Achieve More: Why You Need Stillness to be Productive!

Stillness shown by mountain with lake, reflections and boat

Imagine a glass full of water scooped up from a puddle in a field. It's muddy and swirling around—like our daily lives, full of activity, messiness and life! But if you put that glass of water down and let it sit, it eventually clears itself. It is STILLNESS that allows the dirt to settle to the bottom and the water to clear.

One VITAL thing that many people forget is that we also need stillness.

Because just like that glass of muddy water, stillness helps us get clarity.

Being at your most productive is about more than just doing. It's doing the right things in the right order. It's about making clear-headed decisions and not rushing.

To be at our most productive we need to give ourselves time to pause, allow our thoughts to clear so we can reflect—and consider—meaningfully.

Just having a "To Do" list is not enough to be productive...

Stressed woman with hand on head

Most of us get caught up in a daily whirlwind of choices and activities. Even routine activities have choices attached to them—what to have for breakfast, do we watch TV or listen to the radio, what salad dressing should we choose?

Our brains fill up. We get distracted. We lose focus. And even if we don't, life has a habit of—well—happening!

We MUST make time—to sit still.

To pause and reflect. And it's in that clearing of our minds that we see what is most important.

In stillness we notice what we can let go of, what we can delegate, what we need to change, what we could say no to—and what we need to say yes to.

Stillness helps us adapt our plans and actions to the reality of what is actually happening in our lives.

Shark fin visible in clear water

There's a very good reason surfers don't go out when the water is cloudy... Because you can't see the sharks!

And we also need clarity so we can spot our hidden obstacles—those sharks or crocodiles of our lives waiting to 'ambush' us.

It's AS important to find stillness regularly (to pause and reflect) as it is to plan and act.

And the great thing is that when we make that pause for stillness (which so many of us skip!) it's usually shorter, easier and more pleasant than planning or doing!

How long does it take you to take 10 deep breaths? How hard is it for you to stare out of the window and let your brain settle out? One minute? Two?

So how can you start to pause and find stillness?

Well, first, stop rushing from one thing to the next.

Coffee Cup with cappuccino


  • Take the opportunity to pause between your tasks and appointments.
  • Pause at the transitions between your personal life and work life—the beginning, lunchtime and end of the work day.
  • Have a short break when you get your cup of coffee or tea.
  • Pause for no good reason!

And don't fill every spare minute with:

  • Social media, your email or starting the next task.
  • Reading articles, listening to podcasts and cramming your mind with ever more information.

Instead sit still and breathe.

Stare out of the window. Let things settle and wait for your muddy mind to clear.

I guarantee both you and your clients will be more productive!

Wisdom requires the discerning, the listening to, the acknowledgement of nudges and notions, of senses and sensations, of the minute and what we often mistakenly assume is the  mundane. Wisdom means listening to the still, small voice, the whisper that can be easily lost in the whirlwind of busyness, expectations, and conventions of the world. Jean M. Blomquist

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Emma-Louise Elsey Headshot

Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>

Image of Mountains, Lake, Reflections and Boat by MonikaIris via Pixabay

Image of Stressed woman by RobinHiggins via Pixabay

Image of Shark Fin in Water by alondav via Pixabay

Image of Coffee cup by gadost0 via Pixabay


  1. Aditi

    This article is great. Just made me realize that i feel i will miss something if i take a break but it is so important to stop for few moments.

    • Emma-Louise

      That's awesome Aditi! And you're not alone... I feel that way too (often) I think it's drilled into us to always be doing. But we're missing out on something too by constantly doing... Warmly, EL

  2. Shannon Pearce

    I wondered if you have read "Invitation to Solitude and Silence" by Ruth Haley Barton

    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Shannon, Thanks so much for taking the time to comment (again!). I have not read “Invitation to Solitude and Silence” by Ruth Haley Barton. I have added it to my wishlist. Thanks for the suggestion. Warmly, Emma-Louise


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