Building A House of Productivity (Part 1):

A Fall-Proof Plan for Avoiding

Overwhelm and Burnout


The end of August…summer seems to be ending suddenly as we gear up for the new season and school year. It’s a time of half hope and half dread—what we put off during summer needs finishing, or more likely, we might be about to start something—a fall project, new campaign, school year, or initiative at work. Whatever it is demands that we get down to business. Because as Sonya, my favorite hairdresser, says about the first week of school, “Next thing you know, it’s Christmas!”

But this kind of pressure can lead to overwhelm, non-productive overworking, and burnout. That’s why this month, I aim to arm you with the tools and tricks to start your fall with a plan for timely organization, breaks, and enjoyment.

Why now?

Autumn, as I’ve said before, is a much better time than January (the new year) to kick-start new plans or routines. Now there’s a built-in lull in nature’s cycle—no matter where you live in the world, extreme temperatures start to lessen, making it easier to focus, think, plan, and act. It’s also well before the holidays come and monopolize our focus on family and loved ones. (Even if you live south of the equator, you may have spring’s energy, but just need to tune up whatever systems you have in place.)

So now is a time to re-group and re-focus, not just on what you want and can dream up, but the often-neglected steps on how you’ll do it without driving yourself crazy or giving up. So pour yourself some fresh coffee or tea, get out your favorite pen or pencil, and put on your comfy “play” clothes (or at least take off your shoes).

The Pitfalls of Getting Down to Business

There are three main things that can happen when we enter (and even contemplate) a higher-activity period like autumn. We can get overwhelmed about it all and freeze or panic (Ben & Jerry’s, anyone?), we can work too hard while losing productivity, or we can burn out and lose our joy and good cheer. Sometimes all three. Do any of these sound familiar?

Luckily, there’s an antidote for each pitfall. So over the next few days I’ll help you tackle them here and give you tools and a simple “fall-proof plan” for avoiding the pitfalls before they get the best of you this fall. Right now we’ll start with the metaphor I want you to keep in mind.

A Healthy House of Productivity

Like most people, you know how important a home is. It allows you the shelter, safety, and privacy you need in life. It also lets you enjoy your particular decorative tastes and gives you comfort and respite from the world.

In everyday life you won’t get far without some place to call home, and the same is true for your work life or productivity, which is how you spend most of your time. So we’re going to build you a house of healthy productivity from the ground up, and give you the keys. We’ll start with the foundation.


Stay tuned in the next day or so for Part 2.

4 Responses to Building A House of Productivity (Part 1):
  1. Marie
    August 24, 2011 | 10:09 pm

    Thank you for the gift of this message, coming…just at the right time!
    I signed up for your list through seeing a poster in West Village, and have enjoyed the call to ourselves, our spirits, and to notice creativity flowing through us, as we deepen in our mindfulness and every day practices of our lives. What you help your readers to consider, and often, to re-learn (it’s a constant thing, I am learning), is welcome, and genuinely felt.
    Peace and encouragement to you – embodiment, and the art of it, is *just* what we need on this planet!

  2. Jenny
    August 24, 2011 | 10:17 pm

    Thank you Marie! I so appreciate your heartfelt words. Do you remember when we met at the Duke Conference on Creativity, Being and Healing in 2009?

  3. Boo
    August 26, 2011 | 11:33 am

    Thanks for your post- I’m especially enjoying the metaphor considering our latest purchase! Looking forward to the next one…

  4. […] of Productivity” (or HOP) so you can have an enjoyable, sane, and fruitful autumn. (Go here for more on what I’m talking about and why I’m doing it now.) Today we’ll cover […]