How to Get More Confident

One of my favorite TV shows is the 1969 BBC series Civilisation, hosted by Sir Kenneth Clark. A survey of European art, it’s intelligent, insightful, and gorgeous, with (for the time) outstanding production values. Yes, it’s also the epitome of white male, Eurocentric art criticism, but it still rewards watching, especially if you keep its…

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My Eye!

Cute dachshund dressed as priate

So, I just had eye surgery. Not cataracts, something trickier and scarier. I will spare you the details except to note that the surgery is called a “vitrectomy.” Those who want to look up the icky details are welcome to. It took almost a year from my initial diagnosis to get my surgery—and not so…

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Five Questions to Ask if You’re Not Enjoying Your Creative Work

Creativity can, and should, be an incredible source of fulfillment, meaning, and joy—and so, if you’re not enjoying your creative work, something might be wrong. If so, try answering these five questions: 1) Do I really want to be doing this? Sometimes we take on creative projects for the wrong reasons, like ego or to…

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The Easiest, Most Powerful Thing I Do For My Productivity

The easiest, most powerful thing I do to boost my productivity is a nightly ritual that takes about ten seconds. Before I tell you what it is, I need to explain two things:  (1) I use two computers:  Using two computers may sound like an indulgence, but it’s not, especially given the productivity boost it…

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Procrastination is Hoarding

An illustration of Tolkien's dragon Smaug sitting atop his hoarded gold.

We procrastinate, in large part, to avoid the hurt of criticism or rejection. If you don’t hand your work in, after all, it—and, by extension, you—can’t be criticized or rejected. And even if you do manage to hand it in, procrastination provides a built-in justification for any disappointing outcomes you receive: “I was rushed.” The…

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Two Great New Year’s Resolutions

paperback and tablet showing cover of Productivity is Power

Happy New Year Everyone! I tend to be skeptical of New Year’s resolutions, which are often grandiose and built more around impulse than planning. But here are two good ones for 2023: 1) Reduce the time you currently spend on housework, chores, and errands by 25%, investing that time instead in “mission work” (creative /…

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We’re All Done With Pandemic Shaming!

Happy to report that there’s been a swift and strong pushback on the whole “use your pandemic time productively” push. From the meme world… From the New York Times… …and from J.K. Rowling herself! No quote tweeting, but if you’re a ‘life coach’ who’s on here implying people are losers if they aren’t learning a…

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Focusmate: a Productivity App That Really Works!

So I don’t recommend products or apps very often, and when I have, the results have been mixed. ( IS a good indie-bookstore-supporting substitute for Audible, but CBD oil as a sleep aid is probably an expensive placebo at best.) But I have NO hesitation in recommending Focusmate, an inexpensive app that gives you a…

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How About We Not Be Perfectionist During a Pandemic?

Sorry I’ve been quiet: I’ve been finishing my latest book, Productivity is Power: 5 Liberating Practices for College Students. I’ll have more to share on that shortly. I’m compelled to write now, however, because there’s been a spate of posts by people who seem to think that shaming others for their supposed underproductivity during a…

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