If you’re working in the freelance, small business or startup world it can sometimes be difficult to navigate your own path. Heck, life can be difficult regardless of your industry. But Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind, one of several in a book series from 99U (the minds behind Behance), provides productivity tips and guidance down an otherwise foggy path.
Why I love this book.
Manage Your Day-to-Day... features contributions from a dozen or so authors, each who have a different perspective on the concept of time management, building routines (both at home and in the workplace), organizing mental space and sticking to an agenda, all while remaining cool as a cucumber. It sounds idealistic, really, but the quick-witted and often practical explanations for why we do what we do, and how the results of those bad habits can be ruining our productivity, all come together in one cohesive package.
The book is broken down into topical sections, such as “Finding Your Focus,” “Topical Tools” and Building a Rock Solid Routine, each of which feature several insights from various authors (some even contradicting), but cohesively presented as a toolkit for building better daily habits.
Let’s break it down.
The self-proclaimed self-help guide includes a few gems like these:
“Waiting for inspiration to write is like standing in the airport waiting for a train.” - Leigh Michaels
“Focus on great work before everything else. Do your most meaningful creative work at the beginning.” - Mark McGuinness
One of the sections that resonated most was Laying the Groundwork for an Effective Routine by Mark McGuinness, where he discusses several tactics to go about setting yourself up for success before even getting to the part where you try to do the task at hand.
Mark talks about finding your rhythm. If you’re a morning person (unlike myself), make this the time where you work on your most important tasks. This not only sets the rest of your day up for success, but gets the tasks that are the most valuable to you completed when you’re feeling your best.
McGuinness also discusses using “associative triggers,” such as listening to the same song repeatedly, as a way to stick to routine and a means of dictating to your brain when it’s time to work. Setting hard stops for yourself at the end of the day also keeps you true to routine. Other physical solutions, such as keeping your to-do list to a manageable post-it note sized list and keeping your commitments in a place you will see them regularly, helps you stay true to those few tasks at hand, all while managing your time effectively.
The variety of authors’ suggestions throughout the book made it a brief, but highly informative read—with motivational and inspirational ways to better your routine and ultimately better yourself as a creative. I’m looking forward to implementing a few of these new strategies in my daily life to boost my creative process as well as refine my daily focus.
What do you do to find your focus and build better routines? Share with us in the comments below!
Want additional productivity tips? Watch the video below: