6 years ago I wrote a paper on the future of work… I said things like “work from anywhere”, “office agnostic”, “design thinking”, “global collaboration” I waffled on about the skills that would be important… “productivity as a skill”, “innovation and design thinking”, “creativity”, “curiosity and wonder”, “idea illustration”, “experimentation”, “empathy”… I passionately suggested that the future of work was all about humans embracing their unique strengths. Instead of ‘training’ entire workforces with new capabilities, we would simply play to individuals strengths. We would rearrange and realign to purpose and passion instead of fitting square pegs in round holes and hoping for the best. We would use technology to identify skills, capabilities, natural talent and leverage this within work so that people would move from workers… to passionate humans expressing their unique purpose and never working a day in their lives. I’m a romantic idealist with expertise in Human Resources, Recruitment, Learning and Development and the future of work excited me then… and excites me now.

However, the future of work is still vague and largely unchartered and we must prepare our people for a world of jobs that don’t even exist yet.

So how, in a world that is so unclear, so limitless can we possibly prepare for the future?

The answer for me is simple. We must be curious and we must become more human.

We must evolve.

There are amazing technological advantages that many of us can hardly wrap our heads around. There are new job families and roles emerging every single day. As a human it can be pretty overwhelming – where should you focus your energy? Where on earth should you focus your development? Well, this seems pretty simply – but the questions I have for you are:

  1. What makes your heart sing?
  2. What makes time go fast?
  3. What are you doing when you feel so god damn amazing you forget every care in the world?
  4. What makes you feel so impossibly human you can’t help but feel whole?

I have asked these questions to thousands of humans over the years, their answers never seem to amaze me. They are so unique, personal and connected that it is just impossible to share…and that in it self provides some magnificent insights – you are you… Unique, personal and connected and what makes your heart sing is 100% your bag baby.

Connect with your purpose, your strengths, who you are when you are humming and put your most human self to work… it genuinely will ensure you have a place in the future of work.

Being human and being on purpose is the answer.

When we are doing things that align to our purpose, the world makes sense. The world is easy, it is like everything is in flow, no weird issues, no friction, no tensions to navigate, chores to offload – life just has a tendency to move, like liquid, like a golden energetic wave of goodness – it is pretty damn marvellous I won’t lie to you! This is a sign that you are IN FLOW.

Pay attention… work out what the hell you are doing when you feel this way… write that shit down and create opportunities in your world to create these activities ALL THE TIME!!!!! This is your calling, your alarm, your wake up… get in there, make it your life!

In an age where computers can automate so much, why not just relax a little, find a little time to map your happy – stop wasting time stressing about the things that actually do not matter….let go, hand over the mundane and find your flow. 

The best activities seem counterintuitive – 




But how can you find time?? I have been teaching time abundance and productivity for years, here is one of my hacks…

  1. Get clear on your outcomes. What do you need to do to get paid.. this is the value exchange.
  2. Work out the activities in your day you are doing for the sake of feeling busy (there are at least 30-60 minutes a day of meetings or activities you are doing just because you feel you should… not because they add value).
  3. Reallocate this time to mediation, reflection and things that make you happy… fill your cup.
  4. With the full cup, look at your week with fresh eyes and start challenging tasks that are there to fill your week rather than MAKE IT COUNT (productive tasks to drive outcomes).
  5. Find all this amazing capacity because you realise you are dedicating more tasks to feel busy and productive or to make others feel busy and productive.
  6. Reallocate time from looking and feeling busy tasks to finding flow and spend that time in flow instead.
  7. Happy dance with all the amazing outcomes you have produced from reallocation of busy and productive looking to actual ‘flow’ with meaning that creates genuine business outcomes because you’re a human who loves part at least of your job and actually can’t hep but do good for your business even when reallocating looking busy to finding flow activities.
  8. Smile smugly as you enjoy more money, more time, more happiness.

Fast forward from that day I was researching that paper 6 years ago behind a desk in a 60 hour a week job in the concrete jungle… and this is what my life looks like (below)… on a beach, sipping a cocktail after a few incredibly productive and meaningful days kicking off a project. Humans from the USA, NZ and Australia coming together in stunning Fiji to create, design, plan and of course play!

I am feeling pretty excited and blessed to be working with the worlds best and brightest humans who are on purpose and carving out the future of work to inspire others to get out from behind the desk to create magic between living their best lives.

We are living office agnostic fully flexible lives. Raising small children, building businesses and having an absolute hoot in the process. The key? Making sure you make it count. Don’t just do stuff to ‘look busy’, stop writing 3 page emails and jump on a plane for a meaningful meeting, stop sitting at your desk 60 hours a week and start getting in later and leaving earlier. Go for walks, watch the sun set, tuck your kids into bed at night, take them for a babycino before daycare.

What is the point of getting perfect KPIs at work, if you’re sacrificing KPIs in your life? ?✈️?✨

I’m human and I’m on purpose.

I have this vision, that humans will break free from that concrete jungle office environment and create lives that give us the chance to live as Henry van Dyke dreamt we would… 

“…be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars”

Henry’s notion of how wondrous life was in the 1920s and 30s was clearly pre technology, pre workaholism, pre now. How many of us actually get to post photos like the ones above grateful of the chance we have to love and work and play and look at the stars? How many of us are sacrificing love or star gazing not to mention play just to get through our work? 

One of my mentors always used to say…

”The future is here… it’s just not evenly distributed, it’s up to us to find it and implement it, democratise the future…”

I have been obsessed with design thinking, productivity and creativity for many years now and the more that you obsess about something, the more you seek to understand, to experiment and to expand your understanding. Over the years I have run Design Thinking workshops in beautiful event locations, outside, at the beach – this trip – I took it a little further and experimented with travel Design Thinking, and we did it everywhere. We worked on the run and pulled out post it notes at bars, on buses, even on a sea plane! The results? We have come home to a full and detailed project plan with roles, responsibility, scope and clarity… and iPhone’s full of beautiful photos of a week that felt more like a vacation than work.

So is this the future of work? Well, it could be for some! We must experiment with the what, the how, the WHERE!

It does however require preparation, mindset shifts and a whole lot of discipline (despite how pretty and easy it all looks).

So my challenge to you… 

How can you create the future of work for you? What, How and Where can you experiment to create a little magic and challenge the paradigm we have created around ‘WORK’. Why not project plan on the balcony of your hotel room in paradise?

If you’d like to experience Design Thinking in Paradise, give us a call. www.islandinabox.com 


  • Sarah Nally

    WONDER CONDUCTOR | Founder of The Wonder Tribe | Writing: The Wonder Mindset™ | Hypnotist | Wonder Junkie

    Sarah is a wonder conductor; wired to create and connect; obsessed with wonder, productivity, creativity, innovation and curious about all things. She has a gift for sythesizing seemingly disparate concepts and ideas, a human metadata analyst with a knack for seeing new solutions to old problems. She is a qualified hypnotherapist and obsessive meditator who is passionate about changing the future of work, normalising flexibility, mumpreneurs and women in business. She produces mind altering events (including www.nurtureher.com, www.wiredforwonder.com). She is the founder of The Wonder Tribe (www.thewondertribe.co), a creative consultancy to create the kind of culture you want to be famous for, Female Business Retreat (www.nurtureher.com) and successful baby shoe company Sienna baby (www.siennababy.com.au) She is a Design Thinking Coach, Hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner with a Bbus Human Resource Management and Psychology from Monash University in Melbourne.