Why Leslie Knope is a Beautiful Productivity Unicorn

Kate Rufener Productivity Coach Leslie Knope

I have bunches of tips and tricks for being your most productive self (check out my past posts for productivity inspo!)

To add to these gems, I’m turning to one of the wisest philosophers of our time.

No darlin’, I’m not talking about Yoda (although c’mon, how great is he??) or Ghandi or the Dalai Lama.

I’m talking about the one and only Leslie Knope! If you don’t know who I’m talking about, then get ready to LOVE me for introducing you to your new BFF and take a few minutes to watch this intro: 





One of the things I looove about Leslie is that, despite having a job that no one else in the town wants (including the people she works with), she is always super positive and is all about getting. it. done.

She may not be the first person that comes to your mind when you think “productivity”, but she darn well should be! When my girl Leslie takes on a task, she gives it everything she has. She values the people around her. She’s passionate about what she does and isn’t afraid to show it.

SO - I’ve put together some of my VERY favorite ‘Knope Quotes’ and added a couple of my thoughts, just for funsies!

1. “Hobbies? Organizing my agenda. Wait. That doesn’t sound fun. Jammin’ on my planner!”

Staying organized is such a huge part of being productive. How can you be efficient when you can’t find your to-do list? Whatever your jam is (task app, spiral bound planner, Post It notes, reminders in your phone, etc.), have FUN with your to do list and make it fun to look at and fun to add things to!

2. “If I seem too passionate, it’s because I care. If I come on strong, it’s because I feel strongly. And if I push too hard, it’s because things aren’t moving fast enough.”

Don’t be afraid to do your best. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Why would I be afraid to do my best, Kate? That makes no sense.”

Hear me out.

Your best might not be just planning for one week or one day. If working ahead is productive for you and you don’t get overwhelmed, do it! If you are on a roll one day and feel like you can start tomorrow’s to-do list, do it! Sometimes we think that pushing ourselves is bad and honey that is just not the case. What we actually need to be careful of is burning out. You’re absolutely allowed to push yourself- as long as you don’t push yourself over a cliff.

3. “There’s nothing we can’t do if we work hard, never sleep, and shirk all other responsibilities in our lives!”

Ok, so this one is obviously more tongue-in-cheek than literal. Don’t forget to take care of yourself! You’re not going to be very useful if you can’t keep your eyes open long enough to read a message in your inbox. You will be infinitely more successful when you slow down and keep yourself as the first priority.

(Also, you know how I feel about REST, right? It’s totally a thing here… can’t be productive without both sleep AND rest.)

4. “I am big enough to admit I am often inspired by myself.”

**cue “Practically Perfect” here**

Don’t be ashamed to celebrate yourself! You’re putting in a lot of work and that deserves to be celebrated! Even if the best you can do is to answer a couple of emails and maybe write a blog post, CELEBRATE IT! It makes it way easier to get more done next time.

5. “One person’s annoying is another’s inspiring and heroic.”

One of my favorite parts of running my own business is doing the “menial” day to day tasks. I love it. Find the things that you love to do and make them a priority. Make sure that you’re making time for the stuff you love, otherwise you’ll lose track of what you love about your business.

6. “You know what I would do? Make a pros and cons list. That always works for me!”

What works for you might not work for everyone else. The important thing is to: “DO YOU BOO.” (That’s what kids are saying these days, right?) What works for everyone else may not work for you, and that’s ok! You’re successful in your own way.

7. “When you love something, you don’t threaten it. You don’t punish it. You take care of it. You put it first.”

Do you love what you do? I’m assuming that the answer is yes, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it. You’ve built this business, whatever it is, from the ground up. It’s your baby. Don’t you want to see it be successful? Nurture it. Give it the love and attention it deserves.

8. “It’s a lesson I have learned over and over again, but it bears repeating. No one achieves anything alone.”

Delegate. Once more for the people in the back: DELEGATE! If you have people working with or for you, use them! Chances are, if they signed on to work with you, they want to be use! Find their skill sets and delegate, delegate, delegate!

9. “So find your team. Get to work. Whatever that work is that you find worth doing. Do it, and find some people to love who’ll do it with you.”

This one goes hand in hand with number 9. When you “find your team”, make sure they also love what you do. Don’t take someone on who is going to have a negative attitude about your clientele or the actual work you do for them. It’s called a team for a reason. That whole “there’s no ‘I’ in team” thing is a cliche for a reason.

10. “We have to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, and work. Or waffles, friends, and work. But work has to come third.”

One thing that I tell everyone who hires me or who I hire is that they come first. Their needs as a human being come first, not their business. The same goes for you! Just because you’re the one in charge doesn’t mean that you have to constantly burn the candle at both ends. You’re not a robot.

Make time for waffles. Always make time for waffles.


OK - for those of you long-time Knope fans, whatcha got? What’s your favorite Leslie quote? Sound off in the comments or hit me up on email.


Kate Rufener