Achieve More: Why You Need Stillness to be Productive!

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

Productivity is more than just DOING.

In fact one VITAL thing that many people forget is that we also need STILLNESS.

To be MOST productive we need a few moments, seconds or minutes, where we PAUSE, allow our thoughts to clear and reflect on what we've done - and what's best to do next.

Just having our "To Do" list is NOT enough.

Every day we get caught up in a 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!

So, we MUST make time - to sit still. To pause and reflect. In that clearing of our minds we see what is most important. We see what we can let go of, what we can delegate, what we need to change, what we can say no to - and what we need to say yes to. The stillness allows us to ADAPT our plans and actions to the reality of what actually happens in our lives.

Not only that - but there's a very good reason surfers don't go out when the water is cloudy - because you can't see the sharks! We need clarity so that we can spot our hidden obstacles - the sharks or crocodiles waiting to ambush us...

So, it's AS important to find stillness regularly - to pause and reflect - as it is to plan.

And the great thing is that the stillness or pausing part (which so many of us skip!) is often shorter, easier and more pleasant than the planning itself!

How long does it take you to take 5-10 deep breaths? How hard is it for you to stare out of the window and let the dirt settle in your brain? One minute? Two?

How Can You Pause and Find Stillness?

Well, stop rushing from one thing to the next. Do:

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

And don't fill every spare minute with:

  • Facebook, your email or starting the next task.
  • Reading articles and cramming your mind with more information.

Instead sit still and breathe. Stare out of the window. Let the dirt settle and wait for your muddy mind to clear.

I guarantee 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, 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 >>


  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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