So, it's October already. Not sure how that happened, or if I'm ready for it, but I am trying to be more accepting of time passing so let's say it's fine. Something I have noticed about the way I work is that I often don't get the hang of a season until it's completely over. Which is, of course, too late. I get into a routine that works and then I have to figure out a new way of managing my time. I'm not sure that I really noticed this so much when I worked full-time in a 'regular' job, where the rhythm of your days is often out of your control, but now that I'm freelance/self-employed, I am very aware of how important a routine is. It is something I struggle with constantly and am always looking out for new ideas or tips.
I wonder if this is also something other creatives find challenging, particularly if you are trying to balance making work with all the admin/marketing that is needed, and possibly a part-time job. It can be so tricky to prioritise the things you really want to do, that further your creative practice or business dreams, when there are so many necessary but uninspiring tasks. This month's book recommendation is a compliation of helpful insights from 99u on managing your day-to-day tasks. I'm a big fan of the online content of 99u (on the website and in their newsletter) and find myself nodding along to a lot of the advice in this book.
Manage your Day-to-day by 99u
I picked up this book in a charity shop because it ticked all the usual boxes:
self improvement-ish? check
for creatives? check
short, public transport friendly chapters? check
content by authors I respect or already follow/subscribe to? check
inspirational quotes as section breaks? check
covering stuff I always feel I could read more about? check
soft, matte covers that are lovely to hold? check
It's not unusual for me to find books that look like they are going to be interesting or relevant to me and then to get them home and be really underwhelmed. Luckily, this book wasn't one of those. I am not going to lie: this book will not fix your lack-of-structure-and-routine woes (if that's what you're hoping to fix, ahem). No book can do that. What it does do, very nicely, is to present well-written articles, by authors who are experts in their fields, on topics that aim to help you shift your viewpoint a little, to think about ways you can improve your routine and not be so distracted by all that white noise that gets in the way of actually getting stuff done.
None of the advice is ground-breaking, and you've probably heard it or read it before. But, it's always helpful to be reminded. Something I'm aware of is how quickly I forget things if I don't develop ways to re-discover them. This book, with its handy short chapters, is easy to dip in and out of, and since I bought it, it's lived on or near my desk and has been read quite a few times. A chapter I particularly liked was 'Harnessing the power of frequency' by Gretchen Rubin (yes, her again!) and the accompanying quote by Aristotle: "we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." I also needed to hear the advice in 'Banishing multitasking from our repertoire' as well as most of the section 'Taming your Tools: how to gracefully manage new technologies for better workflow and well-being'.
As with all my book recommendations, I can only tell you that there were elements I found pertinent and useful for how things are in my world at the moment. You may be lucky enough to have found a routine that works perfectly well, and distractions like email and social media do not bother you, in which case this book probably won't offer much (and I'd love to hear how you do it!) But if you are struggling with anything like that, reading this book may lead you to some ideas or suggestions that work for you.
Manage your Day-to-day: Build your routine, find your focus & sharpen your creative mind edited by Jocelyn K Glei(published by Amazon Publishing).