99u - Manage your day-to-day

99u Manage your day-to-day: build your routine, find your focus & sharpen your creative mind The book is a collection of various articles.


Probably your day to day is cluttered with bad habits. You need to retool and rethink about your daily habits. Basically your day is probably filled with things you react to, like emails. However you need to be proactive and do things that matter to yourself. Take the time to rethink what you are doing on a day to day basis. Then you can make your ideas happen.

Building a Rock Solid Routine

Hemingway wrote 500 words a day no matter what. Great creative achievements require hundreds of hours of work.

Building a routine is all about persistence and consistency. Don’t wait for inspiration; create a framework for it.

Prioritize your creative work first and then deal with the reactive work. Emails do not need to be answered immediately.

  • Use triggers. Basically stick to the same tools and surroundings and that that environment will then create your ‘creative zone’. Use then something like getting your coffee and after that do always the exact same thing. (Basically connecting preexisting habits)

  • Limit your todos to a single Post it Note to avoid TODO Creep and your motivation positive

  • Record every commitment that you have

Have hard limits. Basically you define when you start and end your day.

Doing something frequently vastly improves the likelihood that you will do it. Basically you improve your productivity and creativity by simply making sure that you are doing it on a regular basis.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristoteles

The day to day work needs to include renewal. So phases of spending energy and then phases of renewing energy.

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. - Lena Horne

Basically it comes down to this:

  • Do Great work first, then busy work
  • Balance your day with phases of renewal /solitude
  • Do your work on a regular frequency
  • Have a Routine and not wait for moods.

Finding Focus in a Distracted World

Start to retrain your brain to work without distractions. Basically train yourself to go and focus on a specific task for a short period of time and then train that that period gets longer. It has become much too easy to get distracted in this world. Try to tackle clearly defined tasks.

Multitasking is a myth. Even a small distraction can take around 10 min for you to get back to your original task.

Conditions to produce ones craft are rarely ideal. Waiting for everything to be perfect is the perfect recipe for procrastination.

Try to carve out unstructured time and make sure that you connect to yourself and not to the constant stream of communication (=> your phone). Be open to chance encounters. You never know who you will meet in the real world.


  • Use a calendar to prioritize important work
  • Make your progress visible
  • Take breaks
  • Disconnect from the internet
  • Avoid distracting notifications

Taming your tools

Use email as a tool Use social media as a tool beware of information over-consumption Be aware of how you use technology in your day to day life.

Sharpening your creative mind

Unnecessary Creation gives you the freedom to explore possibilites and follow impractical curosities.

Your mind will answer most of the questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer. - William S. Burroughs

Let go of Perfectionism

  • Define what is finished at the beginning of the project.

If you have troubles with creativity usually something else is blocking it. Go and find the real source of the problem and deal with it.

Coda: Call To action

Going Professional is a journey.

  • Stage 1: Just sit down and work for an hour. Sounds easy, but is actually quite difficult.
  • Stage 2: Repeat that single hour. Can we work again the next day? Can we stay with the task for the entire day? Can we keep going for a week? At this point we are not concerned about quality. What we are doing is learning.
  • Stage 3: Is crossing the finish line. Actually ship something. Can we create something that can stand on its own two feet? We now are acquiring craft, experience and skill. And are now looking into things like quality. (It takes a lot of time to reach this stage)
  • Stage 4: Repeat that success you had.

  • Can you handle success?
  • Can you resurrect after failure?
  • Can you delegate?
  • Can you work with others?

What is a professional?

  • Shows up every day
  • Does not take neither failure or success personally

Overall surrender to your gifts and it will take you on a journey.