With starting a business or project it takes a while for the momentum to build. At one of the places I work the projects have started to pick up, we are getting some great wins. Thankfully! It feels like we’ve reached the top of the latest climb and it’s flattening a bit.

It’s been a a big lesson for me in letting go. We let go on both projects, were open about our position and vulnerable. Magically it gave people the space to give their input and ideas. To lend a hand.

The cult of productivity

The cult of productivity

This brilliant article by Steven Poole on the Cult of Productivity really hit the nail on the head for me.

I’ve reached my productivity theory tipping point. I stumbled upon another productivity-esque blog and a wave of dread went over me. Not another thing to add to my ever growing list of “productive habits!”

Not another thing that’s recommended! Not another thing I’ll feel guilty about not doing!


As Steven says it’s everywhere. Everyones talking about it, governments, businesses, adults, kids….

“People boast of being busy and exhausted and eagerly consume advice from the business-entertainment complex on how to “de-fry your burnt brain,” or engineer a more productive day by assenting to the horror of breakfast meetings.”

Think of all the 10 effective strategies for (insert productivity here) that are out there.

Productivity ++++

We are constantly working, preparing to get work done, having productive down time or reading about how to be more productive.

Work hard now so you can relax when you retire.

“Exercise,” advises one business magazine feature. “It makes you more productive.” In a perfect world, you would be getting exercise while you work—standing desks and even treadmill desks are sold as magical productivity enhancers.”

My friend had some great advice. She said we need to realise that there are no absolutes, just other peoples projections.

Finding and sensing what works for you is key. We’re all different, all have different lives. Some days you just feel like doing nothing. And that’s alright!

I love all these productivity things, find them quite interesting. But if I did them all I would have no time. As Steven writes-

“All that time saved by knowing the exact location of the baseball cap you want to wear will surely add up, earning you hours more freedom to hunt and hoard ever more productivity tips, until you are a purely theoretical master at doing nothing of value in the most efficient way imaginable.”

It’s time we rethink this cult of productivity and start taking proper time to ourselves…. and not for the sake of being more productive (check out my post on making time).


Co dependence, creativity and pain- Whitney Cummings on Four Hour Work Week

alt= Whitney Cummings Whitney Cummings
I don’t know much about Whitney Cummings work but she is hilarious and super honest. This podcast on the Tim Ferriss Four Hour Work Week is just brilliant!
Hearing Whitney speak of co dependence was like listening to a description of myself. She explained that it’s not just about clinginess and wanting to please people but it can also be a way of over committing yourself to others.
I learned to put my least favourite/ hardest things at the start of the day. Then it’s out of the way and you don’t feel guilty!
“Cultivate your voice” if you think about something more than three times a week, write about it.
Joined up thinking // passion, authenticity & producing/

Joined up thinking // passion, authenticity & producing/

I was doing a storyboarding workshop with a couple of teenagers in Glasgows southside. Both girls were passionate about art and brilliant artists. We got chatting about what they want to do after high school. .

“I am going to study art at college” said one girl,

“I want to study childcare” said the other

“Really? But you love art” her friend was surprised

“Yeah if I study it it’ll become work. If I do it on the side it’ll still be fun”

It got me thinking again about “following your passion” (see my previous blog post). This is the mantra that the millennial generation, my generation, has grown up with. Love what you do.

Most of us are looking for job satisfaction.

As documentary PressPausePlay explores, we have more opportunities than ever before. Look at how the internet has democratized access. Anybody can be a director, filmmaker, artist, musician, entrepreneur, and expert….

Yet it’s even harder to be HEARD.

Yet we seem to be no more satisfied than any other generation. There is now such a thing as a quarter life crises.

Steve Jobs is probably the most famous advocate for doing what you love. In his Stanford Commencement speech he encourages

“You’ve got to find what you love, don’t settle”

Do what you love = success

We now think that if you do what you love, you will be happy, you will be a success. With that comes enormous pressure.

Unlike on the x-factor where everyone knew they wanted to be a singer when were 3, few us have an epiphany moment.

Follow your passion” assumes: a) you have a preexisting passion, and b) if you match this to your job, then you’ll enjoy that job

….Excitement comes and goes. True passion arises after you’ve put in the long hours to really become a craftsman in your field and can then leverage this value to really have an impact” Cal Newport, the


Cal Newport encourages us to rethink the idea of following your passion.

Rethink success.

The version of success we see all the time is

          – The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status



Success is also

     – The achievement of something, desired, planned or attempted.

The key here is to attempt. Try.


“Most people are so scared to loose they don’t even try” Kanye West.

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm” Winston Churchill

It means being vulnerable. You might fail. But there is a beauty in vulnerability.

It means being open and honest.

It means finding your voice.

(“Just be yourself,” another millennial mantra)

“Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you have an opinion you must say it and take the flack for it” Tony Benn, Last Will and Testament

If like me you constantly want to be liked, this is easier said than done.

The great news is that you express your voice by producing. Make as much stuff as you can, make stuff that makes your friends go wow. This blog is one way to produce, to express my honest ideas, opinions and thoughts.

Don’t know what to do? You just have to begin. Find things that you’re drawn to, things that frustrate you.

Keep going, it’ll come to you (that’s what they all say).

Time + doing= mastery

“To find success there is to find your own path, only way to find that path is to act, to start going” Casey Neistat, Tim Ferriss Podcast

“Always produce” is also a heuristic for finding the work you love….

….. what you should not do, I think is worry about the opinion of anyone beyond your friends. You shouldn’t worry about prestige. Prestige is the opinion of the rest of the world” Paul Graham, How to do what you love

“Get out of your own way, as soon as your ego gets in the way, and you go I don’t know if I know what to do next, you’ve already put “I” in front of it and blocked it a little bit.

…..Not knowing what’s gonna happen, but you trust it’ll be there. That when you put the brush on the canvas it’ll know where to go. The trust comes first.

…. It’s not gonna come for you if you just sit there waiting for it to happen. You have to act. As soon as you step forward even a little bit it starts sweeping you away.” Robert Rodriguez on Tim Ferriss podcast

I love interviews and biographies and I’ve have found that the common thing between so many people we perceive as “successful” is that they are attempting to make the world better in some way.

However there are no two people in the same position in the same field that had the same journey. After all we all have different starting points! It’s often a series of seemingly random decisions. That’s the good news and the bad news. So how do we know which decisions are right.

“Instinct and ideas. That’s what it’s all about” John Carpenter on the Directors Chair.

Trust your instinct and move on them, make decisions, with incomplete information. No one knows the answers. There are no answers. Again PRODUCE>

Cultivate your instinct. This needs us to be present and be open. It’s challenging in our current culture of distraction. Taking time, even a few moments a day, for “you” can work wonders. Whatever suits, journaling, meditating, praying, exercising…

<Producing means you can get good at being you.

You don’t have to be unique; you don’t have to be special. You have to be “you.”

And your “you” isn’t one thing all the time.

“Life is about integrating different parts of yourself and finding you authentic self. Your authentic self has a lot of dimensions.” Isabel Guerrero

Being our authentic self is probably the hardest thing we can do.

                                              It’s the most liberating thing we can do.

I’m on the quest to produce, find and amplify my actual self. I don’t know how the journey will go, but join me if you wish 🙂

For more reading, watching and listening here are my favourites!

John Waters commencement speech

The art of being yourself, Caroline McHugh

Neil Gainman commencement speech

 The Power of Vulnerability, Brene Brown

 6 Harsh Thruths That Will Make You a Better Person, David Wong

 Robert Rodriguez interview on the Tim Ferriss Podcast

Create more value than you capture, Tim O’Reilly

How to do what you love, Paul Graham 


(That’s enough thinking for one day!)

Addition 25/11/15

Some more interesting observations in this Tim Ferriss interview with Will MaCaskill (listen from about 1hr 25mins in). Talk about the dangerous myth of the dream job.
Most people dont have work related passions (as Cal Newport explains)
our preferences and passions change as we get older
& passion may not last past the when its an obligation and not an option.
 The biggest predictor of job satisfaction is mentally engaging work. Work with variety, good feedback, meaningful in some way and allows you to exercise and develop your skills.
Interestingly Will encourages us to look at our 80,000 work hours as stages in our lives and not as a one path career. So it’s about building a broad range of skills including meta skills that we can transfer. And thinking about the futurenow (as a friend of mine calls it), looking at what we can focus on now to maximise the long term.
His enterprise 80000 Hours has some more great insights (
The big spring clean

The big spring clean

I love this time of the year. Spring always makes me want to organise and tidy all the random stuff I collect over the year and get ready for the summer. Although we don’t really have a summer here in Glasgow it is lovely to start with afresh. So over the last couple of weeks I’ve been spring cleaning my life. I’ve been setting aside a couple of hours a day to  tackle one thing at a time. 

It’s the perfect time to put away my winter wardrobe (although it was still snowing in Scotland a week ago). I put my clothes into piles; a ‘keep’, ‘havent worn in a year’ and ‘worn out’ pile. I put the keep clothes back in my wardrobe and threw out the worn pile. This just left the ‘havent worn in a year’ pile to be sorted. Of course there were still like clothes I liked or had some sentimental the rest I decided to give to charity or sell. I repeated it for my jewellery, shoes and makeup as well. 
It’s great I almost halved my wardrobe and rediscovered clothes I still love but haven’t worn in ages. The good news is I now have space in my wardrobe for some new clothes!

I should definitely sort out my laptop more often, I’ve decided to set aside a day a week to clean out my desktop and downloads folder. It took me ages to sort out all the junk. 
I’m deleting lots of photo’s from my computer. I realised that I hardly ever relook at old pics so they just stay clogging up my disk space so I deleted the repeated files, blurry pics and ones I don’t like . It was quite nice to go through them again and see the memories.
I also filed away the hundreds of stuff on my desktop and I also sorted out all my cloud storage, deleting repeated files, making large photoshop files smaller and organising personal and work stuff. Then I backed up everything with my hard drive to be safe.

I’ve been quite good with reading or deleting incoming emails and keeping my inbox clear so spring cleaning my emails has mostly meant unsubscribing and deleting accounts from things I no longer use, although some are impossible to leave (uber). I searched for unsubscribe in my mailbox and whenever I receive an email from something I signed up randomly to and don’t want anymore I unsubscribe. 

I’m now doing a similar process with around the flat. Sifting through letters, drawing equipment and loads of other things. I’ve been filing and reorganising storage and buying new bedding and other things just to spruce up the house. 

The biggest thing is that it takes time to spring clean but it’s totally worth it! Let me know if you have any more tips :).