When I saw that Father’s Day coincided with World Productivity Day this year, I couldn’t help but smile. My Dad, George, who passed away over 19 years ago, taught me so much about being productive. He would surely be amused to learn that I made a career out of it!

My father embedded some very deep beliefs in my three older brothers and me. As it turns out, two of his ‘mantras’ are now part of my top three productivity tips. Here they are:


Me and my Dad…a few decades ago
Me and my Dad…a few decades ago
  1. SLEEP – No matter what was ailing you – nerves, fever, anxiety, heartache, stress, or upset stomach – the number one remedy in my house was sleep. We had strictly enforced bedtimes and Sunday nights before the work/school week was always a little earlier. As an adult, I now see and understand the importance and value of getting enough sleep. There is increasing evidence to support this. If you’d like to learn more, check out Matthew Walker’s TED talk, Sleep is your superpower. Practically, you don’t need research to know that it is incredibly hard to focus when you haven’t had enough sleep.
  2. EXERCISE – My Dad insisted that my brothers and I each be part of a sports team in school (we could select the sport but all opted for swimming). In addition to learning the importance of teamwork, this would ensure that we had regular exercise. My father believed that if you exercised, you could eat what you wanted. Sadly, this has not worked out for me! He also saw the benefits that activity had on managing stress and mental well-being. What he may not have connected at the time is that many people find movement and exercise can also help you focus. I have found that my most productive times are right after a good, hard swim!
  3. MINDFULNESS – At this point, you may be wondering about my third top productivity tip. It’s mindfulness. My father did not have a formal mindfulness practice, but I imagine, had he lived in current times, it’s something he would have embraced. Over the past 20 years, there has been an explosion in research around the benefits of a mindfulness practice. Some of my favorite findings include better sleep, improved working memory, enhanced focus, reduced symptoms associated with anxiety and depression, greater emotion regulation, and a boost to the immune system. My daily mindfulness practice has given me the ability to pause before reacting to challenges and stressful situations. As a result, I can choose how I respond rather than get caught up in the moment. This means more time being productive and less time worrying and ruminating!

As we head into Father’s Day weekend, I am grateful to my Dad who provided me with a solid foundation in organization and productivity through both nature and nurture.

What were some of your Dad’s favorite mantras and how might they have shaped who you are today?

Wishing all dads a wonderful Father’s Day!