Manage Your Day-to-Day - by Jocelyn K. Glei


  • GREAT WORK BEFORE EVERYTHING ELSE Do your most meaningful creative work at the beginning of your day, and leave "reactive work"--like responding to e-mail or other messages--for later.

  • JUMP-START YOUR CREATIVITY Establish "associative triggers"--such as listening to the same music or arranging your desk in a certain way--that tell your mind it's time to get down to work.

  • FEEL THE FREQUENCY Commit to working on your project at consistent intervals--ideally every day--to build creative muscle and momentum over time.

  • PULSE AND PAUSE Move rhythmically between spending and renewing your energy by working in ninety-minute bursts and then taking a break.

  • GET LONELY Make a point of spending some time alone each day. It's a way to observe unproductive habits and thought processes, and to calm your mind.

  • DON'T WAIT FOR MOODS Show up, whether you feel inspired or not.


  • DEFEND YOUR CREATIVE TIME Book time on your calendar for uninterrupted, focused work--and respect those blocks of time as you would any client meeting.

  • FOCUS WHEN YOU'RE FRESH Tackle the projects that require "hard focus" early in your day. Self-control--and our ability to resist distractions--declines as the day goes on.

  • KILL THE BACKGROUND NOISE Turn off your phone, e-mail, and any apps unrelated to your task. Even the presence of background activity (and temptation) can drain your focus.

  • MAKE PROGRESS VISIBLE Marking progress is a huge motivator for long-term projects. Make your daily achievements visible by saving iterations, posting milestones, or keeping a daily journal.

  • GIVE YOUR BRAIN A BREAK Alternate challenging creative work with more "mindless" tasks to give your brain time to rest and refuel.

  • TAP INTO TRANSITIONAL MOMENTS Take a break from checking your smartphone during transitional moments, and open yourself up to opportunity and serendipity.


  • KEEP THE LONG VIEW IN VIEW Post your complex, long-term goals by your workstation to keep them top of mind when prioritizing your tasks.

  • BE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR BANDWIDTH Practice letting go of certain e-mail and social media conversations. There will always be more opportunities than you actually can take on.

  • CHECK YOURSELF, OR WRECK YOURSELF Distinguish between compulsive and conscious behaviors. Are you acting out of boredom or blind habit when you could be serving a higher goal?

  • HIT THE RESET BUTTON Make a ritual of unplugging on a regular basis. Turning everything off is like hitting the "reset" button on your mind--it gives you a fresh start.

  • DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH Be conscious of your body. Breathing deeply and regularly can decrease your stress levels and help you make better decisions.

  • IN IMAGINATION WE TRUST Don't trust technology over your own instincts and imagination. Doing busywork is easy; doing your best work is hard.


  • PRACTICE UNNECESSARY CREATION Use personal creative projects to explore new obsessions, skills, or ways of working in a low-pressure environment.

  • WANDER LONELY AS A CLOUD Make time for your mind--and body--to wander when you're stuck. Disengaging from the problem allows your subconscious to do its work.

  • DEFINE "FINISHED" FROM THE START Keep your inner perfectionist in check by defining what finished looks like at the beginning of a project. And when you get there, stop!

  • DON'T GO ON AUTOPILOT Repetition is the enemy of insight. Take unorthodox--even wacky--approaches to solving your stickiest problems and see what happens.

  • SEARCH FOR THE SOURCE When the well runs dry, don't blame a lack of talent. Creative blocks frequently piggyback on other problems. See if you can identify them.

  • LOVE YOUR LIMITATIONS Look at constraints as a benefit, rather than an impediment. They activate our creative thinking by upping the ante.