Your purpose and values guide your productivity

Are you following your mission in life, or do you feel disconnected from what you want to do, believe in, and value? Are other people defining who you are? The more your time is organized around your values, the more energy you gain from your activities. Here are a few ideas that can help you stay “on flow.”

1. Figure out who you want to be and what you want to do.  Many of us ignore our dreams in the interest of providing for our families, or because we think we don’t deserve them — but all that does is leave us unhappy and listless. If this describes you, spend some time deciding what you want to do and be.

2. Take a good, long look at your career choices. Are you happy? Do you find your work fulfilling? Or are you just going through the motions to pay the bills? If the answer to the last question is “Yes,” reconsider your career.

3. Don’t equate material success with achieving dreams. Money can’t buy happiness. If you have everything you ever wanted and you’re still unhappy, maybe it’s because you’ve sacrificed your dreams for money. Reconsider your options, and figure out how you can make the world a better place.

4. Don’t let your obligations prevent you from pursuing your dreams. Your dreams didn’t cease to exist the day your kids were born. Sure, you’re here to encourage their dreams and help them attain them, but not to abandon yours in the meantime. Trying to achieve your own dreams sends your kids a healthy message about life and how to live it. 

5. Spend time on what’s most important to you. Put some metrics on your priorities. If family, health, and spirituality are important to you, don’t throw them over in favor of work. Balance your life to reflect what matters to you most.

6. Cultivate faith in a higher power. If you find solace in believing in God, Allah, or Prana, embrace that satisfaction; however, you don’t have to subscribe to a particular faith to be a spiritual person, or to benefit from a daily dose of energy from your spiritual practice of choice. 

7. Avoid people who shatter your dreams. Don’t try to be what people expect you to be, and never, ever listen to people who put down your dreams. Instead, believe in yourself and work hard to attain what you want out of life.

8. Claim your dream.  Stop being all talk and no action. Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Without overanalyzing, act straight from your gut and finish this sentence:  I am a ______________.  Then do what you need to to make that dream a reality.

The key to purpose and energy is flow. Anything short of flow, and you spend lots of energy being restless and irritated. When what you believe and what you do are in alignment, you’ll experience higher satisfaction in everyday life. Stop ignoring your dreams!

© 2008 Laura Stack.  Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author, and professional speaker who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time™. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations.  Since 1992, Laura has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today’s workplaces.  She is the bestselling author of three works published by Broadway Books: The Exhaustion Cure (2008), Find More Time (2006) and Leave the Office Earlier (2004).  Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timers®, Inc and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Cisco Systems, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and 3M.  To have Laura speak at your next event, call 303-471-7401.  Visit to sign up for her free monthly productivity newsletter.