Why You Should Sign up for Level Up

Why You Should Sign up for Level Up

(An Unpaid Testimonial by a Huge Productivity Geek Creative Type)

First thing’s first: I pitched this article to Caylee. She did not ask me to, nor is she compensating me for it, and I took way too long mulling over and writing it! Like I said in my previous article for this site, “I often don’t know what I think until I write it.” I wanted to write this article because Caylee’s course Level Up, The Creative’s Guide for Getting it Done, has had a significant influence on how I go about achieving my own goals, and because I’m obsessed and fascinated with productivity, doing it and the idea of it. Think of this like a Level Up testimonial from an overly enthusiastic fan about the ongoing lessons they learned and the insights they gained.

Why I Signed Up

I technically finished Level Up in 21 days, which is not suggested by the course! But, like I said above, obsessed with productivity here. A part of it is an unhealthy obsession with finding “the perfect system” to achieve my ever-growing list of goals, books to read, projects to start, projects to complete, etc. Somedays, I am more realistic about the unreality of this goal – most days, I am not because I am equal parts enthusiastic about and exhausted by the miracle of human consciousness. Combine these things together and you get a productivity geek who happens to also be a writer.

Also, Level Up is really pretty, and I like pretty things. In particular, I like things that are equal parts pretty and equal parts functional. Did I mention I am also a design geek?

So, basically I saw Level Up and salivated like any productivity-design geek creative type would. But, that’s not all there is to it, and I wouldn’t be “uncomfortably honest” (see bio) if I didn’t share that part of things. My therapist was on hiatus for the time. I felt stymied by my current work situation. I was in the process of losing a very important relationship and in complete denial about it. The act of writing paralyzed me. I was spending countless hours consuming information and tricking myself into doing things that appeared productive, but was really just stalling on my priorities. Oh, and I was, and still am frequently, plagued by self-doubt, a fear of failure, guilt, and all those big and little things that inhibit us from self-expression, creativity, and self-acceptance.

It’s not like Level Up solved all those issues, because nothing does. But, Level Up has helped in a multitude of little ways that have added up and continue adding up to bigger insights into myself and my own productivity habits. So, here a few big things I got out of working my way through Level Up.

Lesson 1: I have totally internalized “practical” as not creative.

We all have creative impulses. In Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic (a suggested reading from Level Up), she points out that humans have been creating art since the beginning, even if it did not serve an evident purpose. Yet, creativity for the sake of creativity is often treated like an indulgence, not a necessity, so we feel guilty when we do it. (I blame Calvinism.)

Aren’t there “more productive” things I should be doing like running this “important” errand, doing these chores, taking care of this person, and so on? Maybe I will feel less guilty if I can make some money off my creative habit? (Hint: Nope, you’ll just end up constantly overworking yourself because of it!) In some ways, I’ve had to trick myself by labeling creativity as necessary and always “productive,” even when it’s just for its own sake.

Lesson 2: I adapt myself to new systems and methods, rather than adapting them to me.

I love a new system to try! It’s like a new exciting challenge for me to master, and I love mastering things. I am competitive, I have a Master’s degree, I like gold stars! Personal coach, Toku, hits this desire on the nose:

The reason you want a perfect system is because, as a high performer, you are a master of systems. You’ve conquered educational institutions, corporate environments, and social circles. So, whenever you encounter a problem, you start looking for the perfect system to fix it.

See, “looking” is the key word there. Looking means I seek a perfect system rather than creating my own. One of my favorite things about Level Up is the space to experiment and try different things, which is also continued in the community afterwards. I have to tune into what I will actually do and use, not what my idealized self thinks I should be doing.

Lesson 3: My Idealized Self is a Passive-Aggressive Tool

Your idealized self, admit it, she’s kind of a tool and probably passive-aggressive. (It can’t just be me!) Idealized self has to accept that my love of sitting on the couch on Friday nights watching Netflix and drinking wine is a huge motivator that I have to exploit to be productive during the week. My idealized self tries to convince me that I will earn free time that I can then use towards my other goals, that I will make productivity the reward for productivity. Yeah, no, lizard me wants Gilmore Girls and wine, and she has to be satiated, so that person somewhere between idealized self and lizard me can get shit done.

You deserve a break. End of story.

Lesson 3: The fear of failure runs deep.

I am talking Mariana Trench deep. I don’t know if “overcoming” it is really a thing you do when it comes to the fear of failure. But, I do know continous practices that disrupt the fear are crucial – that usually means creating as a regular habit, that means writing or drawing anything, even when you feel the most unmotivated, so you can at least say you did it. That means carving out time for it, no matter what, so you can feel whole and human. For me in particular, that also means having spiritual habits that directly tie to my creativity because I need something outside of my head to kick around my own inner self-critic, or my passive-aggressive idealized self.

In sum, what you get out of Level Up will be your own. You will find lots of helpful hints, tips, shiny new things, and so on, as well as a healthy dose of a kick in the butt with a side of self-love. Experiment with these new things, adapt them to where you are right now. Talk to the community in Slack, say hi to me, message me directly if you want! But the sum of those parts is that you learn a thing or two about yourself and how you have to work with where you’re at to achieve your goals.


Jenna is a writer, editor, and creator. She is arguably over-educated and most certainly uncomfortably honest.

Say hello on Twitter (and tell her Caylee says hi!)

How to Find Time to be Creative

How to Find Time to be Creative

Taking pictures, painting, writing, knitting, cooking delicious, zero waste dishes… All of this is exciting but maybe you’re in my case: you have a daily job and at the end of the day, you just need to relax on your sofa. With a plaid blanket. And a cup of tea. Finding time to be creative is difficult, even if you have plenty of projects and ideas in mind. My name is Marie and I am going to introduce you some tips to help you find time to be creative.

How to find time to be creative

My creative experience as an engineer

For my part, I am an energy and environment engineer, working to build sustainable neighborhoods / cities. I love my job. But, I have always been very creative and it is not possible for me to put aside this part of my life. After several months working, I had the feeling that I will never find time to create. Too tired. Too complicated.

I missed being creative, I needed to find solutions and a plan.

I started looking for books and e-courses about organisation for creatives – including Level Up, Caylee’s e-course that helped me so much. Associated with a strong motivation, I managed to implement some techniques in my daily life, and finally I breathed. I was able to create again without feeling too overwhelmed.

I even felt less stress and found more fresh ideas.

How to find time to be creative

Understand what are your barriers and clarify your goals

Firstly, on Caylee advice, I started by doing a mind map to understand the different areas of my life I should work on to find more time to be creative. I found four: creativity, home, development and job. At first, I thought I will have to work hard on my creativity to find more time. But after a few weeks on focusing only on it, I understood I had to embrace the four areas, trying to be more productive on the four of them to start having the motivation and the organisation to create.  Especially, applying new organization techniques for my daily job helped me finding balance.

I also started a notebook to keep a physical track of my motivation, goals and creative time. This notebook helps me to put down on paper my goals and make them more real. For instance, I record if I manage to find time each week to  be creative , I write down my small successes but also my difficulties. This enabled me to carry on over the long term.

A new morning routine

Waking up early has been game changing for me. I am convinced it is the key to find more time to create, even if you think you are a night owl. I have been waking up at 6 o’clock instead of 7:45 every day for six months now. At the beginning it was difficult. I listened / read / watched a lot of content to gather tips and understand why it could really help me. The power of a night of sleep is clearly huge when it comes to create on the morning (painting, writing, editing…). This quiet moment will put you in a good mood for the rest of the day for sure.

“This quiet moment will put you in a good mood for the rest of the day for sure.”

Some tips

  • To get up early you have to go to bed earlier
  • Do not waste your morning time scrolling on social medias and blogs: this is YOUR time
  • Have fun with activities that bring joy to you. For me it is watercolors.
  • Anticipate what you want to do in the morning the night before. For my part, I write down two or three ideas before going to bed in a memo.
  • Although it sounds extreme, stick to your routine, make sure you don’t press the “Snooze” button , and soon you will become addicted to the happiness to be more creative and productive.
  • Be uncompromising

This will help you finding more time (maybe only a few minutes, but every bit matters!) regularly.

How to find time to be creative

Making an habit of creating

If you decide you are going to find more time to be creative, you will. Try to list your usual “excuses” and analyse them. If you need, you can try to record a whole week of time to understand where your time goes and to try finding more focus (see later the app “Rescue Time”).

When you find time and focus, try to be regular and transform this creative time into an habit, especially if you want to progress. Keep the creative moment a moment of relaxation, joy, pleasure not frustration ….  !

Be inspired

Maybe you don’t find time to be creative because you are not inspired? You are afraid you won’t come up with an idea immediately. My solution to this, helping me to constantly wanting to create, is learning. I’m addicted to learning, especially online.

Platforms for creatives I tried (apart from Caylee’s e-course obviously ;) ):

  • Creativebug: I love the twist and quality of Creativebug courses (painting , drawing, sewing, crochet, etc.). Access to all e-courses is free for the first 15 days, then $4.95 per month
  • CreativeLIVE: The e-courses are free if you watch them live and then it costs between $30 and $100 (I tested a course).
  • Skillshare: it’s $1 for the first 3 months subscription. There are so many videos to look at, it is very inspiring.
  • Craftsy: On this platform, you can buy good quality e-courses per unit (no subscription). I tried two about watercolors.


Everyday, I listen to one or two podcasts that keep me inspired each time I sit at my table and start creating. For instance: Make it happen, Elise gets crafty, Seanwes, Magic lessons… There are created by very talented people and I learn a lot from each time I press Play.


Of course Youtube is a huge source of inspiration. My favorite channel for the moment is Fran Meneses @Franned. :)

Another idea to help you staying inspired and motivated to create is to start a project or a series. Find something you are really really motivated to dive into. You can also choose to improve your piano practice or watercolors for instance by envisioning your path to progression as an adventure rather than a load. Sometimes, you just need to adjust your vision, be positive and the rest will follow.

“This quiet moment will put you in a good mood for the rest of the day for sure.”

Find the time to be creative with the right tools

To help you find time to be creative, I suggest you use the right tools (see Level 3 of Level Up). At first I was skeptical about some of them but honestly it really changed my daily life.

How to find time to be creative


This tool has revolutionized my daily life. This is an app to manage to do lists. You can synchronize the application on the computer, on the phone, add plugins to browsers, connect mailbox … The idea is simple: divide the tasks by project and sub-project, set dates, occurrences, filters, priorities etc. I apply it in all areas of my mind map. First, I wanted to target only the creative aspect. But I realized that I needed to have a broader vision and target the whole organization of my daily life to find time to be creative. Having everything in the app helped me freeing my mind and gave me so much booooost when it comes to crossing each box.


Pomodoro is a timer. It works with cycles of 25 minutes of deep concentration + 5 minute break (= a pomodoro). After four pomodoros (about 2 hours), you can take a 20-minute break. At first I wasn’t sure to like Pomodoro, too strict … I tried it at work, not for my personal projects and I really struggled. I noticed I wasn’t even able to focus more than 15 minutes. That really bothered me to realize that I wasn’t effective enough at work, I was in “the chain of doom” (see this video at 6:27), I needed to break it. I persisted, trying to get focus with pomodoro and now I have trouble working without Pomodoro. The app really helped me managing my time. When I come back home after a good day of productive work I find more motivation and time to create, with a clear mind!

Moreover, as I had a good quality working day, I can finish my day earlier, for example 30 minutes earlier without feeling guilty (I don’t have a fix schedule). This leaves more time to be creative right?


I was using Keep before using Todoist. This is a very good memo app you can sync on your computer / smartphone. I use it before going to bed to write things I would like to do the next day. I also have a memo “ideas container” on it where I note any new ideas spontaneously (mainly on the bus).


RescueTime is an app you can install on your computer to see exactly how you spend your time on it. You can see exactly how long you’ve been on Facebook, emails or writing, etc. I can see for instance that I spent 6 hours last week on Facebook. Six hours. Wow!  I could have been painting all this time!

How to find time to be creative



Marie lives in Paris, she is interested in photography and watercolors and shares on her blog tips to be more creative and to find your own approach and style.

Say hello on her blog, Instagram, and Facebook (and tell her Caylee says hi!)

How to start planning your day as a creative

How to start planning your day as a creative

Hey there guys! My name is Ira and I’m super excited to be here and guest posting for the lovely Caylee. I have a lot of juicy stuff that I’m about to share with you and it’s all about being organized and plan your day like a boss. I’m pretty sure you can’t wait to know more so let’s dive right in!

As a creative person, we may feel like we don’t need to plan out our day. We often work at irregular hours and there’s no fixed schedule either. Most of the time, we work whenever and wherever. Did you know that you can accomplish so much and lead a happier life if you take the time to carefully plan out your day? If you want to start planning your day and wonder how to do it in the most effective ways possible, then fret not. I have just the thing for you. Today I’ll be talking about how and why you need a daily plan as a creative. First, let’s take a look at the reason why you need it.

How to start planning your day as a creative

Why you need to plan your day

Plan your day to avoid procrastination

I know a lot of us creative people tend to procrastinate. We absolutely love to do our work at the very last minute. Well guess what? Those works always turns out to be the ones that we feel like we could have done better. It also leads to us being stressed out when in fact it can be avoided by simply planning out your work ahead of time.

FUN TIP: If you feel like you always fall into the procrastination trap, then try this tip. Every morning after you wake up, do one thing such as making a coffee or eating your breakfast before you start working. Do this every day in order to develop your own routine.

What it does is that every time you perform the routine, it helps telling your brain to tap into the working mode. You’ll automatically head straight to your workspace and start doing your work instead of lounging around and waiting at the very last minute to start working on your project.

Plan your day to make you more productive

Planning out your day has been proven to help you become more productive and get more things done. I have noticed that when I decide to carefully plan out my day I become more focused and determined to finish all the tasks on my to do lists. The way it makes you become more productive is by letting you plan everything in advance and you can actually arrange how you are going to spend your time. This makes for a more productive day because you are more likely to follow through and not missing any important stuff.

Plan your day to be well prepared

Planning out your day lets you be physically and mentally prepared for your day ahead. It lets you know exactly what you need to do and when to do it. This definitely gives you a peace of mind knowing that you won’t be forgetting that important meeting with clients or failing to complete the project on time.

Plan your day to practise a form of art therapy

This is one of the reasons why I started planning out my day. My planner is a space where I get to decorate and be creative. It is also like a form of an art therapy because I feel so in touch with my creative side and feel so happy whenever I get the chance to sit down and make my planner pretty. There is an instant gratification that I get when I see my beautifully decorated planner.

Now that we’ve covered the why, it’s time for the fun part: designing our day. Hopefully I have convinced you enough as to why you need to start planning out your day. It’s time to talk about how you can do it as a creative person. I will show you things that you can include in your daily plan. These are my own suggestions and I personally use this myself so feel free to implement the ones that you think will work for you and leave out the ones that don’t.

The easiest way for you to get started right away is by taking a good ‘ol pen and paper and draw 4 columns. Then you divide it according to the 4 categories listed below;

  • Important and urgent
  • Important but not urgent
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important and not urgent

What this list does is basically it provides you with an overview of all your to do lists and projects. It also helps you to prioritize your work and further plan out what kind of actions you need to take in order to complete the tasks. This is going to prevent you from being too overwhelmed and act as a brain dump, but in an organized way. If you’re ready to take it a step further you can use the guide below to help you optimize you day planning activities and get more things done.

How to start planning your day as a creative

Daily Planning Essentials

  • Micro breaks
  • Time Blocking
  • Rewards
  • Social Media
  • Skill/Hobby Time

Optimise your daily planning with micro breaks

As a creative, we tend to get so passionate about our work and being so immersed in it that we often forget to take a break. This often results in feeling burned out by the end of the day because we sit down all day and stare at the computer screen for too long or even worse; we forget to take our lunch.
This thing can be avoided by taking micro breaks throughout your day. It means that for every 2 to 3 hours of working, you take about 10 to 20 minutes of breaks. You can use this time to step out of your workspace and make yourself a cup of coffee, going out for a walk, talking to someone or simply stretching your body. It helps you feeling refreshed and most of the times that’s when inspiration strikes the most.

Optimise your daily planning with Time Blocking

This is one of the most important parts when you are planning out your day. This is especially true if you get caught up and working with multiple projects all at once. Time blocking helps so much in avoiding distractions and actually getting things done. Basically what you need to do is schedule for uninterrupted time every day. You can then use this time to really focus on your work and project and this has actually helps me finishing my work a lot faster. I am becoming more and more productive just by time blocking and not wasting my time on social media.

Optimise your daily planning with Rewards

The idea is that you will have a checklist of everything that you absolutely have to do that day and if you manage to check off all of it, you are entitled to a reward. This reward is simply a motivation to get you to follow through with your plan. I am guilty of always planning out something and in the end not doing it and keep giving myself excuses after excuses. I find that after I implement the reward based system when planning out my day, I tend to follow through with my plan no matter what. The rewards does not have to be big or expensive, just the little things like binge watching your favourite show on Netflix or extra hour playing games. You get to choose your own reward and get excited about it. Once you make it a habit, you won’t need to reward yourself anymore but it’s actually a nice way to get yourself motivated to do something and I highly recommend you do this once in awhile.

Optimise your daily planning with Social Media

This is the exact reason why you should block your time on social media and only use it for your own advantage. You can do this by allowing yourself to spend a certain amount of times on it. My Social media schedule is 3 hours, 3 times a day. I’ll spend an hour on Facebook, an hour on Instagram and an hour on Twitter. I use this time to post contents and interact and engage with my followers and potential clients or customer.

The biggest struggle that I find when doing this is trying to stay disciplined and be consistent about it. I recommend staying away from your phone when working and use any social media block apps to help you from going on social media. I find that there are many benefits that I get by doing this. I am able to finish my work on time and I get more time to do things that I love and feel so confident about it. I absolutely recommend you to try blocking your time on social media and I’m sure you’ll be amazed at how productive you’ll become.

Optimise your daily planning with Skill/Hobby time

It is a good idea to allocate some time to practice your skill or do your hobby every day. As a creative we tend to spend so much of our time and energy doing work for others that we often forget or simply don’t have time to do the things that we love.

Allocating some time to do your hobby is a perfect way to wind down after hard at work. It makes you relax and can reduce your stress level. Furthermore it can really help you build a portfolio and make you better at what you love to do. Sounds like a win-win right? Even though you just do it for fun you are still going to feel amazing afterwards, trust me.

And there you have it folks! Hopefully you guys are digging my lengthy post and if you’re reading right through until the end then you’re awesome! I really hope that you will find this helpful and knowing how to plan an effective day as a creative, get things done and be more productive.

How to start planning your day as a creative

(or you can get it straight from Ira)

Guest Post by Ira


Ira is a creative mompreneur who is obsessed with the word organizing and design. She thrives on helping creativepreneur leads a happy and soulful life while running a rocking business. When she’s not working, you’ll find her dancing with her one year old daughter to the tune of Beyonce’s Run the World.

Say hello on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (and tell her Caylee says hi!) and be sure to sign up for the Boss Babe Mini Guide on her site.

My Paper Planner Setup

My Paper Planner Setup

I’ve been experimenting with paper planning and it’s all because of this bad boy.

My Paper Planner Setup - How I'm using my Filofax in June 2016

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not giving up my digital planning, with all of its todoist and Evernote beauty. But paper and a pen is certainly something that adds a whole extra layer of creativity to my plans.

My Paper Planner Setup - How I'm using my Filofax in June 2016 My Paper Planner Setup - How I'm using my Filofax in June 2016

I’m keeping it simple. Three sections. Goals. Year. Schedule.

My Paper Planner Setup - How I'm using my Filofax in June 2016 My Paper Planner Setup - How I'm using my Filofax in June 2016

The goals have my 2016 goals to keep my focus.

My Paper Planner Setup - How I'm using my Filofax in June 2016

Year includes a “handmade” calendar made with Paislee Press digital stamps.

My Paper Planner Setup - How I'm using my Filofax in June 2016 My Paper Planner Setup - How I'm using my Filofax in June 2016 My Paper Planner Setup - How I'm using my Filofax in June 2016

Schedule includes one page a day for my daily focus – my three most important tasks and anything else that comes up.

My Paper Planner Setup - How I'm using my Filofax in June 2016 My Paper Planner Setup - How I'm using my Filofax in June 2016 My Paper Planner Setup - How I'm using my Filofax in June 2016 My Paper Planner Setup - How I'm using my Filofax in June 2016

I’m enjoying seeing everything at a glance in the digital planning, and being able to draw, doodle, and explore plans beyond the screen.

Products: Filofax Personal (Butterflies)

My Fave Digital Photography Tools

My Fave Digital Photography Tools

When you have the right tools, it just makes things so much easier and less stressy. I’m in love with my digital photography tools for organisation, backup, and editing, and I’m excited to share them with you…

My Fave Digital Photography Tools

Photo Organisation Tools

Adobe Bridge CC


This free tool has amazing organisational functionality. It’s preferred over Adobe Lightroom, because Bridge is an organisational system first, while Lightroom is an image processor first, and organisational system second.

Backup Tools

Google Drive

15GB for free / 1TB for $9.99 per month

Google Drive is the ultimate option for backing up to the cloud. Play Music, Google Docs, and photos smaller than 2048x2048px (6×6” printed) do not count towards your limit (yay!).


2GB for free / 1TB for $9.99 per month

Dropbox is a good alternative to Google Drive. There is no advantage of one over the other except for how they “feel” and that one is developed by Google.

External Harddrive

about $60 for 1TB from Amazon

If you are not always online and/or would like a physical backup, harddrives are inexpensive and the right choice. While CDs and DVDs look really pretty, they are not stable over time.
photo editing

Photo Editing Tools

Adobe Photoshop CC

$9.99 per month with the Creative Cloud Photography plan

The ultimate in photo editing. Relatively steep learning curve, but there is so much free knowledge on the internet, and it’s totally worth it.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC

$9.99 per month with the Creative Cloud Photography plan

An “image management application database which helps in viewing, editing, and managing digital photos”.

Photoshop is for editing in great detail at pixel level (intermediate to advanced), and Lightroom is for editing high volumes of raw files (beginner level).

Read more about the difference



Incredibly intuitive basic photo editor. Also has a great design section with great templates for blog images, and eBook covers.



Online basic photo editor that allows you to edit and retouch photos, create collages, and create designs.

The Photo Organisation Toolkit - free PDF downlload

PS: you can download this in PDF form to print and read or stick up on your wall. 

I have been using one particular way of organising my digital (and physical!) photos since 2003. I’m not cocky about a lot of things but I am cocky about this system. It’s the best. Organising my photos in this way means that I don’t have anxiety over trying to find a certain photo, and it means that my scrap process is even smoother. For the past thirteen years, these have been my organising rules, and I cover these ten commandments in my new course, Photo Organisation 101.

The 10 Commandments of Digital Photo Organisation


1. thou shalt backup

Cats love knocking over computers and coffee is naturally drawn to a laptop keyboard. Your memories are important, and so you should treat them as such.

2. thou shalt not backup too much

There is no need to have five kinds of backup unless you are a wedding photographer. Back photos to the cloud where it’s their job to look after your data. Along with the photos being stored on your own computer, this is enough.

3. thou shalt minimise storage USAGE

Delete photo duplicates. Delete blurry photos. Delete nineteen out of twenty photos of your dog eating a slipper in which he has pretty much the exact same expression. Don’t keep photos that you will never look at with fondness again.

4. thou shalt keep all photos in one place

Keep photos from your Big Camera (DSLR), iPhone, GoPro, family photos, and scanned in images under one big Photos folder on your computer. Don’t have bits and pieces on eight different SD cards.

5. thou shalt be consistent

Use the same naming template for folders and photo files so that it’s easier to find something.

6. thou shalt have a hierarchy

Hierarchies are the key to a well-organised photo system.

7. thou shalt make it your own

Allow your photo organisation to fit your style.

8. thou shalt have a processing plan

Have a plan so that when something pops up, you have a list of objective “rules” for how to deal with it.

9. thou shalt schedule

Make it a priority to update your photo backup. It’s no good having a backup system without actually being backed up.

10. thou shalt streamline

Make it as easy as possible for yourself to stay organised so that you do, indeed, stay organised.

Photo Organisation 101

Photo Organisation 101 is now open!

On My Shelf – Productivity Books

On My Shelf – Productivity Books

I am a lifelong learner and I believe in personal growth. These books are great at helping me with this vision.

The 4-Hour Work Week – Tim Ferriss

On My Shelf - Productivity Books

Escape the 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich.

“The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?”


My thoughts: this was my first real productivity/business book and I fell in love with Tim in this.

Best bit: Tim’s writing voice

Implementation: he speaks about the silliness of living life for your retirement, and that we should be living the retired life now. Putting bits of our “one day” dreaming into our present.

More: http://fourhourworkweek.com/overview/ or podcast.

The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron

On My Shelf - Productivity Books

A spiritual path to higher creativity.

“Serious art is born from serious play.”


My thoughts: I’m not quite into the entirety of this book, but her talk about Morning Pages makes the rest of it worth a read.

Best bit: Morning Pages

Implementation: clearly the Morning Pages

More: http://juliacameronlive.com/the-artists-way/

Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

On My Shelf - Productivity Books

Creative Living Beyond Fear

“Creativity is a crushing chore and a glorious mystery. The work wants to be made and it wants to be made through you”


My thoughts: as someone who doesn’t like Eat Pray Love, I was very hesitant of this book. Elizabeth is a bit with the fairies in Big Magic, but I could totally look past it for the incredibly valuable lessons. There wasn’t one chapter that I finished without immediately creating. I first listened to her read out the audio book, and then I purchased a hard cover so that I could make notes on the pages.

Best bit: her focus on the fact that creativity is important.

Implementation: use as a creative pep talk

More: http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/

The Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor

On My Shelf - Productivity Books

The Seven Principles that Fuel Success and Performance at Work

“For me, happiness is the joy we feel striving after our potential.”


My thoughts: oh man. I’m someone who strives for happiness and enthusiasm because I know how easy it is to go the other way. Reading this book was such an affirmation that my values were on par for creating an objectively better person in business too.

Best bit: the fact that happiness makes you a more productive person

Implementation: seeing happiness as a tool

MoreTed Talk.

Flow – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

On My Shelf - Productivity Books

The Psychology of Optimal Experience

“It is not the skills we actually have that determine how we feel but the ones we think we have.”


My thoughts: I initially listened to the audio book and I honestly couldn’t finish the first chapter because of his accent. And so the real book was bought.

Best bit: pointers for getting to flow

Implementation: to get some flow in your creativity!

MoreTed Talk.

Getting Things Done – David Allen

On My Shelf - Productivity Books

The Art of Stress-Free Productivity 

“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”


My thoughts: this is the ultimate guide to a productive life. This is the Bible of productivity books.

Best bit: the idea that we shouldn’t keep things in our head

Implementation: everything, and everything going on in Level Up

More: http://gettingthingsdone.com/ http://lifehacker.com/productivity-101-a-primer-to-the-getting-things-done-1551880955

The Happiness of Pursuit – Chris Guillebeau

On My Shelf - Productivity Books

Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life

“A good plan allows for plenty of spontaneity and room for change – but without a plan at all, it’s difficult to work toward something significant over time.”


My thoughts: this started off lovelily, but I couldn’t finish it. I love the idea that we find purpose in a quest, but was less interested in his specifics of his own quest. I’m going to try finish it… just not today…

Best bit: the idea that the journey adds to the happiness, and not only the finished product, and the idea of creating a deliberate “quest”

Implementation: create happiness in your journey; create a quest if you’re looking for purpose or happiness

More: http://chrisguillebeau.com/

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin

On My Shelf - Productivity Books

Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”


My thoughts: didn’t finish this. It was really long.

Best bit: the quote above

Implementation: create a list of things that make you happy and do them.

More: http://gretchenrubin.com/


On My Shelf - Productivity Books

88 tech tricks to turbocharge your day


My thoughts: this was a really old book that I found with life hacks. I was excited about a book version of the site.

Best bit: there were some really nice hacks in there, although their website is more current

Implementation: the hacks

More: http://lifehacker.com/

Make it Happen – Lara Casey

On My Shelf - Productivity Books

Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose.

“Busy is the enemy of peace. Busy takes us away from our purpose. Busy is not truly productive in the big picture. Busy means life’s joys and surprises can’t find a way into our lives because we’re moving too fast to see and experience them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to move so fast that I miss my life.”


My thoughts: More of a biography. But it was nice to get some insight into Lara Casey. She’s lovely.

Best bit: her thoughts on being busy

Implementation: learn from Lara’s life lessons

More: http://laracasey.com/

The Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod

On My Shelf - Productivity Books

The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)

“Mediocrity has nothing to do with how you compare to other people; it’s simply a result of not making the commitment to continuously learn, grow, and improve yourself.”


My thoughts: A M A Z I N G. I love the idea that we should work on ourselves a little bit every day, and I fully agree that mornings are the time to do this.

Best bit: his 6 steps are so simple and obvious, but putting them together is like WOAH. Also, the quote above.

Implementation: implement the miracle morning! Hal has it on his website so there’s nothing stopping you.

More: http://halelrod.com/6-minute-miracle-morning/

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R Covey

On My Shelf - Productivity Books

Powerful lessons in personal change.

“But until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise.”


My thoughts: This is such a classic, and still powerful today.

Best bit: the idea that we make choices to be a good (effective) person

Implementation: implement the Seven Habits in your own life

More: Many YouTube videos summarising it.

Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell


The Story of Success

“Those three things – autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward – are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.”


My thoughts: I have a Bachelors in economics and marketing, so this book totally appeals to that side of me. This books marries the two better than I ever could have.

Best bit: the crazy stories

Implementation: look for the outlier.

More: http://gladwell.com

The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell

On My Shelf - Productivity Books

How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

“The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”


My thoughts: I love Mr. Gladwell

Best bit: the way he writes

Implementation: look for the tipping point.

More: http://gladwell.com

The War of Art – Steven Pressfield

On My Shelf - Productivity Books

Break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles.

“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”


My thoughts: gets weird at the end.

Best bit: everything except the end.

Implementation: use as a creative pep talk

MoreSummary, excerpt, and reviews.

On My Bookshelf - My Favourite Productivity and Creativity Books