Manage Your Day-to-Day - Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind

How much do I want to read more? 8/10

Love it. Stop and think about what you do, how you do it. Then go on with a better purpose and process. The time you invest into it will be rewarded 1000 times.
This is the kind of "intelligent" productivity book I like.
The best part is it combines many different creative and effective people sharing their tips, so you can grab and perfect your own.


Seth Godin, Stefan Sagmeister, Tony Schwartz, Gretchen Rubin, Dan Ariely, Linda Stone, Steven Pressfield, and others—to share their expertise. Our goal was to come at the problems and struggles of this new world of work from as many angles as possible.
Because we each have a unique set of strengths, weaknesses, and sensitivities, it is impossible to prescribe a single approach that will work for everyone. The right solution for you will always be personal—an idiosyncratic combination of strategies based on your own work demands, habits, and preferences.
So rather than lay out a one-size-fits-all productivity system, we provide a playbook of best practices for producing great work.


These new perspectives caught me off-guard—I realized that much of my most valuable energy had been unknowingly consumed by bad habits.


My mantra has always been, “It’s not about ideas, it’s about making ideas happen.”
“Do you have ideas?” The answer is almost always “Yes, but…” followed by a series of obstacles.
It’s time to stop blaming our surroundings and start taking responsibility.
Specifically, it’s our routine (or lack thereof), our capacity to work proactively rather than reactively, and our ability to systematically optimize our work habits over time that determine our ability to make ideas happen.


I’ve never seen a team sport without a huddle, yet we’ll continue working for months—if not years—with clients and colleagues without ever taking a step back, taking stock, and making improvements to our systems.
The biggest problem with any routine is that you do it without realizing it.
Bad habits creep in. we end up working at the mercy of our surroundings.


The biggest problem we face today is “reactionary workflow.” e-mails, text messages, tweets, and so on.
rather than being proactive about what matters most to us.
Being informed and connected becomes a disadvantage when the deluge supplants your space to think and act.


Paradoxically, you hold both the problem and the solution to your day-to-day challenges.
your mind and energy are yours and yours alone. You can surrender to the burdens that surround you. Or, you can audit the way you work and own the responsibility of fixing it.

I urge you to build a better routine by stepping outside of it, find 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.

Chapter 1 - Building a rock-solid routine - How to give structure, rhythm, and purpose to your daily work

Woody Allen once said that 80 percent of success is showing up.
How, when, and where you show up is the single most important factor in executing on your ideas.

That’s why so many creative visionaries stick to a daily routine. Choreographer Twyla Tharp gets up at the crack of dawn every day and hails a cab to go to the gym—a ritual she calls her “trigger moment.” Painter Ross Bleckner reads the paper, meditates, and then gets to the studio by 8 a.m. so that he can work in the calm quiet of the early morning. Writer Ernest Hemingway wrote five hundred words a day, come hell or high water.

building a routine is all about persistence and consistency. Don’t wait for inspiration; create a framework for it.


If you want to create something worthwhile with your life, you need to draw a line between the world’s demands and your own ambitions.
If you’re not careful, life get fill up with e-mail, meetings, and the requests of others.
A great novel, a stunning design, a game-changing piece of software, a revolutionary company—achievements like these take time, thought, craft, and persistence. And on any given day, this effort will never appear as urgent as those four e-mails.

The trouble with this approach is it means spending the best part of the day on other people’s priorities. By the time you settle down to your own work, it could be mid-afternoon, when your energy dips and your brain slows.
If you carry on like this, you will spend most of your time on reactive work, responding to incoming demands and answering questions framed by other people.
And you will never create anything truly worthwhile.


The single most important change you can make in your working habits is to switch to creative work first, reactive work second.
I used to be a frustrated writer. Making this switch turned me into a productive writer. Now, I start the working day with several hours of writing.
whatever else happens, I always get my most important work done—and looking back, all of my biggest successes have been the result of making this simple change.

It takes willpower to switch off the world, even for an hour. It feels uncomfortable, and sometimes people get upset. But it’s better to disappoint a few people over small things, than to surrender your dreams for an empty inbox. Otherwise you’re sacrificing your potential for the illusion of professionalism.


Notice when you seem to have the most energy during the day, and dedicate those valuable periods to your most important creative work.
Stick to the same tools, the same surroundings, even the same background music, so that they become associative triggers for you to enter your creative zone

Stephen King:
There are certain things I do if I sit down to write. I have a glass of water or a cup of tea. There’s a certain time I sit down, from 8:00 to 8:30, somewhere within that half hour every morning. I have my vitamin pill and my music, sit in the same seat, and the papers are all arranged in the same places. The cumulative purpose of doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon.

I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.

-- Pearl S. Buck