30 Insights That Will Change the Way You Live, Work, and Create


Illustration by Anja Wicki

Over the past year, I’ve shared over 500 articles on how to find more meaning and creativity in your daily work through my weekly newsletter.

Below, I’ve whittled that list down to my 30 favorite pieces of writing across the categories of productivity, creativity, careers, technology, and well-being. Plus, a shortlist of the most popular posts from this blog. Every piece highlighted here truly changed the way I work.


100 Blocks a Day
Most people sleep about seven or eight hours a night. That leaves 16 or 17 hours awake each day. Or about 1,000 minutes.

The Sanctity of Your Calendar
If you find that you rarely add or decline events to your calendar, it’s usually a signal that you’re being too passive with how you’re spending your time

Why You Should Embrace a Disorderly Desk
The truth is that getting organized is often a matter of soothing our anxieties —an artful way of feeling busy while doing nothing terribly useful.

Tell Me What You Did Today, and I’ll Tell You Who You Are
If you repeated today every day for the next year, realistically, where would you end up?

Productivity Advice from My 16-Year-Old Self
As I look back on my 16-year-old self, I realized the quantity of time wasn’t the issue, but rather the quality of it.

The Most Effective Way to Say “No” to Things You Don’t Want to Do
A refusal that includes “don’t” — as in, “I don’t answer emails on a Saturday night” — is more powerful than one centered around “can’t.”


The Seasons of Creativity
Creative work has seasons. Part of the work is to know which season it is, and act accordingly.

Self-Expression Is Inevitable
A 1973 lecture from famed painter Agnes Martin on why we make art and “the perfection underlying life.”

Creativity Is Much More Than 10,000 Hours of Deliberate Practice
The creator is rewarded for transcending expertise— going beyond the standard repertoire.

You Need a Business Model to Make It as an Artist
Mastering your art form is how you become a great artist. It is not how you become a professional.

Jazz Great Bill Evans on the Creative Process and Self-Teaching
If you try to approximate something that is very advanced and don’t know what you’re doing, you can’t advance.

Unloaded Minds Are the Most Creative
How routine activities like showering give your mind free space, which often enables weirdness.


The Number One Predictor of Career Success
According to multiple, peer-reviewed studies, simply being in an open network instead of a closed one is the best predictor of career success.

The Real Reason This Elephant Chart Is Terrifying
47 to 81% of jobs as we understand them could be under threat from technology within 20 years.

The Only Person Who Can Make Your Job Meaningful Is You
The quality of leadership received virtually no mention when people described meaningful moments at work, but poor management was the top destroyer of meaningfulness.

The Problem with Following Your Passion
In German, the word for passion is Leidenschaft, which literally means the ability to endure adversity.

Do You Have to Be a Jerk to Be Successful?
The idea that only the swaggering, all-knowing, and ruthlessly ambitious succeed is a lie.

How to Network Without Feeling Like a Phony
An aversion to networking can be overcome—four strategies to help you change your mindset.


How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds
Product designers are playing your psychological vulnerabilities (consciously and unconsciously) against you in the race to grab your attention.

Who Will Command the Robot Armies?
A thought-provoking, hilarious, and scary talk about who will control the technology of the future.

The Great A.I. Awakening
How Google used artificial intelligence to transform Google Translate, one of its more popular services — and how machine learning is poised to reinvent computing itself.

A Bad Carver
An excellent and thoughtful investigation of why technology is so often at odds with the sacred.

Staying Human in the Machine Age: An Interview with Douglas Rushkoff
When you operate on the scale of the corporations, of the internet, you end up getting caught in these giant standing waves, you end up losing your home field advantage as a living person.

Bots Won’t Replace Apps
Highly entertaining history of messaging, chat apps, and the future of “conversational UI”—but you don’t need to be a nerd to enjoy it.


Stop Adopting Other People’s Anxiety
If you remember your high school science you’ll remember that anxiety is conductive. It wants to travel from one person to another person.

Why You Can’t Help But Act Your Age
How old we feel—our subjective age—can influence how we age. Where age is concerned, the pages torn off a calendar do not tell the whole story.

Why Vitamin Pills Don’t Work and May Be Bad for You
We dose up on antioxidants as if they are the elixir of life. At best, they are probably ineffective. At worse, they may just send you to an early grave.

Always Be Moving
A morning run or evening Spin class may feel great, but if the rest of your day involves sitting on your ass, a brief burst does little for your overall well-being.

Falling for Sleep
When wakefulness is seen as the main event, no wonder so many have trouble sleeping. Can we rekindle the joy of slumber?

Michael Pollan’s Simple Rules for Eating
Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food, and other easy-to-remember ideas.

My Most Popular Posts

Productivity Is Really About What You Don’t Do
What you don’t do on a daily basis has become as important—if not more—as what you do execute on.

How to Overcome Worry and Be a Friendlier Person
50 golden rules from Dale Carnegie for overcoming worry, getting people onboard with your ideas, and becoming a great leader.

Where Does Confidence Come From?
We’re often told that we should be more confident. But how do you go about that? And what exactly is confidence anyway?

A Sense of Appreciation Is the Single Most Sustainable Motivator at Work
While we quickly get used to the typical forms of workplace recognition—a higher salary, a better job title—and begin to take them for granted, appreciation is different.

The Key to Luck Is Being a People Connector
Whether it’s in your career, in love, or in life, opportunities flow through people. If you want to increase your luck, start putting yourself in harm’s way.

If you’d like to receive more articles like this twice a month, join 6,000+ people and sign up for my newsletter.

Get more tips on how to activate your creativity and do the work that matters:

Hi, I'm Jocelyn. I help people find more creativity and meaning in their daily work.

I created the online course RESET, a cosmic tune-up for your workday, and I host Hurry Slowly, a podcast about how you can be more productive, creative, and resilient by slowing down. Occasionally, I write books and give talks too.
Send this to a friend