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99u #1

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind

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Bạn có từng bị phân tâm, quá tải hay choáng ngợp trước khối lượng công việc? Bạn từng hùng hục làm việc nhưng tới cuối ngày khi chuẩn bị rời khỏi văn phòng, bạn chợt nhận ra phần quan trọng nhất trong danh sách việc cần làm vẫn chưa hoàn thành.
Thế giới đã thay đổi. Cách chúng ta làm việc cũng phải thay đổi. Với sự khôn ngoan có được từ 20 bộ óc sáng tạo hàng đầu, từ Dan Ariely đến Seth Godin, từ Mark McGuinness đến Tiffany Shlain, Đừng Để Nước Đến Chân Mới Nhảy mang đến cho bạn những ý kiến sâu sắc và giá trị của việc tối ưu hóa nhịp điệu hàng ngày. Bạn sẽ thấy rằng thói quen làm việc của mình đã bị phó mặc thích nghi với môi trường xung quanh hơn là đáp ứng sở thích của chính bạn. Hãy sử dụng cuốn sách kỹ năng thú vị này như một cơ hội để đánh giá mọi thứ. Hãy dừng lại giữa dòng công việc không ngừng nghỉ để đánh giá cách bạn thực hiện nó. Chỉ bằng cách có trách nhiệm về thói quen hằng ngày của mình bạn mới có thể thực sự tác động tới những gì quan trọng nhất đối với mình.
Đừng Để Nước Đến Chân Mới Nhảy chỉ ra bốn kỹ năng cốt lõi để tiến đến thành công:
Xây dựng thói quen hàng ngày vững chắc
Thuần hóa các công cụ
Tìm kiếm sự tập trung trong thế giới nhiều phân tán
Mài sắc tư duy sáng tạo.

253 pages, Paperback

First published May 1, 2013

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About the author

Jocelyn K. Glei

7 books226 followers
Jocelyn K. Glei is a writer who's obsessed with how we can find more creativity and meaning in our daily work. Her latest book, Unsubscribe, is a modern guide to killing email anxiety, avoiding distraction, and getting real work done. Her previous works include Manage Your Day-to-Day, Maximize Your Potential, and Make Your Mark, which offer pragmatic, actionable advice for creatives on managing their time, their careers, and their businesses. She was formerly the founding director of the 99U Conference and editor of 99u.com, which earned two Webby Awards for Best Cultural Blog and a rabid fan base of productivity nerds. She lives in Los Angeles and online at jkglei.com.

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5 stars
8,650 (36%)
4 stars
7,304 (30%)
3 stars
5,469 (23%)
2 stars
1,575 (6%)
1 star
657 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,230 reviews
Profile Image for Ryan.
14 reviews9 followers
September 15, 2013
I waffled on the 4* or 3* rating. As with all the 99u material there is always a hint of Anthony Robbins or cult of design. Promoting pseudo science (i.e Buteyko breathing) & the over simplification of meditation really undermine some good points. But its biggest sin? It reads at times like a collection of ads for the professional consulting services of each 'author'.

Flaws aside it did provide me with a good kick in the arse for planning, and staying on top of my creative career. It's nice to hear that this path is the hard one, even for the pros, and that it's not a lifestyle it's a profession. It should be respected/treated as such.
I personally liked how one talk in particular reframed work space as 'choice architecture' -- fancy words for a place to work/relax I know -- but it helped me reinforce something I already knew, and then helped with a framework to make it happen (or at least plan to..)

Is it a Pulitzer winner? No. Is it a good quick motivator full of bite sized actionable life hacks you can apply today? Absolutely. 4* for that.

Profile Image for Besha.
177 reviews14 followers
August 23, 2014
"You are a beautiful and unique snowflake and you should stop checking your email so goddamn much." Also: twenty pages of overdesigned inspirational quotes.
Profile Image for Carrie Lahain.
Author 11 books42 followers
December 9, 2013
If "procrastinator" isn't my middle name, it's only because my parents didn't want to embarrass me. I am a strange hybrid--a creative person who is also a type A++ personality. I do not perform at my best without some sort of structure. When I left graduate school for the life of a freelance writer, I found myself drowning in "free" time with little sense of how to reach my ever-growing (because I never actually reached one and got to cross it off!) list of goals. It took me years to develop the discipline and solid work habits that came to me so naturally as a student.

MANAGE YOUR DAY-TO-DAY isn't a long or exhaustive exploration of time management and life balance. It's a tiny, targeted little primer full of good advice on building a solid work routine, focusing creative energy, surviving constant connectivity, and generating new ideas. Each section includes short articles by working artists and contemporary thought leaders that get straight to the meat of the given topic such as Harnessing the Power of Frequency, Making Room for Solitude, Learning to Create Amid Chaos, and Using Social Media Mindfully. At the end of each section is are specific "Key Takeaways"--action steps the reader can take NOW to improve his or her day-to-day.

What's great about such a little dynamo of a book is that I can revisit it whenever I feel my old habits (or lack thereof) sneaking up on me. The result is immediate and relatively painless course correction. The way I see it, the only people who won't profit from this book are the producers and stars of reality television. I know my viewing hours of popcorn television have gone down...and my writing output has gone way up!
Profile Image for Chung Chin.
107 reviews6 followers
July 27, 2013
The book is divided into four main chapters, each dealing with a specific topic:
1. Building a Solid Rock Routine
2. Finding Focus in a Distracted World
3. Taming Your Tools
4. Sharpening Your Creative Mind

For each topic, guest writers are invited to share with readers their thoughts on the specific topic. So, the style of writing can be different from article to article. However, each article is nicely written in my opinion and everything is tied together nicely.

My two-star review is more for the content of the book. Overall, the whole book feels shallow as each author gives an introduction to the specific topic, based on their thoughts. Although in the preface, the editor did mention that Manage Your Day-To-Day aims to "provide a playbook of best practices for producing great work" rather than lay out a one-size-fits-all productivity system, I think that as a reader, I am not fully engaged with the book due to its lack of depth for each topic.

I would recommend this book only if you're out looking for ideas. However, you shouldn't target to find something really meaningful and to understand certain ideas in depth in this book. For that, you'll probably need to dig for the contributing author's works and read those.
Profile Image for C.
1,101 reviews1,047 followers
September 10, 2021
This book tells creatives (designers, writers, artists, etc.) how to better manage their time to give priority to creativity. It's current and practical while still presenting timeless principles. It covers several topics, but my favorite tips dealt with time management. My wife read this book and then recommended it to me, knowing that I spend much of my day as juggling creative work and communication.

Each chapter is quite short (3-10 pages) and is written by a different authors. I found some of the sections repetitive. The chapters are separated by motivational quotes.

Before reading this book, my workdays started with checking email and social media. I'd then close them and focus on project work for most of the day, checking email and social media two or more times before the end of the day. Inevitably, I'd end up spending a lot of time on unimportant tasks. Immediately after finishing this book, I started doing important creative work for the first few hours of each day, ignoring email and social media. So far this has made me much more productive, so I'll continue to tweak my schedule to give more priority to focused creative time.


• Do creative work first and reactive work (such as dealing with messages) second. Block off a large part of each day for creative work on your priorities, ignoring outside communication.
• Limit your daily to-do list (suggestion: Post-it note size) and don't keep adding to it during the day. Put new tasks on future lists.
• Our bodies follow ultradian rhythms: 90-minute periods at the end of which we reach the limits of our capacity to work at the highest level.
• "If you can, it's best to find a good stopping point on a project - one that frees your mind from nagging questions - before moving on to another task." This provides mental closure so you can focus on the next task. Exceptions: problem-solving and brainstorming, which can benefit from switching focus.
• Create windows of non-stimulation in your day. Think, digest, and plan.
• "The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say 'no' to almost everything." -Warren Buffett
• If a message presents an idea or opportunity that won't help you achieve your large goals, decline and move on.
Profile Image for Sumeet Mahendra.
Author 1 book45 followers
July 12, 2017
This is what I consider as a good book. Though it's sort of must read for any creative professional but still there's lot more to understand and learn by a layman.

Like some insight of self-control and de addiction of social media. Really that's quite useful.

Every professional shared some of his/her core values for improvement, learned in many years and practiced for many years.

You can't believe it but I've purchased it at ⅓ of it's original price, yeah less than a US $1. So I'm providing you the link to add it to your kart at discounted price - http://amzn.to/2lHu6f6

Profile Image for Ali Arabzadeh.
165 reviews53 followers
July 22, 2015
هيچ‌وقت فكر نميكردم از كتاب‌هاي اينطوري خوشم بيايد يا برايم مفيد باشند. البته اين را اصلا به معناي فوق العاده بودن اين كتاب نگذاريد. نه. كتاب خيلي معموليست. ولي به هيچ وجه چرند و پرت و پلا و شارلاتان بازي نيست. شبيه بيشتر اين كتاب هاي موفقيت و مديريت يك دقيقه اي و بك شبه پولدار شويد و چه و چه.
كتاب مجموعه اي از مقاله هاي آدم هاي حرفه اي دنياي مديريت ايده و خلاقيت يا آدم هاي خلاقي مثل نويسنده هاست كه طي چند صفحه توصيه هاي خوب و به اندازه اي را به شما براي مديريت بهتر زمان و پروژه و ايده تان پيش‌نهاد مي‌كنند يا به مشكلات و موانع و بحران هاي مهم و شايع مسير تحقق ايده هايتان اشاره و راه حل هايي را جلوي پايتان ميگذارند.
بيشتر از همه دو مقاله‌اش برايم جالب بود كه كمي هم به مسائل نظري مي پردازد و دومي به يكي از مهم ترين مشكلات من در انجام كارهايم:
1. Reclaiming our self-respect
2. Letting go off perfectionism
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,377 reviews1,435 followers
August 22, 2015
A helpful collection of short articles by different business experts on how to more effectively utilize your day and strengthen your creative muscles. The different chapters were a little too short as they didn't go into the topics with the depth that I wanted. Not a lot of groundbreaking ideas here, but a good starting place for folks who are looking for a general overview on shaping their routine or are looking for a bunch of experts who have written books on the subject that can be read for further information.
Profile Image for Dr. Tobias Christian Fischer.
648 reviews34 followers
July 28, 2020
“By paying attention to our natural rhythms, we can maximize our energy on our priorities and rest, exercise or do other hobbies when it’s in tune with our rhythm. Sometimes, despite what we feel like doing, we just need to focus to complete certain tasks we don’t feel like doing.” (Blinkist, 2020)
Profile Image for فادي.
521 reviews846 followers
January 27, 2019
مؤمن بأن القفزات العظيمة هي نتيجة خطوات صغيرة جدا لكنها مستمرة.
هذا الكتاب يؤكد لك هذه المقولة ويحرضك على تغير جدول يومك بما يجعل يومك أكثر فعالية.
من أجمل النصائح التي يوردها أنك أنت أهم شخص في حياتك وأن أولوياتك هي أجدر بالالتفات لها وأن كل الناس تطالبك لنفسها لكن الوقت محدود ولا إمكانية لتلبية رغبات الجميع معاً.
فيه بعض الآليات المفيدة جدا خصوصا بالتعامل مع التكنولوجيا
إضافة لأسماء الكتب والمواقع المفيدة في طياته.
Profile Image for David.
Author 1 book87 followers
July 5, 2013
I really enjoyed this quick little read. It was well organized into logical partitions, contained lots of whitespace so I felt like I was cruising right through it, and it had handy summaries of each section so you could pluck out the core suggestions from each chapter/article.

It's a multi-author work, so naturally some of it was 5-star material and some of it was 2-star material. Some of it was clearly written expressly for design professionals. But a surprisingly large percentage of it spoke directly to me and to my goals as a creative non-professional.

Whether you're getting paid to create art or fiction or you're doing it for fun, the challenge remains the same. And I guess it can be comforting to those of us who aren't depending on our art for a paycheck to discover that professionals struggle with the same work/life balance we do. They deal with meetings and the destructive siren call of answering email and social media the same way the rest of us do. The successful ones are those who keep momentum going on the big projects and let everything else sort itself out.

Tags: the evils of email, distractions, building good routines, getting things done, not waiting for inspiration to strike
Profile Image for Mustafa Nuwaidri.
378 reviews143 followers
April 28, 2018
كتاب جميل جدا يحوي مقالات صغيرة متنوعة في مجال العمل .. والعمل الابداعي بشكل خاص
الجميل أن كتاب المقالات متعددين وهم اناس ناجحون حققوا انجازات ويتحدثون بايجاز عن خلاصة خبرتهم
فيبدو الكتاب لا يحتوي على تطويلات مملة واغلب مقالاته مفيدة ،
ترتب الكتاب تحت فصول اربعة تحوي العناوين التالية
1- بناء روتين راسخ
2- العثور على التركيز في عالم مليء بالمشتتات
3- ترويض ادواتك
4-شحذ تفكيرك الابداعي

من اهم النقاط التي عالجتها المقالات
-اعمل عملك الابداعي والمهم قبل كل شيء وفي بداية اليوم
-ضع محفزات للابداع
-اعمل في روتين متكرر
-لاتنتظر حالة مزاجية مناسبة
-احذر من الهاتف والبريد الالكتروني وغيرها
-سجل انجازاتك
- لا تستخدم هاتفك في اوقات الانتظار ،
-أحبب قيودك ، انظر الى المعوقات كمنافع
-استرخي وستأتي الامور بالخير
-لا تبحث عن الكمال

أعجبني الكتاب لكن أعتقد أن الكتاب الثاني في السلسلة كان أكثر فائدة
Profile Image for Carlie K.
145 reviews82 followers
March 19, 2016
This review is originally posted on The Bookish Girl
Get this book on Book Depository
"You can do anything, but not everything." - David Allen

As a Bookstagrammer and blogger, creativity is often needed in my life. However, there are always times that creativity would not make its appearance. When encountering such dreadful situation, I do nothing but wait for creativity to come. Usually this passive move leads to procrastination, frustration and creativity desert.

So how can we change this?

In this book, 20 creativity minds, who also face the aforementioned problem like you and I, tell us that we can actually beat this by creating the "right" routine for your brain.

Divided into four main chapters, each section focuses on the following topics respectively: Building a rock-solid routine, Finding focus in a distracted world, Taming your tools and Sharpening your creative mind. Every chapter is easy to read and addresses the bad habits we have to the point. This book is like a wake-up call to me, it helps me identify and face my bad habits.

I also love how they put a little summary at the end of every chapter to help us recap all the things we learn. Sometimes I like to put down the book for awhile and come back to it after a few days. I could possibly forget some of the stuff, so I really appreciate this. There are also some pages with amazing quotes from time to time, and I really feel motivated after reading those.

Are you facing some kind of creativity block? Are you procrastinating instead of doing what's truly important? Do you wish to have a change?

If your answers to the above questions are yes, then maybe you should pick up this book.
Profile Image for Vladimir.
28 reviews1 follower
December 31, 2013
Very, very good compilation,mashup of activities/events/distractors/ideas from your daily routine with an evidences from researches. It is worh reading when you feel that your days are just worthless and you think of them just as time spent in communication without finishing your primary goal of the day...

Your day is full of separated blocks.
Task switching is a killer - it is possible, but lot of time and energy wasted just on switching.
Doing 2 things in parallel is not possible, only very automated tasks (like walking).
Not to allow task switching is a killer, due to the hangover effect of your brain. Allow yourself to finish your primary task or a part of it and then switch to other task, you will achieve more.
Successful people are focusing on the the quality of their people connection rather than quantity (developing them online and offline as well on personal and professional level).
Going offline - weekly - Shabbat - nice idea about giving brain time to rest by switching off all the screens - 24 hours.
Nice story about timeplanning and working on your calendar - showcase in 2 minutes - jar - first big stones, then smaller stones and water as last - so if you want to plan for big projects - schedule them first.

Key takeaways
- Get lonely
Make a point of spending some time alone each day. It's a way to observer unproductive habits and thought processes, and to calm your mind.
- Pulse and pause
Make your working and relaxing time rhytmical between spending and renewing your energy by working in ninety-minute bursts and then take a break.
Define your own area of work (same room, order of things, listing to the "work" music)
- Defend your creative time
Book time on your calendar for uninterrupted, focused work-and respect those blocks of time as you would any client meeting
- Focus when you are fresh
Tackle the projects that involves "hard focus" early in the day. Self-control-and our ability to resist distractions- declines as the day goes on.
- Kill the background noise
Turn off your phone, e-mail, and any apps unrelated to your task. Event the presence of background activity (and templatetion) can drain your focus.
- Make progress visible
Marking progress is a huge motivator for long-term projects. Make your daily achievements visible by saving iterations, posting milestones, or keeping a daily journal.
- Give your brain a break
Alternate challenging creative work with more "mindless" tasks to give the braing time to rest and refuel.
- Tap into transitional moments
Take a break from checking your smartphone during transitional moments, and open yourself up to opportunity and serendipity.
4 reviews
November 18, 2013
This was a wonderful read. I will caveat that there may be some points that will be offensive to some readers- they were to me. This might be expected given the range of writers involved in the creation of the book. I still think overall that Behance/99u put together a great book of tips and tricks for not just creative folks but for just about anyone who has to live, work, and play. The tips do range from simple to somewhat esoteric and as much profound advice is, sometimes obvious- at least after you read it. You will find yourself noticing the fallbacks that the authors mention and will likely agree with most of their recommendations. You will undoubtedly disagree with some of the recommendations maybe even the metaphors used to make the points, but please don't throw out the baby with the bath water, this really is a very helpful book and in a great piece by piece format to allow you to read at once or even go through an article at a time and try to implement some changes to your work and life habits.
Profile Image for Benjamin Wallace.
Author 64 books306 followers
July 6, 2013
Interviews with creative type folks share how they manage to do amazing things without getting sucked into the business of day-to-day stuff. I think I learned some things. I'm going to try applying a few of the tips.
Profile Image for Lena.
286 reviews22 followers
December 25, 2018
Kind of hokey and not suuuuper substantial.

Nevertheless there are some great pieces of advice in here that I needed to read and am attempting to incorporate into my life. I think I lacked solid strategic thinking around the How of approaching my work and long-term creative goals and this book gave me some of that. So yeah...I’d say this was a worthwhile read (and quick to boot).
Profile Image for Jo Murphy.
Author 1 book1 follower
June 16, 2013
(Scott Belsky Founder of Beehance 2013)
This is the next volume in the 99U quest to supply the missing curriculum. This elusive curriculum is the one they did not teach you at school.
99U is part of the Beehance network, a place where artists showcase their creative portfolios. The last book was a forerunner to a series of books designed to stimulate and facilitate creativity. It was called Making Ideas Happen. You can find related articles at 99u.com
Manage Your Day - To -Day is a Five Chapter set of interviews with successful people who have valuable things to say about topics such as building a routine to nourish creative production while finding focus amid distraction. Artists are encouraged to think about the legacy handed down by Marshal McLuhan (2005) Understanding Media by developing an understanding that the tools we use end up altering the way we work and think. Tools such as email need to be tamed so that we use them to design our workflow. We are cautioned not to allow the presence of these tools to end up designing our arts based practice.
Metaphor of the Tool Designing the Artist
Not surprisingly, the metaphor of the tool designing the artist has been carried one step further. An artist's most precious and basic tool, the human mind, is the next to come under fire. Training our own capacity to be more creative is the subject of chapter four - Sharpening Your Creative Mind. Artists are encouraged to create for their own satisfaction while always being ready for insight to emerge.
The suggestions go so far as to suggest artists even attempt to trick their brain into being receptive and productive. Perfectionism (as always) is cast as a formidable but malleable enemy that can if treated with sufficient attention and mindful respect can be coaxed to come "unstuck".
The line up of interviewees is impressive. Mark McGuinness (Lateral Action. Resilience.) Gretchin Rubin(The Happiness Project) , Seth Godin (Go Make Something Happen. The Icarus Deception), Tony Schwartz (The Power of Full Engagement. The Energy Project), Leo Babauta (The Power of Less. Zen Habits.),Cal Newport (So Good They Can't Ignore You. Study Hacks), Christian Jarrett (The Rough Guide to Psychology. Blog),Dan Ariely (A Taste of Irrationality. Blog), Erin Rooney Doland (Unclutter Your Life in One Week. Blog), Scott Belsky (Making Ideas Happen. 99U), Aaron Dignan (Game Frame. Blog), Lori Deschene (Tiny Buddha, Simple Wisdom for Life'. Blog),

Tiffany Shlain (Brain Power. Blog) Linda Stone, James Victore (Victore or, Who Died and Made You Boss? Blog Post), Todd Henry (The Accidental Creative. Blog), Scott McDowell (CHM Partners) , Stefan Sagmeister (Stefan Sagmeister.Ted Talk), Elizabeth Grace Saunders (The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment. Blog)and finally Steven Pressfield whom we all know from Do the Work!

I recommend this book for anyone who writes or works creatively. That description is painted with a very broad brush, for who is not distracted from their core task by email these days? Who among us would not be more creative if we had more quality downtime and engaged in a little meditation?
We are living in an information age and the challenges of this way of living are great. This compilation of wisdom based on experience walks the reader through ways to control the clutter of our communicative lives and through a process of managing, acknowledging and letting go, harness the power of mediums of expression. Readers are left with the useful idea that these mediums will either shape or be shaped by us as consumers.

More Than Just a Self Help Book!

The beauty of the book is that it is synched into a network of great thinkers. Beehance is a creativity network and 99u has the power of being switched into this resource. At the end of each segment the reader can click through to the website to further engage with the ideas of each contributor. Although already warned of the capacity of the Internet to grab at an artists most finite resource - his or her attention, it is also the reason why Kindle books are the perfect medium for creatives. Those who would seek knowledge about, and the benefits of experience, wisdom and know-how.
Apply these ideas not only to your creative world but also to your workaday life and to personal communication. If you are an artist be sure to take the time to check out Beehance and 99U. Scott Belsky
Profile Image for Taryn.
325 reviews299 followers
April 19, 2015
It’s not about ideas, it’s about making ideas happen.

Manage Your Day-to-Day is composed of 20+ short essays divided between four topics: Building a Rock-Solid Routine, Finding Focus in a Distracted World, Taming Your Tools, and Sharpening Your Creative Mind. Each section is concluded with a helpful list of the key actionable items. The essays are brief and many of the pages are just enlarged quotes or section dividers, so it was a really quick afternoon read.

“Don’t wait for inspiration; create a framework for it.”

I read this book because I have been really struggling with routine, gaining momentum and the creative process. I knew many of the tips mentioned in this book beforehand, but it is nice to have a concise manual to refer back to when I am stuck in a rut. It was helpful to read the psychology behind why the methods work, so I can be more consistent in my application of those methods.

The main message of this book is to regularly schedule a few hours each day for your creative work and stop wasting so much time on the internet. That message shows up in most of the essays, so it does get a little repetitive. However, I did find at least one great tip in most of the essays. I really liked the parts that discussed how artists and writers like Ray Bradbury and Haruki Murakami schedule their time and escape creative block.

With one eye on our gadgets, we’re unable to give our full attention to who and what is in front of us-- meaning that we miss out on the details of our lives, ironically, while responding to our fear of missing out. - Lori Deschene

The essays that were most useful to me: Laying the Groundwork for an Effective Routine by Mark McGuinness, Harnessing the Power of Frequency by Gretchen Rubin, Learning to Create Amidst Chaos by Erin Rooney Doland, Q&A: Reconsidering Constant Connectivity with Tiffany Shlain, Creating for You, and You Alone by Todd Henry and Letting Go of Perfectionism by Elizabeth Grace Saunders. I thought Taming Your Tools was the weakest section, because it was repetitive and much of it was already addressed in the previous sections. The "screen apnea" chapter was a little weird.

“What I do every day matters more than what I do once in a while.”

I have already started implementing some of the tips in this book. My favorite tips so far are:
• Don't start the day off with a computer/smartphone
• Do creative/challenging work first
• Create a space specifically for creative work, away from technological distraction.
• Write down intrusive or anxious thoughts that occur during your creative time and schedule time to deal with them later.
There are many more tips, but I probably shouldn't write the whole book!

This book would be most useful for creatives who are struggling with their routine, perfectionism or creative block. It would probably not be as useful for a person who frequently reads the time management genre. Because of its concise nature and repetitiveness, I would recommend borrowing this through the Amazon Prime Lending Library or saving a few dollars by buying the ebook.

“There can be an intense egoism in following everybody else. People are in a hurry to magnify themselves by imitating what is popular — and too lazy to think of anything better. Hurry ruins saints as well as artists. They want quick success, and they are in such a haste to get it that they cannot take time to be true to themselves. And when the madness is upon them, they argue that their very haste is a species of integrity.” - Thomas Merton (1949)
Profile Image for Rob Robideau.
Author 8 books5 followers
June 2, 2013
Lot's of motivation, but not much new

I have to admit that I found this book more entertaining than enlightening. It was interesting to hear the perspectives of the different contributors on inspiration and work, but I can't say that there were any new gems that will change my life. Reinforcement of things already known? Yes. New explanations? Yes. Motivation? Yes.

There is definitely good information, but for me, having already read books written by a number of the contributors, there wasn't much new.

If you haven't already read books written by the contributors, you might have a completely different and mind-blowing experience. This could be considered a "cliff notes" or "best of" compilation from some very bright minds.

This book certainly contains a lot of good information, but because I'm a tad jaded, it was a "meh" experience.
Profile Image for chrysanthine.
165 reviews
November 27, 2019
Usually I’m not a big fan of ‘self help’ books, because let’s be honest, most are full of crap. And neither is my dad apparently because he got it, never read it and then gave it to me. Anyways, I already read it once while I was in university and I loved it. It definitely helps that it’s not just one person telling you to get your life together with some yoga and happy thoughts, it’s actual creative professionals with actual tips and strategies to manage your work life. Take it or leave it but there’s some solid advice in there, and it was good to read it again - and I will probably read it a third time at some point.
Profile Image for Brianna.
71 reviews49 followers
March 16, 2014
The main problem I had with this book is that it's hopelessly repetitive. The evils of email, of checking email, of starting your day with email, etc. were emphasized over and over again when I think that the point that they were trying to make (be proactive, not reactive) could have been stated in a couple sentences or less. I think this is a flaw inherent to the format, this kind of random scattering of articles and Q&A's from different sources. Obviously with that many sources, you're not going to be able to achieve any streamlined progression of ideas, but the repetitiveness of the book is really just unacceptable. Maybe some of the sections should have been cut from the book; but then again, most of them seemed to say the same thing, so then it'd be quite a short book.

For those reading this, the main ideas of the book were these:

• Be true to your own goals, particularly the long-term ones. This means being proactive, not reactive. Set your own goals and carry them out; don't fall into unproductive, complacent routines. This includes mindlessly checking Facebook, email, etc.
• Create a routine with ebb and flow, time for working and time for relaxing, that is in line with your personal energy level throughout the day and the limits of human attention span for one task.
• Carve out creative time in your schedule. This is solitary, unplugged and generally unstructured time.

But really they can all be summarized by this statement:

• Optimize your life, knowing what you do about your personal strengths and weaknesses and what is good and bad for you and what you want.

Because I think all of us know instinctively that Facebook is bad for us, that it accomplishes nothing and makes us feel like crap as a result of how unproductive we've been. Experts have been telling us that it makes us lonely and tired and unproductive for ages. We all know that we'll never accomplish long-term creative goals without carving out specific time for that work. We all recognize those specific times of day that we're especially productive.

The only problem is that we don't stop these behaviors that we already know are bad. If Manage Your Day-to-Day is the kick in the arse you need to get going, then good. I think it was that to some extent for me. But it was (mostly) all stuff I already knew.

There were a few interesting gems mixed in among the repetition. The idea of doing creative work first and other work second is intriguing and I definitely hope to give that a go; practicing guitar first and doing my calculus later, heyo! But other than that idea, there weren't really any insights that I'd never heard of before.

I'm also hesitant to accept the book's assumption that productivity = creativity. I live still in the dream world in which doing the unexpected, following a sudden whim and flying to Taiwan, taking an impromptu road trip with friends is the way to create art. And that's not to denigrate anyone who creates art by just buckling down and getting to work; that way is legitimate too. I'm just saying that breaking routine is as legitimate a way to be creative as is making a routine.

And perhaps that's because I'm young and idealistic and the word "routine," to be perfectly honest, repulses me. The idea of doing the same things at the same time for extended periods of time just kind of disgusts me. Play guitar at 4:00. Brainstorm ideas for novel every Friday morning. Just...ew. My life is already so structured (calculus from 12:34-2:10, Spanish from 2:10-3:00...). And I realize that at this point in my life I don't really have a choice in the fact that everything is so structured, and that if I want to make time for creativity I probably do have to block it out, but the idea is an old one that remains difficult to put into practice.

My 11th grade junior seminar teacher assigned this book to our class, and I have to say I'm not sure if it's age-appropriate. First of all, this book is very clearly targeted toward people who are already pretty responsible, the workaholic type who makes responding to emails and meeting deadlines a priority. That's me. But that's not most high school juniors. So I don't really think that a book trying to break out of the negative aspects of that kind of persona is really applicable to most people my age.

Another problem with pushing this book on high schoolers is that it pushes optimization so much and I'm not sure that's what we need. High schoolers need exploration, not optimization. We're still figuring out our dreams and long-term goals. Putting us on a fast-track to achieving one of our whims may be sending us at light-speed in the wrong direction; we can't optimize until we have the right starting point, and finding that, I think, requires almost an entirely different approach: one of free-flowing spontaneity and an allowance for a plethora of mistakes.

That said, I'm not certain if it's right for high schoolers or not because much of the ideology of this book has been mine all along. So we'll see if embracing optimization at such a young age turns out to be good for me or not.

So, my final recommendation...well, this is going to differ based on who you are.

If you're the responsible, typical workaholic professional who tends to fall into routines and not make progress toward long-term goals, this is the book for you. Even so, I'd probably recommend reading only one section of it to avoid the repetitive aspect. Pick the chapter (Routine, Focus, Tools, Creativity) that most appeals to you; the one that you believe represents your weakness. The basic concepts that I've enumerated above will be expressed with regard to that specific area.

If you're already familiar with the basic concepts of productivity, common tips for boosting creativity and monitoring technology use, this book probably isn't going to be anything ground-breaking for you. You're obviously looking to boost your productivity, so instead of rereading stuff you already know, take a step back and just look at your life. Make a list of all the productivity and creativity tips you've come across and if you're implementing them. And then do that shit, man.
Profile Image for Chelsea Moreen.
722 reviews16 followers
August 24, 2019
This short book definitely lost my interest quite a few times and isn’t that helpful overall for me as an Art student. However there are definitely a few points which really worked for me and that I’m going to try and bring into my own practice to improve overall. I would mostly recommend this for writers as that seems to be the market that this book is aimed for realistically, not creative people overall.
Profile Image for Athena.
308 reviews1 follower
May 19, 2023
Truly have no idea how this came on my radar, but as I've been feeling so disorganized and scattered, thought this would be a good read for now. Consumed as audiobook. 

I had expected a kind of thesis and data points to back-it-up, but this is actually a series of essays from various collaborators on their tips to maximize success/ optimize actual priorities. Was great for audio, as these were kind of bite-sized nuggets, and did serve to remind me of the importance of auditing the now essentially autopilot way I do many things. That said, even though much of this really can't apply to me (de-prioritizing replying to work messages, for example, is not appropriate in my work) the overall concepts were a good reminder to focus on what has import to me. 

Not sure how strongly I'd recommend, but was a concise little read to serve as a reminder to be present and thoughtful in the way I approach things. 
Profile Image for Santhosh Guru.
158 reviews43 followers
April 13, 2017
Gives a decent introduction on the why and what of the routines and rituals. It is a collection of essays from various authors, so it is not an authoritative guide or so, but a decent place to start. Maybe next stop for me will be Tools of Titans.
Profile Image for Frida.
714 reviews27 followers
December 28, 2018
Lots of short chapters, all by different authors, all doing some sort of creative work. I liked the setup - short and to the point. Nothing really new of course but then I read it because I need reminding.
October 20, 2020
Not the kind of thing I'd normally pick up for myself, but I gave it a go based on a recommendation. I was pleasantly surprised with some of the interesting new-to-me ideas presented and the way the "living a creative life" advice was less romanticised fluff and a bit more actionable. There's still a lot of romanticised fluff, but it was overall decent enough.
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