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Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series) Paperback – May 21, 2013
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"The suggestions in Manage Your Day-to-Day urge us to take responsibility for our own time and energy by not letting email or other forms of reactivity blunt our focus." —Forbes
"Turn off your email, put your ringer on mute, and read this book right now. Manage Your Day-to-Day contains life-changing tips from the some of the smartest brains around." —AJ Jacobs, bestselling author of Drop Dead Healthy and The Year of Living Biblically
"It's like the Navy Seals of creativity all got together and wrote a book about productivity. I’m giving my entire design team a copy." —Joe Gebbia, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Airbnb
"Manage Your Day-to-Day is an essential guidebook for navigating information overload and all the other complications and distractions of 21st century life. The lessons contained within are vital in helping us to find the time and space to successfully accomplish daily goals, while creating a safe space for creativity to flourish." —Paula Scher, Partner at Pentagram Design
"I’m always looking for ways to boost my productivity and to stop doing the things that hold me back. That’s why I turned to Manage Your Day-to-Day…The book was worth the quick read." —Daniel Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human
About the Author
In this ongoing book series, 99U shares pragmatic, action-oriented insights that are designed to help you become a better manager of your ideas, your time, and your creative career. Dozens of thought-leaders and creatives have contributed to the series, including Seth Godin, Gretchen Rubin, Stefan Sagmeister, Tony Schwartz, Steven Pressfield, Scott Belsky, Leo Babauta, Tina Seelig, Jonathan Fields, Teresa Amabile, Frans Johansson, and many more.
The series is edited by Jocelyn K. Glei, Director and Editor-in-Chief of 99U. Jocelyn oversees the 99u.com website—which has won two Webby Awards for "Best Cultural Blog"—and leads the curation and execution of the popular 99U Conference. Prior to joining 99U, Jocelyn was the global managing editor at the online media company Flavorpill. She is passionate about creating content-driven products that people love.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a brief book with a number of contributors. Since there is no one answer for all people out there, hearing from a number of people their strategies for getting things accomplished is a nice change, compared to numerous single-author single-plan productivity books that are out there. However, there is some consistency of perspective, and some themes, such as reducing distractions, repeat across many contributors. You probably already know much of what is in here, but seeing the ways in which you are not maximizing your productivity in black and white (and red) brings them to the foreground where you cannot ignore them.
From the description, I was expecting a longer book with more in-depth articles. There are some gems of observations and ideas here, but the contributions are unsatisfyingly brief. Most offer general strategies rather than specific helpful steps, many of which you already know (e.g. "Kill the background noise - Turn off your phone, email, .... ", the distinction between creative work and reactive work, etc.). It is not bad for what it is, but, as a fan of several of the contributors, I was hoping for so much more (ymmv), though I did find the book useful for honing my to-do lists. Most of them feel like brief excerpts from longer works. Just when an article gets going, I turn the page, and POOF !!, it is over.
However, you can read this book as a collection of useful suggestions & observations, some of which will hit the spot for you, and some which will not. Since it is composed of a number of brief stand-alone articles (or possibly blog excerpts), after getting the overview by reading the Forward, you can pick it up and start reading anywhere as interested. There are a lot of really great observations here (e.g. most productive work is done in the morning, multitasking makes things take longer to accomplish, the power of habit and repetition, importance of mindfulness & quiet reflection, etc.), but you have to figure out how to compose your own action plan for any idea you want to incorporate into your life -- it is not a step-by-step how-to book. And even though it is brief and general, there are really good observations here that will take time to absorb, so it is probably worth re-reading from time to time.
At the end of each of the four sections, there is a summary page of "Key Takeaways" along with a link to an appropriate page on their 99U website. The summaries don't really communicate the spark and usefulness of the articles they represent, but they do serve as useful reminders of what you have read. They are not in the table of contents, so you have to look for them.
Be aware that the small pages of this brief book have plenty of white space, and there are many pages with artistically giant words. So the book is not that long, thus it won't take a long time to read to harvest the suggestions that interest you.
Though the final printing may be different, my edition is hard to open and flip through, because it is a small book with tight binding and stiff pages. It is a constant battle to hold it open while reading, and my r.s.i. hands don't appreciate the continual muscle strain. If I want to underline something, it is hard to get the page to lay near-flat to do so. (Obviously this criticism applies only to the printed version.) [revised 6/2/13]
Among some of the more helpful points for me covered include:
1. Drawing a line between the world's demands and your own ambitions.
2. We can accomplish much by working slowly and consistently over a long period of time.
3. Setting a daily routine by regularly and reliably doing your work in an habitual way.
4. We are not designed to operate at high speeds for long periods of time.
5. Blocking off time for focused creative effort.
6. Multitasking is overrated (I say "AMEN" to that!!!).
7. Suggestions for improving self-control.
8. Being involved in the moment enhances your creativity.
9. Many people want success in so much haste that they do not take time to be true to themselves (what good does it do to gain the whole world if you lose your soul in the process?).
10. Disengagement from a situation may provide a solution for your problem.
The book is a delightful read and may be completed in a few sittings. I will often refer to the book when needing either an inspiration or reminder of how to access creativity. Except for one instance of a four-letter word from one of the contributors, the book's content was clean.
Since I read these types of books/articles a lot, I was surprised to find so many new insights - and to actually feel energized. I'm guessing it's because instead of being "the one method you must use", there are very many viewpoints, tips and suggestions. Some of them seem contradictory - like work for hours vs work in short blocks - but as you read the essays, some will resonate with you as "the way" that will work for you.