Why I stopped productivity tools (for a time)

“Be available.”

Recently I read those words “be available” in Bob Goff’s book, Dream Big. Challenging us to be available even when pursuing ambitions, Goff writes on how he encourages readers to contact him by adding his personal phone number in the back of his published books. He can get hundreds of calls a day, he explains, however he also receives new perspectives and ideas while serving others.

“Being available isn’t about about giving yourself away recklessly or wearing yourself down to the point where you have no energy to do your own work. It’s about keeping yourself open to the world around you so you don’t fall back asleep.” Bob Goff, in Dream Big

I am one who needs lists to get things done. I have a Polestar Business Planner for work and a pretty 52 List Planner for my other ambitions like writing, photography, and graphic design. Some days I am inspired by the checkmarks, and other days I get disappointed with myself for the lack of ticked off items. I’ve been trying to find a way to balance pushing myself and being realistic. Regardless, Goff’s words woke me up to how I was becoming a slave to my list.

I realized too, that focusing on my lists had me falling asleep to the present. My lists left little room to be open to new discoveries, new ideas, and especially to developing intimacy with others.

A me centred living is not a life-giving path.

Ecclesiastes 5:9-12 says:

Two are better than one,
  because they have a good return for their labor.
If either of them falls down,
  one can help them up.
But pity anyone who falls
  and no one to help them up.
Also if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
  But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
  two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken


I think all of us know intuitively that we are meant for relationship. Yet, we can hide away using our lists, our ambitions, and our judgements to avoid reaching out, or just picking up that call instead of letting it go to voicemail. I know I’ve been waking up to how I can isolate instead of opening myself up to an unknown adventure. Often, too, I have found when I say yes to an invitation (even when I feel too busy or tired to do so), I am renewed and blessed.

A ‘me’ centred living is not a life-giving path. A ‘we’ centred life leaves a legacy of comfort and healing by helping each other flourish, succeed, and create a safe community.

The people you spend time with will play the largest part in the ambitions you achieve, not the minutes you saved each day by avoiding them.” Bob Goff in Dream Big

What active step can you take today to engage in your community? Is there a list you need to let go or hold more loosely?

Other news!

Hope Connections is released! You can find out more at InspiringHopeInYou and Here.

NaNoWriMo is soon upon us. I’ve never fully participated in this challenge. Have you? I am beginning to work through Short Story Writing (WD) and Story Engineering (Larry Brooks). With an encouraging writing community, I am working through these writing crafts books.

If you are on Instagram, I’d love to connect with you there, too. Add your Instagram handle in the comments or you can follow me and I’ll follow you back!

13 thoughts on “Why I stopped productivity tools (for a time)

  1. “Goff writes on how he encourages readers to contact him by adding his personal phone number in the back of his published books. He can get hundreds of calls a day…”

    This makes my head swim! How does he handle that?

    Your photos are fantastic. Simply beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Sandi! I wondered the same thing! He describes a story where he helped one caller get her car fixed that had broken down on a highway. He does have a lot of energy, I noticed, when I have seen him speaking at conferences! And think he has a wonderful wife who helps him stay organized.

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  2. Loved this post, Lynn. The concept of community is one I’ve been chewing on for months. Finding ways to serve my community, even finding community, has been a challenge this year. The back and forth tugs between doing too much and self isolating are wearying. Appreciated your thoughts here.

    Looking forward to reading Hope Connections!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is a back and forth tug between doing too much and self isolating, Linda! Discerning that it is needed rest rather than avoidance isolation when we do not engage is a developing skill for me. Hope Connections is a life-giving read, I’d say! And short stories which somehow are easier to take in than longer writer forms in times of our lives, I find. Hope you are doing well, and that light dusting of snow is still bringing you joy.

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  4. I’ve got a couple of Bob’s books on my shelf…he’s great. I have no idea how he can handle all of the calls. I’ve been trying to engage with my parent’s retirement community lately, but they’ve recently had some new cases so I’m afraid things will start to shut down again…sigh. Love your photos, Lynn!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s so true that we need to include others in our lives. I have never been a list person, so I never have to look at all of the things I haven’t checked off yet. 🙂 I can’t remember if I have read any of Bob Goff’s books or not, but it seems I may have read one at some point. I suppose I should have a list of what books I read. But I doubt that will happen. God bless, Lynn. Keep taking those beautiful photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diane! 🙂 I need to use Goodreads to track my books. It helps especially when I’m not sure if I have already read a book I’m about to take on (possibly again). Or sometimes I’ll start a book and then start thinking it seems familiar…and see on Goodreads that I have already read it! I think not remembering all the books we read is testimony to our ferocious reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you might be right. And often I purposely reread a book, sometimes more than once. I have read the entire Lord of the Rings series 3 times and The Hobbit more times than I could ever keep track of. I have a lot of books on Goodreads, but then I go for a long time and don’t put them up there, so I am defeating my purpose.

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  6. Lynn, what a great post. I’ve been pondering if I spend too much time at home and not enough time with others. I find some weeks are really busy and others are quiet. I’m trying to discern God’s ebb and flow of my engagement with people. And yes, I like me some good lists. I need to be careful not to be so focused on achieving the checkmarks that I miss out on the grand adventures God may have for me in a day.

    Liked by 1 person

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