Mythical Productivity Creatures

Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.

Photo by Arenamontanus

A teacher of mine once defined “myth” as a story that is believed as true, whether or not it really is.

In the season of Halloween, we see a lot of mythical creatures: that is, creatures that are talked about whether or not they really exist. I will see zombies calling for brains, witches riding brooms, vampires with fangs, a variety of superheros, and animated inanimate objects come to my door, all clamoring for candy.

It made me think about other mythical creatures that we believe in, but may not really exist, especially in the realm of productivity. Here is how to spot them, and what to do about them:


The prevailing belief behind many productivity systems is that if you follow the system, you will get it ALL done. Or you’ll be able to do MORE. So we sort, organize, prioritize and add more to our lists. And we end up exhausted, behind schedule, and sometimes believing that the problem is with us and not the system.

Guess what? You’re not Superman.

Here are the things about the Superman myth:

  • No one gets it all done. No one dies with an empty inbox, and no one dies with everything wrapped up. There will always be more to do, just as a product of the journey we call life. Why overload yourself?
  • The illusion that anyone gets things done is just that – an illusion. Most of the productivity gurus who get things done have a secret: they have a staff. And the staff takes care of most of the stuff.

The Perfect Boss

Since there are very few readers of this blog that don’t have to make money to survive, we all have to deal with bosses, even if we are self-employed. Yet most of us somewhere deep down believe that if we had better bosses, we would be more productive.

Only if we were dealing with a machine could we get consistency. But there is no perfect boss, because business is always changing. Even the most consistent person will change according to external forces. It is the nature of people.

Some things to remember:

  • Priorities change. As circumstances in the business change, so will the priorities. We must be flexible to figure out what is the best thing to do. We cannot rely on anyone to do this for us, unless we wish to become unthinking automatons.
  • Information will be missing. Even those with the best memory will sometimes forget things, or not be aware the information needs to be communicated. It is hard to remember what you know unless you are asked the right questions.
  • Communication will never be optimal. Bosses are human. Humans can get distracted, or have days when they a not at their best. Communication will sometimes lapse, and we need to be aware of this and ask questions.


The last mythical creature is the hardest to catch, because sometimes she graces us with our presence. Yet when we seek her, she may not be there.

I’m talking about the ancient goddess of productivity, Flo (more commonly spelled Flow).

Flo is present when we are in the state where things come easily. Words stream easily, ideas slip out one act the other. Yet she is a fickle goddess, and when we seek her, sometimes she does not exist. Some people are more able to invoke her than others. Yet she eludes everyone some of the time.

Here are some things to know about Flo:

  • Flo is fickle. You cannot summon the flow state all the time. Be prepared with other activities if you cannot settle in.
  • Flo can be attracted. Each person can make flow more likely by knowing what will trigger her. Some people use a certain music, lighting or location. Know what works for you.
  • No one controls Flo. Even though we can attract flow, no one has the ability to be in the flow state all the time.

These a three of the mythical creatures of productivity. Do you know of more? They exist. Please feel free to share below!

Photo by Arenamontanus


  1. says

    Excellent post. I don’t know what else to say except that perhaps the only way to be productive is to accept that you are human and things are not perfect, but you can learn to focus and manage your time well to accomplish what allows to be accomplished.

    • LJ Earnest says

      I think this is a message that needs to be heard many, many times. We ARE human. Things ARE NOT perfect. End of story. :)