This is an article I wrote for Linkedin a few weeks ago, a distillation of my ongoing pursuit of productivity and development. I learnt in the enforced sabbatical that development and productivity are best gained organically. This means do less of the hard goal setting with SMARTER requirements, what I see as a linear approach. Instead, it means practising the clever hacks and techniques that focus on the activities that build towards my goal. I love Pomodora, Power Hours, task rotation, minimising and simplicity.

I achieved this first article for LinkedIn because I was practising innovative techniques of harnessing my naturally scattered energy. The use of the Pomodoro timer, Power Hours and rotating tasks. It harnessed my scattered energy as I am a multi-passionate person and have many things going on at the same time. I needed to focus and achieve in one area or risk just dabbling in everything. The benefits are more than the outcome below.

Outcome: an article after so many years of promising myself I would write. This is one step on my road to mentor online groups on how to live a more creatively functional lifestyle, achieving your goals.

Development is not as linear as I thought it was

The lockdown has not exactly been unpleasant for me. We are in a new home in Aberdeen. I was busy preparing to set myself up in the role I’d like to be in again now, post immigration: speaker, trainer and follower of all things naturally based and holistic. The lockdown lends itself to staying at home while you clarify, write, read and get your network and social media up to scratch.

Added to that- spring coming in a garden that had not been touched in at least five years. That warranted pleasing amounts of pruning, raking and burning.

On the whole, I was steadily beavering away but there were definite times of complete slackness, lack of interest and focus that annoyed me. I saw it as a waste of time, and a prelude to failure.


I connected with one, then two of my friends. Women who slogged the journey with me on our MBA’s, and we have stayed in touch over the 20 odd years since then. Each of us have taken different journeys: academia, corporate world and self-employed. Here we are now though, all in lockdown and ready for a change now or in the foreseeable future. I have started chatting with them in early mornings for 45 minutes to an hour each. Initially to compare notes, keep each other productive, but now to work on common plans, plans that are taking us much closer to our goals or ideal roles again. I am more motivated, tackling tasks that have been languishing, and learning new skills.

There are three realizations that I have crystallized in this period

Firstly, that a teammate on a journey is crucial. Motivation is much higher, creativity and innovation leaps ahead and if all goes well, action is taken that benefits all of us and gets us closer to those big goals we always dreamed of.

Downtime is good for you

The second realization is that that downtime, when we feel like we are lying around doing very little, is actually the time that our subconscious and brain have time to ponder on the big questions that we need to answer. Thinking is enhanced when we do repetitive practical tasks, like folding the washing, washing up, walking, gardening and cleaning.

It is so successful that I have started defining a question or statement and then going and doing these tasks. While my hands are busy and part of my mind is still, I am viewing the issue in a more organic way and coming up with options and solutions, as well as pathways that I wouldn’t have reached while bashing away at the question or statement, sitting at a desk. I can immediately return to my work space and take action.

Organic growth

The third realization I reached was a clarification that growth is not as linear as we think it is. I’ve always tried to practise linear growth, but believed I was unfocused and not goal orientated enough. What really solidified a more organic way of growing, rather than a linear way, was seeing how solid, very effective plants can create themselves.

We had to dig up paving and take out six bushes, and the root network underneath was testament to the plant following accessible pathways, following nutrients and then accessing entry points into the world where they could flourish.

None of it was planned or mapped out in advance, yet those bushes were solid, sending out seeds, providing food and shelter for animals and insects over many years. Even now that they are gone, they will go onto the compost heap as is, or in ash form, to feed new plants and insects.

Creatively functional approach

This lockdown has given me an incredible opportunity to take a sabbatical from the busy driven world. which requires us to pursue goals aggressively. Instead, I am savouring a more thoughtful, organic way to be creatively functional. I am finding a deeper understanding of growth and development, through newfound bonds with existing people in my network, and innovative and creative solutions and options as I develop back into myself.

I am now practicising my newfound realisation: Development is organic rather than linear for productivity-

Now I am achieving 10 year old goals.