”

Marshall Goldsmith, bestselling author of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

“Real productivity doesn’t come from forced behaviors. Inner Productivity can help you connect with the inner state of being that can empower you to act in new ways, choose new perspectives and have a different experience. There is no greater productivity than connecting with your true self.”

Tama J. Kieves, bestselling author of This Time I Dance!: Creating the Work You Love (How One Harvard Lawyer Left It All to Have It All)

Inner Productivity is packed with practical examples of how to achieve greater results and peace of mind at work.”

Laura Stack, bestselling author of Leave the Office Earlier: The Productivity Pro Shows You How to Do More in Less Time . . . and Feel Great About It

“A wonderful guide for organizing both your physical and your head space.”

Peter Walsh, bestselling author of Enough Already!: Clearing Mental Clutter to Become the Best You

Order The Book

You can order the book in either paperback or Kindle format—I’ve posted the links below.  (Note:  If you see an “out of stock” notice on the Amazon page for the paperback, don’t worry, it’s still available — just click on the “2 new” link and order the book from “Cruzado Press.”)

Print Edition

Amazon Paperback

Kindle Edition

Amazon Kindle

I’ve also created a separate site with more information about the book, which you can view here.

Reviewers Wanted

I’m always interested in constructive feedback on my work.  If you’d be interested in reviewing my book on your blog, please let me know, and I can provide you a copy in paperback or electronic form.

Videos of My Recent “Transcending Procrastination” Talk

I’m excited to share six short excerpts from my recent “Transcending Procrastination” talk at EastWest Bookstore in Mountain View, California.

The talk was about how you can use mindfulness and spiritual practices, like meditation and yoga, to stay focused and motivated in your work.  The turnout was great, and EastWest is one of my favorite bookstores, so I was very pleased to do this engagement.  I’ll explain what each of the excerpts is about below:

In Part 1, I explain how I got into incorporating mindfulness practices into my job, and teaching that work to others:

In Part 2, I discuss why it’s important to develop motivation and focus on the inside, in addition to having an organized workspace:

In Part 3, I discuss how we normally deal with disruptive thoughts and feelings that come up in our work — pushing them away or running from them.  I offer a healthier, less stressful option:  allowing those inner experiences to be, just as they are, until they pass away:

In Part 4, I talk about how mindfulness practices can help us stimulate our creativity when we’re feeling mentally blocked:

In Part 5, I explain how getting accustomed to more silence in our lives can help our concentration and productivity in our work:

In Part 6, I explain how taking a step back and looking at the bigger reason why you’re doing the task you’re working on can be a great source of motivation and focus:

In Other News:  I Deleted My Last Post

For those of you who noticed the mysterious disappearance of my previous post, “A Meditation for Exercise Pain,” I deleted it because I decided, on further examination, that it did not meet the ruthless quality control standards of this site.  I hope this didn’t cause too much confusion or any international incidents.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the videos and I look forward to your feedback!

Best, Chris