Latest Posts

Home Articles

When You Don’t Care

Inevitably, there will be some projects in your create-on-demand role that you will be – let’s just say – “less than passionate” about. In fact, there will be some things you’re required to do that seem downright ridiculous and generally like a waste of...

The Long Arc (Things I Learned While Writing A Book)

I think I’ve mentioned a few (dozen, hundred?) times over the past several months that I’ve been holed up working on an AC book. I’ve had many “long arc” projects in my life, but writing the book has been unique on a lot of fronts, and I’ve learned a ton. […]

Must-Read: The Art of Non-Conformity

From the very first chapter, Chris Guillebeau is clear about the fact that he subscribes to a “guru-free” philosophy, and that’s exactly what makes his book The Art of Non-Conformity [amazon link] so effective and endearing. Chris is not hovering...

How Much Noise Is In Your Life?

In sound recording there is something known as the “noise floor”. This is the amount of constant ambient noise in the recording environment or that results as a function of the method of recording. The goal for any recording engineer is to maximize the amount of signal recorded in comparison to the amount of noise. The more noise is present, the more difficult it is to discern the signal, or the subject of the recording […]

Permanent Solutions To Temporary Problems

It can be very uncomfortable for us when there are open loops, or problems inhibiting productivity. We grow so uncomfortable, in fact, that we often will do nearly anything to resolve the dissonance these problems introduce, which usually means inventing some new system or developing a process to deal with them. But not all problems are equal. Some problems are temporary in nature, and we’re ultimately left with the permanent systems even after the problem is long gone.

Gaining Traction

My family just returned from a week-long vacation on Lake Erie. It was good to rest and get away from the fray, though anyone with small children will agree that vacations often feel more like packing up your life and moving it to a less convenient place. Still, the...

Obligation vs. Opportunity

Think about how you’ve spent your last 24 hours. How much time did you spend on building something rather than on maintaining something that already existed? Most of us spend the majority of our lives in maintenance mode, whether it’s professionally or...

What Do You Want To Be Known For?

In a podcast interview with Kristian Andersen (to be released on Monday) he said something that caught me off-guard and caused me to think about my day-to-day work. The gist of his comment was that we need to decide what what we want to be known for, and then get working on it. In other words, we need to make sure that our daily activities line up with where we want to be headed.

Meeting Creep

I was having a chat the other day with a peer about the struggles we each have with “meeting creep”. This is a medically diagnosable condition with the primary symptom being the inexplicable expansion of meetings into every crevice and corner of your schedule.

When You Must Be Profound

When we feel that we must be profound, we artificially elevate the stakes and the perceived consequences of not being profound. The unfortunate result is that we do mediocre work because we’re so fixated on the end result that we neglect the process.

On Becoming A Linchpin

We’re very excited about our recent interview with Seth Godin about his book Linchpin [amazon link]. There are few people who consistently bring the kind of energy and insight that Seth routinely delivers as a matter of course. I think that this book is destined to be considered one of his best, and it was a privilege to hear his perspective on it on the podcast.

First Flight

As I was working on the AC book this morning, I was reminded of this quote from Orbiting The Giant Hairball by Gordon Mackenzie [amazon link]: Orville Wright did not have a pilot’s license. What are you waiting for permission to do in your life, work and...

Do The Work

Lately I’ve given myself a new mantra. It was largely driven by my reading of Linchpin. When I’m reviewing my day, often while lying in bed at night, the question I ask myself is, “Did I do the work today?”Not “did I get a bunch of stuff...

Closing Doors

I don’t like to say “no.” I think it’s partly because I tend to gravitate toward possibility rather than pragmatics. But that tendency to always look for new solutions has at times significantly hamstrung my creative process and has, in the past, seriously affected my...

Start In The Middle

The biggest challenge in making something – anything – is getting started. It’s typically not that we’re lazy. Rather, it’s that the funnel is so wide open that there are too many options before us. There are too many places we could go. We’re afraid of...

7 Word Bio

Can you summarize what you do in just seven words? It can be an effective way of gaining focus in life and work.

AC #153: Manifesto 4

If you are not growing you are dying. In this AC podcast we take a look at #4 on the AC Manifesto, “we are committed to growth.” Are you developing disciplines in your life to help you grow in your creating?

Using Project Notebooks To Set Rails

As someone who has more ideas, prompts and mental “huh’s” than I know what to do with, one of the struggles I’ve had over time is how to focus my thinking on a project so that I can get all of my ideas out and into useful form. I’m currently working on an idea capture/organization system (more on this in a few months…) that better serves my needs, but for now the main way I give “rails” to my creative thinking time is through the use of “project notebooks.”