Rebalance Your Productivity With Eastern Wisdom

Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.

Photo by DonkeyHotey

I know I’m not the only one who feels off-kilter. And when I feel off-kilter, my productivity suffers. Today I’ve invited Erin Owen, an Eastern-inspired productivity expert, to guest blog and share her unique philosophy that brings Eastern wisdom to the Western idea of performance and productivity. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guest post guidelines.

Have you ever considered how the ancient wisdom of the East can boost your productivity?

Would you believe me if I told you that these ideas are incredibly simple and sustainable and — best of all — usually involve doing less to generate better results?

In this 3-part guest blog series, I’ll share Eastern energetic principles that I teach my clients to show you how you can live and work in a new way — a way that allows you to boost your productivity, while also slowing down and enjoying more of life.

In this first post, our focus is time management and an age-old framework you already know by name: Yin and Yang.


If your calendar is so jam-packed with meetings, activities, errands, and running around that there is barely enough room for you to breathe, eat, or rest, then you are living an extremely YANG lifestyle.

We “YANG’ies” are the norm in our modern world — where technology keeps you on the hook 24/7 and you hold yourself to higher and higher expectations of performing like Superwoman or Superman at work and at home. You might feel like this way of living and working is the only option, but here’s the wake-up call: your tight, densely-filled schedule is literally squeezing the life out of you. It’s not sustainable.


On the other hand, if you have relatively few commitments in your calendar, and it seems as though you are floating in an uncomfortable way because you feel un-tethered and your life lacks meaning, then you are living at the opposite extreme. I see this “YIN syndrome” most commonly in the recently unemployed, empty-nesters (whose kids have grown up and left home), and single professionals who are uninspired in their work lives. Your wake up call is this: the lack of structure and focus in your time can swallow you whole if you don’t take action to invite in more balance.

So, what to do? Get thee some balance!

Time To Balance

You YANG’ies need some more YIN. (Just imagine expanding the black dot inside the white side of the YinYang symbol.)

And those of you with so-called YIN syndrome need a dose of Yang. (Imagine expanding the white dot inside the black side of the YinYang symbol.)

The energetic secret to boosting your productivity is balancing Yin and Yang. Neither is good, nor bad. Just think of them as terms that describe weight.

YANG’ies: Bring in more YIN to lighten your load, or alternatively think of it as letting go of the burdens that weigh you down. YIN’ies: Invite in more YANG to give definition, structure, and meaning to how you pass your time.

Need more direction? Read on.

Too much YANG?

Try one or more of the following and notice the effects on your productivity:

  • Build in a 5-to-7 minute break every hour. Use your smart phone to set a timer — and choose a nice, soothing sound, like the harp.
  • No matter how long your lunch break is, sit somewhere you can see nature (even a picture of it) and leave behind all technological devices. Just breathe and eat, whether it be for 6 minutes or 36 minutes.
  • Take a vacation to re-set. The longer you’ve been living an extremely YANG existence, the longer it might take you to unwind and get the perspective you need to re-enter your life with a more balanced approach to managing your time — a critical ingredient in positive productivity.

Too much YIN?

Follow these 3 steps and observe the effects on your physical and mental energy.

  • Write down a list of all the people and activities that have ever given you joy or make you laugh.
  • Build-in appointments in your calendar to engage with these in a new way– lunch with an old friend, attending free concerts in the park, volunteering your time at the local food bank, playing tennis in a league at a nearby park, trying out different places of worship to find a vibe and message that resonates with you, etc, etc. Add these one at a time in a meaningful way.
  • Grab a journal (or notebook) and take note of what you are weaving into your life and how the experiences are showing up in your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions.

The Bottom Line

Experiment with a mix of structured and free-flowing elements in your calendar to re-balance yourself and create the ideal state of mind and physical energy you desire to be productive and perform at your optimum level.

Stay tuned for my next guest blog about the breath, and travel with me to Bali for my next performance breakthrough retreat, October 26 – November 5. Registration closes end of August and only 5 spots remain. More details at

Erin Owen brings ancient Eastern practices to Western performance as a performance breakthrough coach and author.

Photo by DonkeyHotey