10 Ideas For The Interested This Week

A lion’s work hours are only when he’s hungry.” — Chuck Jones

When animator Chuck Jones created the Road Runner cartoon, he and his writers began with a set of nine simple rules.

These rules — which included things like making gravity the coyote’s worst enemy whenever possible and no dialogue other than “Beep beep!” — didn’t limit the writers’ creativity, it inspired it.

That’s because while we often want creative freedom, what we need are creative constraints.

Now, on to this week’s ideas…

1. FIVE THINGS YOU CAN LEARN ABOUT THE CREATIVE PROCESS FROM RICK RUBIN

“It’s a frustrating job in many respects because it’s like fishing — you can go out fishing, but you can’t say ‘I’m going to catch three fish today.’ We have very little control over this process. It’s magic.”

Legendary music producer Rick Rubin has helped artists ranging from Run DMC to Johnny Cash create some of their best work, so he knows what it takes to do so.

In this post I share five things you can learn about the creative process from Rick Rubin including you have to believe you can create your best work in order to do so, to recognize your way may not be the best way, and to pursue what moves YOU.

2. THE FIVE MOST COMMON REGRETS OF THE DYING

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.”

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent years caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives and has written a book about the experience.

The Guardian shares what she calls the top five regrets of the dying.

They include that many people wish they had lived a life true to themselves instead of the life others expected of them, many wish they hadn’t worked so hard, and many wish they had the courage to express their feelings.

3. HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR RESUME JOB DESCRIPTIONS

“Think about all the things you do that ultimately save your company money, whether it’s streamlining a procedure, saving time, or negotiating discounts with vendors. Multiply those actions by how frequently you do them, and pop them into your resume bullets.”

One of the easiest ways to improve your resume is to include specific numbers and data to show the results of your work as opposed to just including generic job descriptions.

The Muse shares three ways to quantify your work experience on your resume even if your job doesn’t lend itself to obvious statistics including to estimate ranges, include the frequency of tasks, and provide a sense of scale.

4. THREE QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF EACH NIGHT TO MAKE YOUR NEXT DAY MORE PRODUCTIVE

“Asking this question regularly allows me to begin to recognize patterns that I may not have seen before and new ones that may be establishing themselves in my life.”

Sometimes the simplest life hacks are the most effective.

Jeff Bogaczyk shares a five-minute productivity routine that consists of simply asking himself three questions each night.

The questions include, “What did I do well today?,” “What did I screw up today?,” and “What are the top three things I want to do tomorrow?”

5. THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO GROWING YOUR AUDIENCE

“Don’t believe the myth that things magically go ‘viral.’ To grow an audience you have to be strategic about how to get your work seen.”

I’ve spent 20+ years building audiences for a wide variety of projects and decided it’s time to put what I’ve learned into a single post.

The result is this ultimate guide to growing your audience which includes a breakdown of the six key elements of an audience growth strategy, the most common audience growth mistakes, and a collection of recommended articles and books about audience growth if you want to take a deeper dive.

6. THE “BURNER LIST” WILL BE YOUR NEW FAVORITE TO-DO LIST FORMAT

“The Burner List is not perfect. It won’t keep track of every detail, or help you juggle a million projects. But that’s exactly the point. The Burner List is intentionally limited — and therefore focused.”

There are a million different To-Do List techniques out there, but this one from author Jake Knapp is worth checking out.

He calls it a Burner List, and it consists of a two column layout designed to force you to prioritize a single project and limit the distractions of things that are less important to your success.

And if you don’t love this approach, you can always give my Done List technique a try.

7. HOW SOCIAL MEDIA ALGORITHMS AFFECT WHAT YOU SEE

“If we spend more time talking about social media internally than we do talking to our customers on social media, something’s wrong.”

Don’t worry — this isn’t a super technical piece explaining the data science behind social media algorithms. It’s quite the opposite.

Jeff Elder uses the analogy of what it’s like to date different people to explain how social media algorithms determine what you see on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

He points out that Facebook doesn’t rank what it shows you (it ranks who shows it to you), and that on LinkedIn your connections are different from who you follow.

8. WHY 2017 IS THE BEST (AND THE WORST)

“It’s the greatest time to be alive and simultaneously the worst. No one can be bored anymore, the history of entertainment is at your fingertips and you can communicate with everybody you’ve ever known instantly. But you’re lacking meaning in life, while charlatans tell you they have the answer, whether it be the religious right or the bogus left.”

If you don’t subscribe to Bob Lefsetz’s newsletter, you should.

His observations about everything from music, to culture, to life are as insightful as they are entertaining — I can’t recommend it highly enough.

This post about why 2017 is the best and the worst is a nice overview of how Bob Lefsetz is wrapping his head around what’s happened this year. As with most things these days, it sparks more questions than answers.

9. HOW TO GET MORE VALUE OUT OF THE CONTENT YOU CONSUME

“To clarify and strengthen your content consumption strategy, make a list of your subscriptions with brief notes about the value you get from each. If one consistently doesn’t meet your expectations, determine if you get different benefits from that publication or if it’s time to give it up.”

I love that you subscribe to For The Interested, but if you’re not getting value out of it, you should probably unsubscribe.

Copyblogger explains how to get more value out of the content you consume and suggests you recognize high quality content consumption is intentional, unsubscribe from content you ignore, and let go of content you disagree with.

10. THE CODDLING OF THE AMERICAN MIND

“Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense.”

College ain’t what it used to be.

The Atlantic explores why college students are demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like and the dangers associated with this development.

This includes the role social media plays in flipping the power structure (professors and administration now find themselves afraid of their own students) and that it flies in the face of basic psychology which suggests it’s dangerous for people with anxiety to avoid things they fear.