The best tips on productivity, motivation and dealing with depression

I recently had the privilege of connecting and interacting with one of the happiest and most successful people I’ve ever known. He started as a salesman and built one of the biggest direct sales companies in the region. I always admired how he found time for leisure and everything else that he enjoyed doing, even during the busiest times of his business. He retired early and rich, while the company runs on the systems he had built. In the following note, he shared with me his thoughts on motivation, productivity and dealing with depression:

Books: Two books that helped me greatly are:

  1. How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne
  2. The Happiness Purpose by Edward De Bono

And my favorite now for ageless wisdom is The Portable Thoreau edited Carl Bode.

Work Habits: 

  • Keep a ‘time diary’ for 10-30 days. Log everything you do from wake-up to sleep – every phone call, every meeting, every cup of coffee. Review and you will find there is much wasted and unproductive time, which could be spent constructively on work or quality leisure. Make the adjustments.
  • Do jobs IMMEDIATELY and FINISH them.

By doing these two things I accomplished the same in one third of the time than most people! Now I am stress-free and have lots of leisure.

Favorite Quotes

“There is a tide in the affairs of men

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and miseries.

On such a full sea are we now afloat,

And we must take the current when it serves,

Or lose our ventures.” William Shakespeare.

“Don’t put off moving to the beach until you are too old to go swimming.”

“Don’t confuse wishful thinking with reality.”

“Don’t confuse motion with progress.”

Depression: There is a difference between not appreciating the good things in our lives, ‘the blues’ which we all get occasionally, and full-blown depression. If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a depressive episode these thoughts are paramount:

  • It’s nothing to be ashamed of! You wouldn’t be ashamed of having a sore knee. You wouldn’t try and hide it and you would seek a cure for it. Similarly, depression has a physical cause, a chemical imbalance in the brain, and needs to be dealt with just like a sore knee needs to be dealt with. It has very little to do with your financial, family or life circumstances.
  • It’s not your fault you have it, but it is your responsibility to fix it! It adversely affects you, your family, loved ones, and your colleagues. In extreme cases it can lead to suicide.
  • Surprisingly, very simple cures work for most people – regular rhythmic exercise like swimming and walking, sunlight, good diet and sleep and less stress.
  • Failing those, see a doctor urgently. No matter how bad it seems now, it IS fixable.

[Photo taken recently at The West Lake in Hanoi]

3 thoughts on “The best tips on productivity, motivation and dealing with depression

  1. “Don’t put off moving to the beach until you are too old to go swimming.” – I love that. Sums up the need to live life now, which is the only time there is to live it, after all!


  2. Great suggestions! Recreation is a great way to avoid depression. Looking at the marvelous and wonderful can relieve much of the stress pent up inside. The picture looks lovely and the book suggestions are a must read.


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