I conduct classes and workshops that help undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and other academic workers become more joyfully productive.

Below is my foundational syllabus. I’ve presented variations on it for nearly fifteen years, at many educational institutions and other venues; and everywhere I’ve taught it, it has had a transformational effect. The principles of joyful abundance and empowered work habits work for everyone.

This syllabus can be taught in its entirety as a two-day or three-day class. Or, I will be happy to teach the subset of it that’s most useful to your audience. Or, you can check out the most popular Workshops I’ve been asked to teach from the material.

For your event, I’ll work with you to decide which elements to include, and then customize them with content, examples and exercises specific to your audience and purpose. Handouts will also be customized!

Email me or call 781-500-9942 to discuss your organization’s needs.


The 7 Secrets of the Prolific Syllabus
(c)2010-2013 Hillary Rettig. All rights reserved.

Goal: To help participants become abundantly and joyfully productive by: (1) elucidating the mechanisms underlying productivity, and (2) providing concrete and achievable strategies for overcoming barriers and getting more work done. Participants should expect higher productivity and lower stress after just the first session, and that those gains should accelerate and accrue over time.


I. Liberation from Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Blocks

Procrastination, perfectionism, and blocks are not caused by laziness, lack of discipline, or lack of commitment. They are habits rooted in fear, and once we start properly characterizing and alleviating our fears, procrastination and related problems are often remarkably easily solved. In this module, we examine the true nature of, causes of, and solutions to procrastination, perfectionism and blocks.

2. Liberation from Resource Constraints

What resources do you need to work prolifically? More than you might think! In this module, we discuss the dozens of psychological, material, and community resources most of us require. We also discuss the eight stages of most work processes and the requirements for each stage. Finally, we examine the major role luck plays in success, and how to function in its presence or absence.

3. Liberation from Time Constraints

In this module, we discuss the true value of time, and why time management is your primary tool for achieving your important goals. We also discuss how to budget and track time; how to prioritize; how to set and defend your boundaries; and how to use delegation and other techniques to “create” time.

4. Liberation from Negative and Limiting Ideas About Yourself and Your Work

In this module, we examine the degree to which you may have internalized negative and limiting ideas about yourself and your work, and how to arrive at a more objective and compassionate view.

5. Liberation from Ambivalence and Fear of Rejection

Many underproductive workers are terrified of rejection. For them, procrastination, while a source of shame and frustration, serves a purpose in rendering them invisible to professional or personal communities that might harshly judge and/or reject them. In this module, we discuss strategies for building resilience and coping with rejection; also, how to defuse the kinds of traumatic rejections that foment procrastination and blocks.

6. Liberation from Exploitative Career Paths

It is hard to stay productive while being actively disempowered, so in this module we discuss the characteristics of empowered careers–including equality, access, alignment, and transparency–and how to achieve one.

7. Liberation from Traditional Publishing: an Indie Publishing Primer

Indie publishing = writer’s liberation, so in this module is for writers of all kinds who wish to liberate themselves from traditional publishers and publishing. We’ll discuss the indie publishing business model, how to choose a platform, and how to build an audience, among other topics. (For non-writing audiences we’ll discuss why adding an indie publishing profit center is a great idea, and then move on to the other topics.)