Ten years ago, I got my first book deal—with almost no writing experience. I quickly realized nothing I had learned about productivity had prepared me to write a book.
Since then, I’ve dug into the neuroscience and psychology behind creativity, I’ve redesigned my life around creative work, and I’ve even worked on a productivity app that sold to Google.
More than anything, I’ve learned that—when creativity matters—productivity is about mind management, not time management. Here’s why.
“There’s only 24 hours in a day,” people say. …
You could estimate how long a todo item was going to take, and then you could drag that todo item onto your calendar. It would be right there on the timeline, along with any other events you had planned for the day.
This todo-items-on-calendar thing was a handy feature. It makes sense, really. Too many of us have a todo list a mile long. …
Before I moved to Colombia, I lived several “mini lives” in Medellín. I came and lived here for a few months. I escaped the very worst portion of the Chicago winters.
There was a phenomenon I experienced every time I came here, which taught me a lot about how I think about time. It always happened right around the three week mark.
The pace of life in Medellín is different from the pace of life in Chicago. It’s slower. People talk slower, people walk slower. That thing where you stand on the right side of the escalator so people can pass on the left — yeah, people don’t really do that here. They stand wherever they like. It’s usually not a problem. …
When it came time for me to choose a college, I had no idea what I was doing. For reasons I still can’t explain, I chose to go to The University of Nebraska at Kearney. At least until I recognized my mistake.
Kearney is a town in the middle of Nebraska. I grew up in Omaha, a city on the east edge of Nebraska. You may laugh, thinking, What’s the difference? It’s a flyover state. But to most of my classmates, I was a “city slicker.”
So, I regularly made the drive. Two and a half hours down I-80. Two and a half hours at eighty-miles-an-hour, with a steady stream of semi trucks passing by. …
When I wrote my first self-published book, it was hard to find the energy for writing. After all, I didn’t get an advance like I did with my first book, which was traditionally published.
Now I’m debuting my second major self-published book, and it has been much easier to find the space for writing. That’s because my readers gave me a $4,000 “advance.”
I earned this advance by releasing a “preview edition” of my new book, Mind Management, Not Time Management. …
I used to be a time management enthusiast. I say “used to be,” because time management eventually stopped working for me.
It all started with an email. It was the kind of email that would trip up most spam filters. I wasn’t being offered millions of dollars from an offshore bank account, true love, nor improved performance in bed. I was being offered a book deal.
I had never thought of myself as a writer. In fact, I downright hated writing as a kid. I remember reading about how Stephen King said that when he was a kid, he was “on fire” to write. I remember saying to myself, That makes no sense! …
Maya Angelou was right, “People will forget what you said…but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Because I don’t remember what this woman said to me, but I do remember how I felt: Attacked.
My heart was racing. I had two options: Lash out and defend my position, or excuse myself from the conversation.
My brain hastily searched for the best way out: Slip into the kitchen to get another drink? Go to the bathroom? Awkwardly appeal to my need to mingle?
But then I realized something: I felt attacked, but she wasn’t attacking me. She wasn’t even disagreeing with me. …
After many years of work, I finally got my first copies of Mind Management, Not Time Management! The Kindle edition is now available for pre-order.
You’ve done everything you can to save time. Every productivity tip, every “life hack,” every time management technique.
But the more time you save, the less time you have. The more overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted you feel.
“Time management” is squeezing blood from a stone.
Instead of struggling to get more out of your time, Mind Management, Not Time Management will arm you with the tools to start effortlessly getting more out of your mind—especially when creativity matters. …
As the nineteenth century was turning to the twentieth century, Frederick Taylor grabbed a stopwatch. He stood next to a worker, and instructed that worker on exactly how to pick up a chunk of iron.
Over and over, Taylor tweaked the prescribed movements. Grip the chunk of iron in this way, turn in this way, bend in this way.
Once Taylor found the optimal combination of movements, he taught the process to other workers. Their productivity skyrocketed.
“Taylorism,” as it came to be called, brought us leaps and bounds forward in productivity. Today, the remnants of Taylorism are ruining productivity. …
In the 1600s, Penelope Kent boarded a ship from Holland to the New World with her new husband. Their ship wrecked off the coast, but still, Penelope and her husband made it to shore.
There, they were attacked and tortured by the natives who lived on the land. By the time the natives were done with them, Penelope’s husband was dead. Penelope was still alive, but partially scalped, with her stomach sliced open. She took shelter in a hollowed out tree.
Days later, some other natives found Penelope. These natives were fortunately friendly, or at least enterprising. …