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Music to Play When You Want to Get Focused

There are a handful of albums that I listen to obsessively when I want to get focused on creative work. Below, you’ll find the ones that have gotten the most play, organized into calm, atmospheric music and high-energy, upbeat music. Calm, Atmospheric Music: From electronic to piano to found sound, these albums run the gamut…

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You Can’t Accomplish Anything Without Context

Most of us love to make to-do lists, and yet we very rarely cross everything off. This happens because it’s easy to overlook context. By context I mean things like: clarifying what you want to accomplish in the grand scheme of things, understanding how to coordinate your actions with your energy levels, and acknowledging that…

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Happiness Is a Choice

George Saunders wrote a beautiful piece for Esquire over a decade ago called “The Incredible Buddha Boy” about a young man in Nepal who has been meditating, without eating or drinking, for seven months. On the plane to Nepal, Saunders himself starts to meditate on our endless capacity for wanting. He writes, “The mind is…

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How You Keep Time Influences How You Spend Your Time

A recent study conducted by dScout found that the average user touches their phone 2,617 times a day. And that was just the average. Heavier users topped out at over 5,000+ touches a day. But what I found even more disturbing than the sheer amount of phone interactions was when those interactions were happening. About…

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Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

If I asked if you could continue working at the pace you currently work for the next 10 or even 20 years, what would you say? I think for most people, the standard response would be: “Hell no!” But what we do today, and what we do tomorrow, rapidly becomes the status quo. Until working…

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Working Smarter in the Age of Distraction

Distraction—and its negative impact on creativity—has long been an obsession of mine. And this past Friday, I got to share what I’ve learned about working smarter in the Age of Distraction at CreativeMornings in LA. If you want to understand why the distractions of email and social media are so addictive—and how to conquer them—give…

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The Key to Luck Is Being a People Connector

I’m a bit obsessed with the topic of luck—how we can lay the groundwork for it, how we stumble blindly into it, how we fail to recognize the role it plays in our “self-made” success. There are so many factors that go into luck, but the most powerful is the role that people play. —…

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Productivity Is Really About What You Don’t Do

The best productivity tip I ever got was the idea of a “stop-doing list” from Jim Collins. In this Age of Distraction, we’re all dodging and weaving between so much incoming information that what you don’t do on a daily basis has become as important—if not more—as what you do execute on. Here’s a list…

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Now or Never: The Dangers of Instant Gratification

  When it comes to books, I’ve never been immune to guilty pleasures. Breezy beach books and mysteries have always been a staple in my reading diet. Yet going through my reading history, I noticed that ever since the arrival of my first Kindle, I’ve indulged a lot more in Amazon’s literary fast-food section. But…

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