C120 Book Report: Manage Your Day-to-Day

 Current 120 Book Club - Manage Your Day-to-Day by 99u - Book Review
 

Book: Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind
Author: A bunch of creative industry leaders
Audience: Creatives of all kinds. Perfect for designers, copywriters, and everyone in between.
Purchase: http://amzn.to/2EurpUE*

Welcome to our first C120 Book Club Report! In growing our business, we’re always looking for ways to improve our productivity. We’ve found that sometimes continual tasks like these get pushed behind the immediate load of work we’ve all got on our plates. Our goal is to turn learning “tasks” into fun, easy paced opportunities for us to grow together!

We’ll each be sharing our key takeaways and how we’ll be integrating what we learned from Manage Your Day-to-Day into our daily routines.

 
 

 

Arielle's Review:

5 STARS / 5 STARS

As entrepreneurs just beginning our journey of starting a business and laying the groundwork for a lifelong career, things can get a little overwhelming. Expectations are high. There are many new things to learn and I still desperately need time to have a life! I have tendencies to work more than probably necessary, waking up early because I can’t sleep and staying up late trying to finish a project. This is a result of freelancing my services while also working a full-time job. This quickly became taxing on my mental and physical health. Even after quitting to start my own business, I fell back into this habit—there’s so much to do!

“Manage your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind” did exactly what it said it would. Most of this information may have been things I already knew, but that logic was buried with assumptions and norms I have made for myself over the last few years. It’s easy to get wrapped up in trying to please people, pump out work, and do everything at once.  

This book helped me make sense of my long-standing habits; how they hurt more than they helped and how to take steps toward optimizing my work hours. I especially loved the format of each chapter being written by a specialist in their respective fields. I really believe that everyone has something to teach us—and this book had teachings from 20 different professionals!

My first instinct here was to list out my six-month plan to implement many of these habits, but that would the entire book. So, buy the book and make your own list! Although the writers said to only make one change per month, I am an overachiever and picked two things per month (some habits can’t be broken). Here are the things I have implemented in the new year:


January:

  • Sleep: To counter my five-year routine of late nights and early mornings, my first and foremost change had to be sleep. I made a joke out of this for a while. While most people choose exercise, food, or drinking-related resolutions, mine was to sleep more! Eight hours to be exact. This was a challenge for me but was the best choice I have ever made for my health.
  • Professional Journal: Writing my daily qualms, client interactions, and hopes and dreams for the future has given me so much perspective on my personal wisdom. Sometimes you just need to reflect. Picking out a cute journal was fun, too! While I haven’t made this a daily habit yet, just a few times a week has helped me relieve stress and feel like I am actively moving toward my goals.


February:

  • Home Office: Yes, I was working from the couch for a while (okay, six months). Having a dedicated space is 100% necessary to working from home.
  • Creative Blocking: I no longer have to check emails first thing in the morning! This book permitted me to make creativity a priority. This way of working, with creative blocks prioritized, have made my work better and more efficient.


March:

  • Read More: For March, I decided to read a book a month. This is perfect timing because Shelley and I have decided to start the Current 120 Book Club. I am excited about my next continual learning read. We would love to hear your recommendations for creative or professional development books (or, why not add in fiction and true crime book—life can’t be all work and no play).

As a Designer, Photographer, Web Developer and Co-Founder of Current 120 I found every chapter to hold pivotal information that was immensely beneficial to my sanity and invigorating for my creativity. 5 STARS!

 

 

Shelley's Review:

3.5 STARS / 5 STARS

Routine. It was a recurring theme throughout the book. While top authors, entrepreneurs, and designers all shared their personal preferences of how they reach peak proficiency, one idea remained constant: routine.

Having a consistent routine is a huge point of struggle for me. But, I’ve never realized how bad it could affect my day-to-day workflow. My mentality was more so, “if I get through my list, today is a win.” Though, I was wasting time here and there and not prioritizing what was truly important. Most days I also struggle with feeling tired, even after my cup of coffee (and refill). While I saw each of these daily dilemmas as separate, it has become crystal clear that they are all connected.

After reading Manage Your Day-to-Day, my first step of action was developing a consistent daily ritual. I started keeping a journal of each day, noting of the following:

  • when I started working
  • what I did before I worked (i.e., went for a walk, went out for coffee)
  • how I slept the night before
  • my mood toward the day

After a couple of weeks, my analytics-loving brain noticed a real trend. On the nights when I would sleep well (aka not stress out about the upcoming day), start work early, and work on my most significant task first, I felt much more energized and produced greater work significantly faster. This made me feel less stressed because I was prioritizing big tasks (you know, the ones that don’t take one day to mark off your to-do list). The more headway I made with important projects, the less I would feel stressed and lay awake at night worrying. Starting work at a more consistent time allowed me to better establish and separate work time from home time, which can be a bit hard when your workspace is quite literally two feet away from your kitchen table.

Thanks to Manage Your Day-to-Day, I was able to connect—and improve upon—all these seemingly random components of my day.
 

My key takeaways:

  • Find a routine that works for you.
  • Just because something didn’t get checked off your list doesn’t mean you didn’t make progress on a project. If visual recognition like this makes you feel good (girllll, I get it), then find another way to achieve this—like seeing a 2-hour time block on your calendar from when you worked on your project.
  • Don’t wait for the “perfect moment” to start a project. If you keep waiting to be in “the mood” (aka procrastinating), you’ll feel the stress later on.
  • You don’t have to check your email every single waking second of the day. In fact, checking your email this much is a distraction and kills creativity. Important projects > your looming inbox

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