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Recent Articles

Saying “No” with Grace

Yesterday, I said “no” to someone, and this is what they wrote back to me: “Thanks for the quick, productive, and honest conversation.” Now let me give you the backstory: A large tech company got in touch with me via email more or less saying, “Hey, we’re doing this...

Luck Is a Long String of YES’s

Here’s a common exchange that I have: Me: “I owe most of my success to luck.” Other person: “Don’t say that. You work really hard!” Most of us have a knee-jerk reaction to the mention of luck. We deny it, choosing instead to focus on the hard work that went into...

How to Feel Progress

As humans, we can’t help but be goal-oriented. We love to move forward. We love to feel a sense of momentum. And, more than anything, we love to tick things off a list. This manifests as something called completion bias, a happy-making hit of dopamine that we get...

Forget About Fake News, the Real Problem Is “Fake Productivity”

We've gotten very good at making time for busywork and very bad at making time for our best work. In this recent talk, I outline why we're so addicted to "fake productivity" — those small, mindless tasks that feel productive but actually get us nowhere — and how we...

How to Maintain Your Sanity (and Be Productive) When You Work Alone

I am a huge advocate of having a room of one’s own. But it’s not healthy to spend too much time in the confines of your own mind. Or, for that matter, alone in your home office. For the past two and a half years I’ve been working on my own, and in the process, I’ve...

The Problem with the “What Else?” Mindset

I am an inveterate planner. Which means I spend a lot of time thinking about what’s NEXT. Probably too much time. And when I finally accomplish all those things I was planning to do, I spend little (if any) time acknowledging what I’ve achieved. Because I’m already...

Why You Need “White Space” in Your Daily Routine

In design, “white space” is negative space. It’s not blank space because it has a purpose. It is balancing the rest of the design by throwing what is on the page (or the screen) into relief. The white space helps focus your visual attention. Now let’s expand this...

You Can’t Be Creative Without Being in Your Body

Creativity depends on being embodied. Merely having a body, that is currently hunched over a computer, does not count. To be embodied, you must be moving through the world: taking action, seeking resources, finding pleasure. Because that, as Charles Darwin noted in...

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