“It’s always the great people who arrive on time and seemingly have all the time in the world.”

―Antony Armstrong-Jones

Have you ever struggled with your productivity? Do you ever wonder why some days are great and others just aren’t in the flow? Do you ever feel like you are behind the eight ball in this technologically driven world?

There’s a million different tools, tips, and techniques out there for self improvement and reaching your goals. And all of us but the folks with the simplest of lives have a lot on our plates. If you’re like me, sometimes life feels like trying to fit 6 pounds of oranges into a 5 pound bag.

It’s important to stay in touch with who you are “being” while you’re in the midst of everything that you are “doing.” As you hack your way through your mile-long to-do list with your metaphorical machete, are you ‘being’ that person who is cool, calm, and collected or do you let yourself become overwhelmed, frazzled, and stressed out?

I opened this with a quote from renowned photographer Antony “Tony” Armstrong-Jones, the first Earl of Snowdon and former husband of the late Princess Margaret. He was talking about working with Laurence Olivier, whom he made a portrait of as Archie Rice in the film The Entertainer. It’s a way of being that I greatly admire.

So today I’ve got one simple trick or habit you can develop to help you be that great person who is always on time with all the time in the world. It all starts with the very first choices you make when you get up in the morning.

You may already have this down pat. I try my best, but occasionally slip. I witness a lot of people around me falling down this slippery slope all the time, so I know it’s a common foible of our modern world. It happened to me this morning, which is what prompted me to write about this topic!

The idea is to always “push” before you “pull.” Always “act” before you “react.” In other words, make your first activities of your day intentional before allowing yourself to put any of your attention on the agendas that other people inevitably set for you.

If you are like me, it’s a lot easier to do creative work or focus on a specific project first thing in the morning when your mind is clear. On days when I have the discipline to postpone things like email or social media until at least 10 or 11 AM, I get more done faster inside of an hour or two than I would in a typical day of multitasking.

It takes willpower to avoid a quick tap on the app on your smart phone, but think about how easy it is to be derailed by an errant message that clouds your mind with the fog of reaction, spinning your consciousness in an unforeseen direction that you could not predict.

Social media can be even worse, there’s nothing more enticing and yet self-sabotage-inducing as a quick peek at your Facebook feed.Studies continue to prove that we have to be very careful to avoid the ill effects of Big Blue, and I speak from experience, I’m very susceptible!

So susceptible in fact that I’ve installed the ‘Kill News Feed’ plugin on my laptops Chrome browser, which allows me to visit Facebook to post or get work done without ever being distracted by an algorithmically-driven black hole of cute cats and ugly presidents.

This may not be an issue for you at all, perhaps you’re one of the naturally-focused and properly-prioritized few that walks among us. But if the squirrels and shiny objects of today’s day and age sometimes seduce you, building the muscle of intention can be very valuable.

Try this for a week or a month and ask yourself how it feels. Keep all of the content that you allow for the first hour or two after your morning routine to be self-referenced and action-oriented. Meditate on your calendar and your to-do list instead of checking the news. (I highly recommend the Trello app for your to-do’s, and I’ve tried quite a few!) Put a solid hour into your top one or two priorities before allowing yourself to react or multitask.

Your smart phone is engineered to facilitate distraction, but you can grab the bull by the horns and take control. Start by turning off most of your notifications, especially the news. The rearrange you app icons so that your home screen is for action and planning, and you have to slide over to another panel or dig one layer down into a folder to get to your bottomless pits of social media.

So whether you are creatively self-employed or contributing to the success of a large organization, framing your daily dance of life in the context of ‘pushing’ your own agenda before allowing yourself to get ‘pulled’ into anyone else’s is a recipe for success. Act before you react, and watch your well-being improve!

Wishing you the best on this lovely week until next Monday


Mark Metz
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine

Dance First Media Partner Spotlight – Win a pair of tickets to the GUITARFISH FESTIVAL !!!

Are you still hyped for festival season? It’s not over yet! And this coming weekend we’ve got a great one for you from our friends who host the Joshua Tree Music Festival.

The GUITARFISH FESTIVAL is happening high in the cool Sierra Mountains at a place called the Cisco Grove Campground near the town of Norden. Billed as a “People Friendly Camping Experience – Over a mile high, in the forest, on the South Fork of the Yuba River. Kids! Art! Yoga!”

As the name certainly implies, this will be a guitar-oriented live music-centric experience. And you can win a pair of full weekend passes (not including parking) simply by being the third person to reply and ask me for them!

The musical lineup includes a roster of great live acts including: THE MAIN SQUEEZE, Greener Grounds, See-I, HOUSE of HAMSA, RonKat Spearman’s Katdelics, Liberation Movement, Gene Evaro Jr., Steve Poltz, Down North, Smoked Out Soul, Trevor Green, Desert Rhythm Project, Ian Winters, and the inimitable All Good Funk Alliance! More acts to be announced!

“Known for a funk-tastic, groove-fueled musical lineup, the experience includes an action-packed kidsville and family camp, swimming holes a short stroll from the stages, access to world class mountain & road biking routes, music playshops, a world market, yoga classes from sunrise to sunset, hiking + more. Camping amongst family and friends, while witnessing inspired live music in a natural setting truly enriches lives and fuels the heart!”

Make a last-minute to head for the hills this weekend and go toGUITARFISH! The third reply in my inbox wins a pair of tickets!