I’m always on the look out for ways to be more productive. So I downloaded this book of essays on rituals, time management, and productivity produced by 99U — a website that takes its name from Thomas Edison’s observation that “Genius is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent perspiration.” It is 99 “U” because it aims to provide the missing curriculum to help people go from idea to reality.
There are a lot of great thoughts in this book. Rituals matter. Let go of perfectionism. Do creative work frequently if you want to get better at it. Don’t have time? Build in time. Stop answering your *(&*# email and do real work instead.
The one issue for me with Manage Your Day-to-Day is that I’ve already read longer works from most of the essayists featured (Gretchen Rubin, Elizabeth Grace Saunders, Tony Schwartz, etc.) So I didn’t come across big revelations that I hadn’t already absorbed from their own books. However, as with all productivity tomes, the major metric for judgment is if you get a good idea that makes you more productive. I was reminded, as I’m tracking my time, that I should make a note of how much time I’m spending on deep, creative work. Whatever amount of time that is, I should probably aim to make that number larger.
That’s a worthwhile take-away for me. And if you haven’t already read through the entire self-help canon while doing market research on the friendly competition, then you’ll probably find a number of helpful insights in here. Like Mark McGuinness’s observation that “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. Yes, we all have bills to pay and obligations to satisfy. But for most of us there’s a wide area between the have-tos and want-tos in our lives.”