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

Another cheap Amazon kindle purchase

Some key takeaways:

  • The right approach is personal – everybody different. The approach of this book is to provide a playbook of best practices for producing great work
  • The problem is usually not external – it is internal e.g. your own routine
  • So much of ‘work’ now is just reactionary. Time to take control and go proactive


  • Create a framework for productivity through routines
  • Don’t wait for the right moment.
  • Switch to creative work first, reactive work second (daily schedule, weekly schedule)
  • It’s OK to dissapoint people a little along the way if it’s for your greater good
  • Limit daily to-do list to 3 things, and make sure I do them
  • Establish hard edges in my day – start/finish times, goals to achieve
  • Small daily labours trumps sporadic bursts. What I do every day matters more than what I do once in a while
  • Follow my body’s rhythms. Be aware of the need for renewal – daily! Disengage from the stream and enjoy downtime moments

Finding focus

  • Information consumes our attention.  A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention
  • In a world filled with distraction, attention is our competitive advantage
  • Lack of clear work metrics means that difficult to know what to do, and assess what is valuable. Just because there is ‘some’ benefit, it does not necessarily outweigh the cost
  • Create large daily focus blocks of scheduled time to do work. Ignore other things at this time
  • Effective multitasking is a myth. Cycling between tasks not only ineffective in the tasks themselves, eats into effectiveness of real work on either side of the ‘cycle’ (hangover effect)
  • Even resisting temptation to get distracted brings mental drain, need to remove temptations altogether
  • Don’t waste my most productive time in the morning by doing email
  • Doing email is not working. Email is random reinforcement
  • What are my progress markers? How do I know when I’ve made real progress?
  • Self control can be developed and improved with practice – so, practice!
  • Kill the background noise

Taming my tools

  • Easy to blame the tools, but the real problem is us
  • Have long term goals in view at my workstation
  • distracting goals have to die for your most important goals to live
  • Don’t let ‘mindlessness’ be my default state
  • Be mindful of my motivations e.g. why share this? record it, or live it, am I lonely, am I bored? am I looking for validation?
  • Don’t bring technology into the bedroom
  • Technology displays it’s benefits loudly and proudly, but hides it costs
  • Learn to filter
  • Working at a computer discourages deep regular diaphragmatic breathing
  • Self respect and etiquette nudged out in lieu of convenient connection
  • There are still parts of life that I do not need to ‘do better’ with technology

Sharpen the saw

  • Practice unnecessary creation i.e. this blog! use it to take risks, explore, fail
  • Cultivate disengagement through familiarization i.e. taking the same route every day at the same time lets your mind switch off (or wearing the same clothes every day)
  • Constraints are good for creativity. (Converse is also true). Love your limitations
  • Work hard to stay a step away from complacency
  • Satisfaction from work when you only know about 50% what to do.
  • Sometimes solutions are startlingly straightforward… once you clearly understand the problem

Call to action

  • Work solid for 1 hour, then repeat that. Next step, finishing what you start. Next step, repeat the whole process.
  • A professional shows up, works, no matter what. The work gets simpler and less self orientated as you go.

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