Creative types are unique in that their best asset–their creativity–can also be their biggest burden. It’s so easy to get sidetracked by bright, shiny objects or to let your inbox turn into a time-suck. The good news: I get you.
Every day, I speak or work with creative people who are out to finish the stuff that matters. What I’ve learned in the decades I’ve been at it is that the more capable you are, the better you have to be at prioritizing, decision-making, planning, and expectations-managing. Overcommitment and overreaching lead to overwhelm and demotivation.
To give you an easy place to start finishing what matters most to you, I’ve curated the best resources I’ve created over the years. Follow your curiosity and take your time. (Some categories have their own pages, too.)
If you like what you see, your best bet is to subscribe to get weekly content updates and access to the library so you don’t miss what we’re in the process of creating while you’re reading this.
Productivity and Time Management
Use the Two-Hour Rule to Make Progress on Your Creative Projects
Two hours is the sweet spot for productivity. When you use the two-hour rule to chunk your projects down into doable parts, progress flows more smoothly.
Why You Really Don’t Have a Time Management Problem
You have no control over time, but you can take control of your priorities. Use these 5 questions to help manage your priorities.
Effectiveness Is All About Managing Your Time, Energy, and Attention
Avoid thinking solely about time management and think about effectiveness. That means managing your time, energy, and attention.
How Heat Mapping Your Productivity Can Make You More Productive
Get more done in less time by heat mapping your productivity. By taking advantage of your natural rhythms, you can maximize your productivity every day.
The Engagement Threshold: The Key to Consistent Creativity and Productivity
The key to consistent creativity and productivity lies in identifying your engagement threshold.
Digital Productivity (Email Management, Social Media)
Stop Checking Email. Process It Instead.
If you’re in the habit of checking email without processing it, you end up spending some of the most valuable hours of your day in the Loop. By learning how to process your email effectively, you save on mental RAM and have more time to focus on what matters.
Why Working From Your Email Inbox Doesn’t Work
Using your inbox as a To-Do list will only make you fall further behind, feel overwhelmed, and lose sight of priorities. Here are two simple alternatives for better email management.
No Productivity System Can Override Your Choices
No productivity system can make you do what you don’t want to do, because they only support choices — they don’t make them for you.
Turn the Instant Off
The very tools that make us more productive often make us less effective and less focused. “Turn the instant off” isn’t just about turning the tech off, but about turning off the expectation that you’re mentally able to be everywhere, all the time.
Creativity & Flow
The 4 Steps of the Creative Process
Mystified by the creative process? Once you understand its four distinct phases, you can debug your process.
A User’s Guide to Creative Tension
Learn how to use creative tension to increase your creativity and productivity.
5 Ways to Get Through the Creative Red Zone
The creative red zone is that last little bit that needs to be finished before you complete a project. Read this if your creative projects are stuck.
How to Be Creative and Productive in Every Stage of a Project
Projects have life cycles, and knowing how to be creative and productive in every stage of the life cycle helps you keep the ball rolling.
Success Often Comes When You’re Not Searching for It
Stop searching for success and focus on the actions that will get you there instead.
Getting Projects Done
Who’s the Project Owner?
Projects don’t finish themselves — people finish projects. Assign project owners to make sure your collaborative projects get done.
Why You Shouldn’t Do “Just One More Project”
We often do “just one more project” at the cost of the projects that matter most. Here’s why you shouldn’t.
Just Get It Done
There comes a time in the midst of your busy life and business when you just have to knuckle down and plow through some of the projects on your plate.
A Frog A Day Keeps Your Anchors Aweigh
It’s a lot easier to avoid the increasing dread-to-work ratio by catching frogs as they come up. A frog a day? Dread-to-Work Ratio? Read on to find out more.
The Benefits of Displacement
Anything you do displaces something else you could have done. The constraints of displacement help you prioritize.
Inspiration and Success Mindset
Prove Your Yaysayers Right
We all tend to have a negativity bias when it comes to criticism. One naysayer seems louder than a stadium of yaysayers. Who are YOU going to focus on?
So Much More Than Damaged Goods
You might think you have nothing to offer anyone because you’re damaged goods. But you actually possess something of extraordinary value. Here’s why.
Shake It, Don’t Break It: The World Outside Your Comfort Zone
When it’s time to change our world, we need to shake things up by stepping out of our comfort zones, especially when we have other people on the journey with us.
What makes people great is not some innate capacity, but the fact that they choose to stand up. So… stand up.
How to Recover from the 10 Types of Demotivation
Knowing and understanding the ten types of demotivation and how to recover from them can keep you creative, productive, and happy.
Perfectionism Keeps You from Being Safe
The fear that we’re not good enough leads to perfectionist habits that keep us from being safe. Our real safety is found in being prolific.
Failure Is Like Prom Night
Failure is like prom night in that we make a big deal over it only for it to be a stored-away memory a few years later.
21 Ways to Quickly Short-Circuit a Funk
We all occasionally find ourselves in a funk. This post provides 21 ways to short-circuit that funk so you can get on with your day.
A Different Past Would’ve Changed You – So What?
A different past would’ve changed you, but who says it would’ve changed you for the better? And does that actually matter?
The 3 Key Ideas from Aristotle That Will Help You Flourish
What leads people to flourish? Aristotle pondered this question millennia ago and provided three key insights that will help you flourish, too.
12 Simple Ways to Be Present
Learning to be present cures a lot of ills and prevents them from happening in the first place. Here are 12 simple ways to be present — some are even fun!
Straight to Happy
What can you do to go straight to happy? Thinking about the difference between intrinsic value and instrumental value is key.
Empty Your Own Boat to Increase Your Happiness
What’s weighing your happiness down? Empty your boat to find more happiness in life — a philosophical take on interference and non-interference.
The World Will Always Begin At Your Feet
The question to ask is not “What will I be able to do once I’m there?” It is “What am I able to do from here?” The world will always begin at your feet.
Ebooks, Webinars, and Resources Available in the Library
Start Finishing Action Guide
Are you ready to take action on that next great idea? The Start Finishing Action Guide is a workbook that will help you go from “idea” to “done.”
Great Connections Lead to Great Ideas
Wondering how you can come up with better ideas? Check out this ebook to see that great ideas may come from places you don’t expect.
Living the Good Life
A compilation of some of the best posts from the early years of Productive Flourishing. Check it out for some inspiration and motivation.
Making Plans That Work
The secret to doing your best work is mastering mid-term planning. Michael Bungay Stanier and I discuss how to master the middle and make plans that actually work.
Creating Things That Matter
What does it take to create something that really matters to you? Srinivas Rao interviews me on the Unmistakable Creative podcast and we have an amazing jam on this topic.
Email Triage is a process for sorting through your inbox and determining what needs to be deleted, what needs to be archived, and finally, what needs your attention.
The Momentum Planners Bundle is a ready-to-go bundle of our popular planners for creatives, entreprenuers, and changemakers. It includes planners for the rest of 2016 and all of 2017, as well as exclusive planners, prompts, and how-tos.
I downloaded a few free planners two years ago, and bought his annual planner system last year for the first time. I found it to be very useful in my own work of helping CEOs develop investor pitches. The kicker with Charlie’s first-rate thinking is that he is readily accessible via webinars, emails, and Twitter if and when you need help. He has carved out a market niche for ways of getting projects done that is very impressive. I’ll be an early and eager buyer of his forthcoming book! – Doug Hedlund, Double-Team Business Plans