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Author, ‘Mind Management, Not Time Management’ https://amzn.to/3p5xpcV Former design & productivity advisor to Timeful (Google acq’d).

What happens to your creative work when you redefine your relationship to the clock

Multicolored clocks falling against a yellow-green gradient.
Multicolored clocks falling against a yellow-green gradient.

Before moving to Colombia, I spent my first winter here. Once I arrived, I quickly found just how different the pace of life is compared to Chicago. People talk slower, walk slower. The U.S. custom of standing on the right side of the escalator so people can pass you on the left? Yeah, that’s not really a thing. People stand wherever they like. It’s rare to see someone in such a hurry that they’d want to climb an escalator that’s already moving, anyway.

In my first few weeks here, I chafed against the unfamiliar lack of urgency. But as I…


How the “week of want” brings you explosive ideas

Subject: “IMMEDIATE Action Reqeusted [sic]”

They misspelled “requested,” which had the unintended effect of highlighting that this email was urgent.

There were some documents attached to the email. They wanted me to review the documents and sign them. Then, I would get a wire of money to my bank account — from Google, Inc.

I had no idea this email was coming. It was a nice surprise, since it was my birthday. It was all thanks to a decision I made three years prior.

Three years prior, I cleared my schedule and declared what I call a “Week of Want.”…


How a tough choice in the face of sexism formed a legendary artist

In New York City, sometime around the beginning of the twentieth century, a young art student sat for a portrait.

The artist who painted this portrait won a prestigious award for that portrait. The young woman who sat for the portrait suddenly became a sought-after model. She could actually earn money sitting for portraits.

She needed that money. Her family was poor, and art school — especially art school in New York City — was expensive.

But she decided to never model again.

The tough decision that made a good artist a great artist

This young artist later recalled the moment she decided to stop sitting for portraits. …


Beware complexity creep

Here’s a brain teaser for you: Imagine we’ve got a room full of people. We’re trying to figure if any two people in the room have the same birthday.

For us to reach a fifty-percent probability that there are two people in the room with the exact same birthday, how many people need to be in the room?

I told you this was a brain teaser, so suffice to say that the answer — to how many people need to be in a room for there to be a fifty-percent probability that two people have the exact same birthday —…


It’s hard to predict the future, but you can be better at predicting the future. All you need is a few delicious avocados.

Even the “experts” are bad at predicting the future

Wharton professor Phillip Tetlock wanted to make the future easier to predict. So he held “forecasting tournaments,” in which experts from a variety of fields made millions of predictions about global events.

Tetlock found that experts are no better at predicting the future than dart-throwing chimps. In fact, the more high-profile experts — the ones who get invited onto news shows — were the worst at making predictions.

But, Tetlock found that some people are really great…


Prompted by a tweet storm by investor/entrepreneur/philosopher Naval Ravikant, I recently meditated 60 hours in 60 days.

It changed the way I think about getting things done.

Here are three things I learned:

1. We do things that don’t need to be done

While meditating an hour a day, I had time to think about the things I needed to get done.

Since I was “giving up” an hour a day, I had less time to do those things. I also had a lot of time to think about the things I would do once I was done meditating.

I found many of the things I had thought needed to…


How to be productive when creativity matters

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.

1. Time management is squeezing blood from a stone

“There’s only 24 hours in a day,” people say. …


Why is time our “God value?”

When I was working with Timeful — the productivity app co-founded by behavioral scientist Dan Ariely — we had a great feature. You could put todo items on your calendar.

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. …


Why clean teeth and toilets with the same brush?

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…


How to sell your own ‘preview edition’

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.”

The “preview edition” gave me the space to finish my book

I’ll show you how to launch your preview edition

I earned this advance by releasing a “preview edition” of my new book, Mind Management, Not Time Management. …

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