In an attempt to be more regular with this blog, I’m going to start a weekly book club post. I’d love to hear any and all book recommendations, comments, etc.!
First up, we have The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice by Todd Henry. I stumbled across it while perusing the business section of a bookstore a few weeks ago, and it jumped out at me. I love a good motivational book, and I’m always looking for ways to supercharge my productivity, so this seemed like an awesome choice.
While some of the advice was fairly basic, a lot of it was quite helpful. Rather than bore you guys with my review of the book, I figure you’re more interested in what I got out of it.
Main takeaways included:
- Bunch projects together: i.e going through inbox all at once, two times a day; or working for a set chunk of time in the morning on just copy-editing projects, or just writing projects.
- Build buffers: some things—for me, that’s phone call meetings, no matter who they’re with—can be stressful, so setting aside a buffer of a few minutes before and after to just listen to music, surf the web, whatever, just relax, before moving on to the next thing.
- Make checkpoints: Henry suggests weekly, monthly and quarterly checklists to keep you on task. He also suggests keeping a constant list of the “Big 3,” the three main problems that you’re working on (can be part of a project or a whole project).
- Keep focus: choose chunks of time that you aren’t checking email, surfing the web, whatever. Just be focused on one thing at a time, because every time you bounce around, you end up wasting time getting back on task.
- Spend time focusing on passion projects and furthering your learning. Some of it can be based on learning for your job, but also take time to learn about what interests you outside of immediate job research. Also focus on classic learning! So, for me that breakdown is something to the effect of: skimming all the bike websites (US and Euro) to stay current with the cycling industry, working on learning French (also handy for cycling but not directly related) and reading Machiavelli’s The Prince.
If you’re in a creative career (or have a job that involves creative thinking at all!), you might want to check this book out. Barring that, at least check out Todd Henry’s website for some great articles and podcasts.