What I learned from Manage Your Day-to-Day, a book of wisdom compiled by the people at 99U with insights from creatives.
Chapter 1 Building a Rock-Solid Routine
Build routines because routines == consistent progress.
Start the day with your work, not with your emails. "creative work first, reactive work second" (p.26)
Keep a daily to-do list to stay on track.
A good routine should feel like a "creative ritual" (p.29)
Frequency is the key to efficient growth and high quality production.
Stop sacrificing sleep and exercise for short term productivity. Both sleep and exercise contribute to long term productivity.
Meditate daily to improve your focus.
Chapter 2 Finding Focus in a Distracted World
"Look at each day as a challenge — and an opportunity — to keep your eyes on the prize" (p.69)
"...we must strive to remove [distractions] entirely from our field of attention. Otherwise, we'll end up using half our mental energy just keeping ourselves from breaking our own rules" (p.83)
Unfinished tasks linger in the mind and, therefore, will reduce the focus on subsequent tasks.
"Waiting for inspiration to write is like standing at the airport waiting for a train" -Leigh Michaels (p.99)
"Creation is in part merely the business of forgoing the great and small distractions" - E.B. White (p.97)
Substitute bad distraction with better distractions
Consistency in activities improves self-control
Alternate between mindful and mindless activities to refuel
A chance encounter can bring about new opportunities or ideas. But we can miss our chances when we browse Reddit while standing in line.
Make progress visible. Keeps "the eyes on the prize".
Chapter 3 Taming Your Tools
Technology is not the problem. A lack of intent and purpose is the problem.
Sitting for long periods of time reduces one's life span. Exercise and yoga are necessities, not bonus activities.
"You have a choice in where to direct your attention. Choose wisely." (p.164)
"Doing busywork is easy; doing your best work is hard" (p.167)
Chapter 4 Sharpening Your Creative Mind
"...make time for play, relaxation, and exploration, the essential ingredients of the creative insights" (p.171)
Make routines because "it's impossible to solve every problem by sheer force of will" (p.171)
Set aside time each week to work on an idea.
Consistent sleep and exercise boosts creativity. Schedule in time for creativity.
It's better to have multiple less-than-perfect projects than to continue to endlessly reiterate on one less-than-perfect project. Settling for less-than-perfect == more time for more projects
Out of ideas? Tired? Take a break but come back afterwards.
A Call to Action
"A professional takes neither success nor failure personally"
"Is this a path you want to travel? Did someone say it was easy? Do you have a choice?"