Todd Henry (@ToddHenry) is an author, speaker, workshop leader, and creative consultant who has written two books on practices observed in successful creative professionals, and tactics for being prolific, brilliant, and healthy. He regularly speaks and consults with companies about how to develop practices and systems for success. In addition, he’s been writing and podcasting since 2005 on his website, Accidental Creative.

Read more about Todd on his personal site.

For this particular discussion, we were slightly pressed for time, so to augment our chat, above is a video of Todd speaking at Creative Mornings in Cincinnati in November 2013.

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Show Notes & Links

“We battle against uncertainty everyday.”

—Todd Henry

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“You can navigate to where you want to be from wherever you are.”

—Todd Henry

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  • Purpose Paralysis — being halted by the search for The Thing
  • Rugby is a game of inches. Keep the ball; move forward one inch.
  • Writing a book is simple, but it isn’t easy. Same with running a marathon.
  • Focus is how you define the edges of your work.
  • Relationships help you see the world through different lenses.
  • Energy needs management; not just time.
  • Stimuli are things that inform your creative process.
  • Hours are the currency of productivity.
  • Don’t make friends, _launch _friends.
  • Your job is to make your boss’s job easier. Be resourceful.
  • Todd’s rhythms change throughout the year with his children, or with his speaking calendar. By season, essentially.

“The seeds of tomorrow's brilliance are planted in the soil of today's activity.”

—Todd Henry

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  • Todd’s next book will be released summer 2015

Techniques

  • Break down large, difficult tasks into smaller bits. e.g. “Take one pill.”
  • Look for milestones on which to build motivation. Don’t start over every time.
  • Establish problem statements for each challenge or project. Your mind is wired to solve problems, not broad concepts.
  • Distill problems into The Big Three. The largest open loops in your life. Write those down so your mind can dwell on them.
  • Avoid relationships of convenience or obligation. Instead, build a circle of trusted people to discuss inspiration, challenges.
  • Develop a study plan which you can stick to.
  • Work on unneccesary creating.
  • Wake up early to chat with your circle.
  • Look out for unclear definitions of work.
  • Look out for unintentional stimuli (CNN, YouTube)
  • Do not check your email in the middle of the night out of fear-of-being-out-of-the-loop. That’s just absurd.
  • Let your rhythms serve you, not the other way around

Habits

  • Embrace the ebb and flow of productive seasons.
  • Work on being F.R.E.S.H. (Focus, Relationships, Energy, Stimuli, Hours)
  • Speak to your circle regularly
  • Prune your obligations to preserve energy.
  • Evaluate which tasks are effective, not just efficient
  • Create habits of design, not default. Avoid the need for approval of others; listen to our own internal compass.
  • Be ruthless about your time and energy; don’t let people chip away at your best hours.

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About the author: Prescott Perez-Fox

Prescott Perez-Fox is a graphic designer, brand developer, and educator with 18+ years experience in branding, packaging, graphic design, and web design. He runs The Busy Creator.

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