You Can’t Always Be Productive

You can’t always be productive.⠀

Some days you crush it. Other days you feel like moving to Australia.

I’ve seen a lot of Instagrammers make it look and sound like every day can be your best day.

It’s a lie.

Some days you wake up with a headache. Some days you miss your workout. Some days travel throws you off your routine, forcing you to eat crap food and providing no time to settle into deep, focused work.


Don’t let it get you down. Don’t let it kill your motivation.

Productivity ebbs and flows. From day to day. From month to month.

Flow with it.

  • Meditate.

  • Play some upbeat music.

  • Call a friend or family member.

  • Write down what you’re grateful for.

  • Get your blood moving with some light exercise.

  • Do something nice for someone else, no strings attached.

  • Write down what’s bothering or stalling you, and what you can do to fix it.

  • Relax, read a book, play a video game. Set a timer so you don’t feel guilty.

  • Strike out everything on your todo list except one thing you know you can knock out under the circumstances.

Any one of these ideas is better than stewing in guilt, and just might kick you back into gear.

If all else fails, don’t worry, and don’t beat yourself up. If you’ve built a plan for tomorrow and a system for your week, your month, and your year, you can sit the bench today. You’re already set for balanced, productive success for the long haul.

While you’re at it, keep in mind the words of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst:

It’s been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, day. My mom says some days are like that. Even in Australia.
— Judith Viorst

About the Author


Michael Mehlberg


I help high-achieving entrepreneurs live their passion and achieve their dreams by consistently saving time, getting productive, and being more efficient and organized.

Subscribe to my free, short, 60-second newsletter for tips, tricks, links, products, and other discoveries to becoming a more purposeful, passionate, and productive human.

How to Crush Your Day Without Another Silly Life Hack

How to Crush Your Day Without Another Silly Life Hack

There’s a feeling you get at the end of the day when you know you’ve crushed it.

You’ve accomplished everything you wanted, maybe more, and now have time to relax, recharge, get a good nights sleep, and head into another victory tomorrow.

Those are the good days.

On other days though, you don’t even know what went wrong.

You spend all day ridiculously busy, yet feel you’ve accomplished nothing. That increases the pressure on you to get more done tomorrow. You feel overwhelmed by everything that needs your attention. What's worse, you can’t get to sleep quickly because you’re up worrying about what a stressful day tomorrow will bring.

What is the difference between those two days?

Fighting Phone Distractions? This Obscure Kitchen Device Will Help

Fighting Phone Distractions? This Obscure Kitchen Device Will Help

Phones aren't the only distraction. Your laptop, a good book, the TV, anything can prevent you from doing those important tasks that will drive your business forward.

There is a simple solution to lock those distractions away, enabling you to get done what you need to get done and move closer to your goals…

End Distracting Texts Once and For All (Without Turning Off Notifications)

End Distracting Texts Once and For All (Without Turning Off Notifications)

Yes, texts are an amazing instant communication tool. No, I'm not suggesting we turn text messaging off completely. It's just that the assumed commitment to a conversation is what often derails from our work. And losing focus is exactly what separates the busy from the productive. 

So, how do we keep our ability to stay in immediate touch without disabling texts completely? 

How to Prioritize When Everything Feels Important


If there's one thing that can confuse you, make you procrastinate, or cause undue stress in your day, it's thinking of all the things you should do.

I should meditate.

I should floss my teeth.

I should wake-up early.

Keep a gratitude journal. Plan my day. Update my website. Should, should, should.

It's downright exhausting. And what's worse, it's counterproductive.

Because people rarely do what they should do. But they always do what they have to do.

Take note though, I'm not talking about having to email someone back. I'm not talking about having to take out the garbage. I'm talking about something deep in your soul, telling what you have to do... what you MUST do.

Sure, maybe you should meditate. But if you have to update your sales funnel to convert a higher percentage of customers for your new product, then that becomes your priority.

Yes, sending that email is what you should do, but if you have to create a new Facebook Ad to generate new leads that will drive your new product sales to new heights, then that is your priority.


Should is not your priority. The things you should do are those nagging tasks that would be nice to have done, but not critical. Given enough time, the things you should be doing will turn into things you might want to do if you have time, which then  will transform into things you know you'll never do because they really aren't all that important.

The things you have to do are your priority. And focusing on those tasks will bring you clarity, relieve you of undue stress, and make procrastinating an artifact of the past.

Forget about what you should do and start working on that which you have to do

About the Author

Michael Mehlberg


I help high-achieving entrepreneurs live their passion and achieve their dreams by consistently saving time, getting productive, and being more efficient and organized.

Subscribe to my free, short, 60-second newsletter for tips, tricks, links, products, and other discoveries to becoming a more purposeful, passionate, and productive human. 

Be a Witness to Your Time

Be a Witness to Your Time

Your time comes, and then it goes, never to return.

Most people don’t even watch it pass. They simply notice, one day, that they (and everyone around them) are older. They look back fondly on their memories, wondering why they seem so distant, amazed at how quickly they came and passed.

This is not how you treat a non-renewable resource. It's not even how we treat some renewable resources!

Using Trello to Organize Ideas, Track Process, and Take Action

If sticky notes are 3M’s gift to random thoughts and ideas, and the Internet is Al Gore’s (ha) gift to communication, Trello is Trello, Inc.’s perfect union of the two; a web app combing the simplicity of sticky notes with the power of the Internet; a gift to anyone who wants to organize their ideas and turn them into reality.

Want to skip the foreplay? Sign up here and play with it. It’s free.

Note: I don’t make a penny for recommending this tool. I just love it that much.

If you’re not ready to dive in, here’s why you should consider it.

Your Ideas are Worth Nothing, Unless...

I’ve written before on just how valuable your ideas are.

Bottom line up front?

If you haven’t taken action on your idea, it’s worth precisely nothing.

Many ideas have infinite potential, but never amount to anything because their creator didn’t execute. It’s easy to understand why. One of the most challenging things to do is take that first step toward transforming an idea into reality. We fear perfection, success, and failure all at the same time. We are overcome with indecision when facing a forest full of trees to cut down.

 As such, any app that captures your ideas, if it’s to be worth anything, must also help transition your ideas smoothly into execution.

This is why I love Trello. It’s an idea organizer, process development, project management, and general productivity tool for turning ideas into reality and getting shit done. 

Trello, the Kid-Friendly Productivity Tool for Grownups


Think of Trello like an online whiteboard (called a Board) you can cover with sticky notes (called Cards). Your whiteboard is divided into columns (called Lists)—one for each step in your process.

Trello can support multiple Boards, and each can be customized to fit any stepwise process that works for you.

  • Turning Ideas Into Reality - From idea generation to research to a project plan.
  • Managing Sales - From lead to opportunity to sale to revenue.
  • Project Management - From project charter to execution to review to project close.
  • Writing - From idea to research to draft to published to marketing after.

Your Cards are the thoughts, ideas, and tasks that you need to track through your process. They are the digital "sticky notes" containing a title, description, notes, labels, assigned team members, due dates, and other tracking tools necessary for small business projects. Create new ones, delete old ones, move active ones between the columns to represent where each task lies in your process. You can even view the cards with due dates on a calendar. Oh, and if your Card is a bigger task that requires multiple actions to complete, you can list action items within and track them to completion. 


 It’s Time to Take Action

Trello is free to use for teams, making it perfect for creators, entrepreneurs, and businesses with less than 25 employees. For businesses working in distributed environments, the Trello app on iOS and Android interfaces perfectly with their web app, allowing teams to access their Trello board anywhere they have an Internet connection.

Remember, your ideas are worth nothing if not executed.

And if you don’t have a process for turning your ideas into reality, it’s about damn time you created one. Trello might be exactly the app you are looking for to help you get organized, get productive, and transform ideas into action. 

About the Author


Michael Mehlberg

Co-Founder | Technology, Apps, and Wicked Cool Productivity Tools

Mike Mehlberg spends most of his productive hours playing with cool apps that would make him more productive, if only he’d use them for real work. Want to get organized and maximize your time? He knows an app for that. Contact him at to get organized, get productive, and make the most of each day.

Getting Derailed? Leave Room to Accommodate the Unexpected

Getting Derailed? Leave Room to Accommodate the Unexpected

You often get derailed by "the unexpected.”

It’s inevitable.

You get interrupted an unexpected number of times daily. Those interruptions come at unexpected times. They each take an unexpected amount of time with which to deal.

That’s why it’s "the unexpected."

These interruptions kill your flow, destroy your focus, and force you to work on the urgent instead of the important.

So how do you deter, prevent, and deal with the problems these unexpected interruptions incur? 

The Missing Element to Achieving Your Goals and Expanding Your Potential

The Missing Element to Achieving Your Goals and Expanding Your Potential

I chuckled in the smallish veterinary clinic in Leesburg, Virginia, just loud enough to draw a glance from the doctor standing nearby.

"My wife just responded to my text," I said. "I told her Dottie gained 10 pounds. She told me 'that's because you feed her salami every night.'"

Dottie is our Bulloxer rescue; a bulldog head stuck on a boxer's body. She's four years old, has white fur, and (now) weighs 85.2 pounds. Where she was once ripped with genetically-gifted shoulder muscle striation, she now looks a little soft and full. 

Maybe full of salami...

On the Power and Freedom of Getting Yourself (and Your Business) Organized

“Keep work and life separate,” they say.

But how the fuck are you supposed to do that? You know from experience that there isn’t enough time in a day to live two separate lives.

I reject the notion that you need to.

After all, didn’t you start your business to pursue your passion? To live your dreams? To have the kind of freedom corporate America craves while simultaneously changing the world?

Yes, it’s work. But it’s your life too.

And, as a creative entrepreneur, your life, business, and passion are excitedly and frighteningly intertwined. Any method or tool that eases the burden of time and increases your productivity while maintaining a work/life balance must be adopted.

Not should. Must.

That's why today is the day you need to get organized. It may not be fun. It may not be easy. But it must be done. 

Organization is the tool that gives you power. It gives you freedom. It lets you command others' attention. Organization allows you to forget, reduce decision fatigue, focus, and work a wildly productive day.

Without organization, you'll struggle more than you should. You'll be seen as "unorganized" or worse, "lazy." You'll have to remember everything lest you drop an important ball or let your friends, family, or coworkers down. At some point, you may even hit a breaking point.

I know I did...

Everyone Hits Their Breaking Point

On November 5th, 2009, having spent the past three years working in a startup full time while growing my own app company, I hit my breaking point.

Keeping a separate calendar, notebook, phone, computer, even office was too overwhelming. I was spending too much time managing everything, too much energy hauling multiple notebooks, books, and papers around. I needed to consolidate, get organized, and replace this excessive overhead with meaningful work.

Standing before a whiteboard in San Francisco, 3000 miles from home, I dreaded the thought of printing and carrying dozens of whiteboard images from our meeting on my return flight. But if I didn’t those images would be lost forever; a forgotten digital artifact in my photo-library crammed between pictures of my wife, my first-born, and my dog.

Consolidating things would be a pain, sure, but I no longer had a choice. Developing a system for storing and retrieving anything at a moments notice would take time, but I was tired of wasting time and energy thinking every instance I had something new to save.

So I downloaded Evernote, a relatively new app (at the time) that gave those whiteboard photos a home. A categorized, taggable, searchable, organized home.

10 thousand notes, pictures, thoughts, ideas, bills, receipts, any any other digital or physical files organized in Evernote; my go-to platform for order and productivity. 

10 thousand notes, pictures, thoughts, ideas, bills, receipts, any any other digital or physical files organized in Evernote; my go-to platform for order and productivity. 

In the years to come, I’d make it a point to find a home for every photo, document, bill, receipt, thought, idea, journal entry, etc. in my physical and digital life. In my business too. Nearly ten years and over 10,000 notes later, I’ve become an organization fanatic. My laptop, my desktop, my phone are all orderly. At home, on travel, in a coffee shop, at a store, I can search for and find anything I need almost instantaneously... all using an organization system that drastically improved my life. 

I now consider personal and professional organization an ongoing investment; an investment with a huge return.

Organization Gives You Power


If there’s one thing I Hate (capital H intended) more than anything, it’s not being able to find something.

Wallet? If it’s not where I always put it and I have to spend a single second looking for it I’m ticked. Keys? Same thing. Documents? Yep.

My coffee? I get really pissed when I misplace that :).

Do you feel the same way? Your business and your ideas move too quickly to get distracted by searching. When you need info, you need it NOW!

Instead of powerlessly sifting through folders to find a document, putting a simple organizational system in place can bring it to your fingertips in seconds. You don’t waste a moment thinking about where your information might be. You don’t get distracted by the hunt. You find the thing and keep on truckin’.

Organization gives you power.

It gives you the power to find what you need when you need it. The power to recall information you’ve forgotten quickly and without frustration. Plain and simple, organization gives you control over the things and information in your life instead of those things and information having power over you.

Organization Gives You Others’ Attention


When you’re organized, others give you their attention. They want to stay connected with you because they’ve come to rely on you for storing, finding, and retrieving that which they value.

Scientific studies have found an explanation for this in a phenomenon known as the transactive memory system (TMS). You might better recognize this as a “shared memory” between a friend or a family member. 

For example, my wife keeps my two sons’ (incredibly complex and exhaustive) baseball schedule organized. She knows where each kid needs to be and by when. She knows what team they are playing, or if it’s just a practice. Yes, I get emailed by each baseball coach with this information too. But because my wife learns it, organizes it, and can recall it the moment I ask, I can archive those emails and forget this information instantly.

The thing is, I have become dependent on her for this information

According to the study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, TMS deepens as relationships grow, and grows as relationships deepen. In other words, as you build trust with your friend, coworker, or family, your importance to them can increase based on this TMS. Keeping relevant information organized at your fingertips can help build these relationships as acquaintances begin to realize they can come to you for quick answers, quick document retrieval, or other info.

What does this all mean?

Staying organized puts you in a position, like my wife is for me, to have others rely on you in a positive and productive way. 

As a side note, when you have a reliable system for storing and retrieving valuables, you no longer have to remember everything. You can just remember that you put what you need in your organizational system and go there to retrieve it. That's TMS in action!

Organization Allows You to Forget


You’re busy with dozens of emails, multiple projects, and daily meetings. Trying to remember it all just isn’t possible. More so, if you don’t keep these pieces of information organized, you’ll eventually forget something important causing setbacks in your essential projects.

Staying organized allows you to forget.

You can confidently forget those things that you can retrieve later. Why bother remembering if you can store it away in a familiar, categorized, and searchable organization system?

It’s the reason I can never remember how many fluid ounces are in a cup. I can just ask Alexa or Siri or Google, and it will tell me. It’s the reason we can't remember phone numbers anymore. You can find it in your smartphone contacts, tap the name, and it dutifully dials them for you.

Yes, you still have to remember where you’ve stored the information. The difference is twofold:

  1. It’s easier to remember where to retrieve information instead of what that information is, especially if you keep it all in a single system.
  2. If you can’t find the information you seek because it’s not well organized, you’ve permanently forgotten anyways.

In short, organization helps you remember by letting you forget.

Organization Reduces Decision Fatigue


We’ve all heard of the term, “decision fatigue.” It’s the reason Steve Jobs wore jeans and a black turtleneck every day. Why spend your limited cycles making unimportant decisions? Save that decision making power for important goals later.

While you don’t have to stockpile and wear black turtlenecks daily, you can reduce your decision fatigue with some basic organization.

Instead of deciding what to do with some new document, bill, form, webpage, or other thing you’ll need for later, just put it into an organized system. Pay the one-time-cost of creating a structured way of storing and retrieving info, then use it every time. Without thinking. Without considering. Just do it.

Sketch an idea on a napkin at a restaurant? Snap a picture of it and store it in your system. Have a good whiteboarding brainstorm? Snap a picture of it and store it in your system. Write a good thought, idea, email that you want to save for later? Put it in your system.

Doing this will change your workflow completely, saving valuable energy for bigger decisions later.

Organization reduces decision fatigue.

Now, instead of deciding whether to file away your next great back-of-the-napkin idea in a file cabinet, in the stack of crap on your desk, or in some random file folder on your computer, you don’t have to. It just goes in same place. Every time.

Organization Lets You Focus on What’s Important

When you’re searching for your keys, you’re not focused on your goals.  When you are looking for a specific document through an unsorted email inbox, you’re losing valuable time that could otherwise be spent focusing on what’s important. 

Organization helps you focus on what’s important. 

I know, I know... you can always find what you’re looking for. So can I. But that time adds up.  

To find out how much, set a timer the next time to start hunting for something—be it a file or a bill or some object like your sunglasses or keys. Start the timer when you begin your search and stop it when you find what you’re looking for. Multiply that by the number of times you go searching for similar things in a given week.  

That’s how much time you’re wasting.

That’s how much your goals have suffered. That’s how much more time you could have spent focusing on what’s important. 

Organization Equals Freedom

Regardless of how your passion or business helps others, you live a creative life. It takes creativity to outsmart your competition, to find new customers, to market your product or service. All that creativity, it needs freedom.

Organization gives you freedom.

Whem you’re organized, it doesn’t matter how you create. You can think and make and do and store your ideas on any medium. You are free to develop that next million dollar idea in a format with which you’re comfortable.

Like drawing on paper? Go for it. Like typing first drafts on a typewriter? Do it.

Just be sure to organize it. You’ll know where and how to find it later.

Find Your System, Get Organized, and Reap the Benefits


So this entire article is dedicated to why you should put an organizational system in place. But why haven’t I recommended such a system? 

Because. Everyone’s system needs to be different.

Your system will be different than mine, different from your neighbors, and different than your co-workers. It needs to conform to your goals, your way of living and working, and the tools at your disposal.

My system for organizing papers, photos, notes, ideas, thoughts, references, and any other digital documents is Evernote. Everything I think that needs remembering and everything I store that needs retrieving goes in my system. Without consideration. Without a second thought.

Evernote may not be for you, but now you know why organization is important, and you understand why you need to find a system of your own. Once you do, you’ll find just how powerful your system is, how others will come to rely on you, and how much more energy and freedom you’ll have because of it.

About the Author


Michael Mehlberg


Mike Mehlberg helps Creators and Entrepreneurs develop an organization and productivity system aligned with their personal and professional goals to grow their passion into a thriving business with purpose and speed.

5 Ways to Improve Your Company's Workflow

5 Ways to Improve Your Company's Workflow

In order to be successful, a business has to find its workflow.

A business must work successfully and smoothly to maintain structure during tumultuous times. Whether your team is working on a really important project or has an upcoming deadline, if you have a strong workflow, there is nothing to worry about.

On the other hand, if you don’t have the right procedures in place, that can be something that might negatively impact your company.

An effective workflow is only possible by shifting focus onto efficiency and work towards avoiding inefficiency. Inefficiency can cost your company time, money and even employees, so it’s important to know where a company’s problem areas are. Below are some tips for improving your company’s workflow.