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  • R. J Dyson / Life Coach

Want to both feel productive and be productive?

Create lists.

Doing the bulk of my work from home is both a blessing and a curse. I'm super grateful, both as an introvert and a as a husband and dad, that I'm home to share early coffee and cereal with my kids before school and flexibility in my schedule for family events. It's a huge blessing. Genuinely a divine gift in this season of life.

But it also means I'm stuck with myself for long stretches within these old American Four-square walls. And too much me time isn't always an ingredient for productivity.

So, I create lists.

Sure, I have my big ole bandera of dreams list written down. You know, those purpose-filled dreams, that calling I'm led to pursue as the great vision.

But I'm talking about the dailies and weeklies. Even if this isn't your cup of English tea, try this on for the week. And then do it again next week with a fresh list. Even if many of the To-Dos are the same, write them down. Paper. Black-board. White-board. Google calendar.

  1. Key goal(s) for the week. "I want to wake up Sunday morning having accomplished __________." One, two or three vocational, personal, social or spiritual goals for the week. SMART goals.

  2. Today's bite-size necessities. "By the end of the day I want to fall asleep knowing that I ____________." And put it all down. The more items checked-off, the more productive you'll feel and the more motivated to keep knocking them off the list. From making coffee to final recordings. Scheduled lunch to home repairs. From that chapter you need complete to doing the dishes.

Create lists.

Some of you are already stressed out at the magnitude of the possible list. Put it all down and then start with small, easily achieved items. As you go, roll that snowball into the bigger ones. If that doesn't work for you, do it in reverse. Tackle the big items ASAP and let the day wind down with the simple tasks and texts.

Either way, you'll appreciate the glorious sight of scratched off items as the day goes on.

Sketch one up for the rest of today. It'll take less than three minutes. Three minutes for a days worth of success.

  • R. J Dyson / Life Coach

Happy Lexicon Thursday! Yes, Lexicon of Awesome is officially AVAILABLE! And it was written with a purpose. And healthy, reasoned, bold and divine purpose is key to finding fulfillment beyond our current circumstances. How does your purpose invite, connect and heal? Here's a bite of another chapter of: Lexicon of Awesome.


/ P /

Do you remember the first time you joined the ancient chorus, asking, “Why am I here?” Not here reading this lexicon, but here in the dirt, here in the flesh. I was in middle school when this idea of purpose, life purpose, crept into my mind and pricked my soul. Purpose, design, reason for being and having and doing.

I don’t know about you, but it’s only now, in my middling age, with the light of hindsight streaming in through the trees, that I’m able to see past decisions in greater detail. I’m more aware that purpose was hiding in the shadows all along. It’s an awesome privilege to catch a glimpse of the movement of a God who is for me and with me and beyond my understanding.

Like when the doctor told me it was severe tendonitis and that the only way to truly care for it was to quit playing the bass guitar, which meant dropping out of school, which felt like failure. “Why? Why me? What’s the actual purpose of life then?” A guttural question from the pit. Of course I hadn’t failed. It’s not as though I had any control over the assailing -itis, and I still don’t, but the loss was suffocating. A dream, an idea of who I was supposed to be, had been eliminated at point-blank range. Orchestrated within my own body.

Isn’t it wild how tendonitis or cancer or a broken relationship can both sink a vision and yet reveal a deeper purpose? Purpose—the reason for moving toward a particular destination, object or goal.


Pick up your very own copy of Lexicon of Awesome: A Melancholic Dad's Spiritual Journey Into A World of Better Words. Available Right Now online at B&N.

  • R. J Dyson / Life Coach

How do you get back on track after a project or decision doesn't go according to plan?

Here are two thoughts compiled from the experiences and rhythms of a whole bunch of creatives throughout history:

  1. Have a long-range plan of action. Assume failure, broken plans, miscommunication and hurt will be along for the ride and have a plan for working through both the good and the bad. (Hint: this is where creative habits really come into play)

  2. Leave space for mourning and motivating. Some of us spend too much time mourning a loss. In reality this becomes whining, complaining and bitterness. Some of us don't pause to absorb the blow or patch the wound and so we never actually grow. Leaving a little space to mourn the loss, discern what can be learned, pray, express thankfulness for the opportunity and dive back into our long-range creative habits, well, this will foster a healthy journey for the long haul.

Q. So, what's your long-range plan? Do you have steadfast creative habits that carry you forward regardless of mood and moment?