Manage Your Day-to-Day: A book review by Bob Morris

Manage YourManage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind
Jocelyn Glei, Editor
Amazon Publishing (2013)

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” Stephen Covey

Jocelyn Glei edited this volume to which she and 20 others contributed their “insights on making things happen,” as did Scott Belsky, CEO of Behance, who also wrote the Foreword, “Retooling for a New Era of Work.” In fact, this is one of the first volumes in the 99U Box Series published by Amazon. Visit the 99U by Behance website and you will encounter this brief explanation: “For too long, the creative world has focused on idea generation at the expense of idea execution. As the legendary inventor Thomas Edison famously said, ‘Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration.’ To truly make great ideas a reality, we must act, experiment, fail, adapt, and learn on a daily basis. 99U is Behance’s effort to provide this “missing curriculum” for making ideas happen. Through our Webby Award-winning website, popular events, and bestselling books, we share pragmatic, action-oriented insights from leading researchers and visionary creatives. At 99U, we don’t want to give you more ideas–we want to empower you to make good on the ones you’ve got.”

The brief but insightful essays are divided within four sections: Building a Rock-Solid Routine, Finding [and Sustaining] Focus in a Distracted World, Taming Your Tools, and Sharpening Your Creative Mind, followed by a Coda in which Steven Pressfield responds to this question: “How Pro Can You Go?” Each of the four sections includes a Q&A:

o Seth Godin on Honing Your Creative Practice
o Dan Ariely on Understanding Our Compulsions
o Tiffany Shlain on Reconsidering Constant Connectivity
o Stefan Sagmeister on Tricking Your Brain into Creativity

These are among the dozens of explanations special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of the book’s coverage. The prefix for each is “How to…”

Lay the Groundwork for an Effective Routine, Mark McGuinness (25-29)
Make Room for Solitude, Leo Babauta (59-62)
Banish Multitasking from Our Repertoire, Christian Jarrett (81-85)
Learn to Create Amidst Chaos, Erin Rooney Doland (99-104)
Use Social Media Mindfully, Lori Deschene (133-138
Reclaim Our Self-Respect, James Victore (161-164)
Training Your Mind to Be Ready for Insight, Scott McDowell (183-189)
Let Go of Perfectionism, Elizabeth Grace Saunders (203-209)

With regard to the reference to “a new era of work,” Belsky explains: “The biggest problem we face today is ‘reactionary workflow.’ We have started to live a life pecking away at the many inboxes around us, trying to stay afloat by responding and reacting to the latest thing: e-mails, text messages, tweets, and so on…I urge you to build a better routine by stepping outside of it, find [or recover] your focus by rising above the constant cacophony, and sharpen your creative prowess by analyzing what really matters most when it comes to making your ideas happen.”

In other words, “a new era of work” is there for the taking but it will not be given. It must be seized.

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