Author, ‘Mind Management, Not Time Management’ 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…

Image for post
Image for post

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

Image for post
Image for post

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?”

Image for post
Image for post

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?

Image for post
Image for post

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’

Image for post

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. …

Then I tried to write a book

Image for post
Image for post

I used to be a time management enthusiast. I say “used to be,” because time management eventually stopped working for me.

How I became an accidental author

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…

Don’t be other people

Image for post
Image for post

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…

Image for post
Image for post

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…

It’s the End of Time Management

Image for post
Image for post

Listen to an audio version of this article, read by the author »

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…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store