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I just launched my first book, Productivity Is For Robots, and would love for all my Medium friends to check it out!

Here is the official Amazon description:

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed or discouraged by what it means to be “productive” in the new world, Productivity Is For Robots provides a roadmap for unlearning the “hustle and grind dogma” that leads to stress and burnout. Filled with lessons from history’s greatest artists, entrepreneurs, and visionaries, the book weaves together stories to show readers how to reach new levels of human connection, creativity, and flow.

From Ernest Hemingway to James Cameron, Theodore Roosevelt to Salvador Dali, J.K. Rowling to Steve Martin, the book explores how dozens of creators have produced meaningful work — not by being robotic in work ethic, but by embracing the tools of human nature. With chapters on developing intuition, cultivating self-awareness, and tapping into creative flow — Productivity Is For Robots is a call to reclaim what it means to be human in the new world.


Zen chores and falling leaves

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We weren’t sure what caused them to fall so fast and frequently. They weren’t dead. It wasn’t fall. But every night, long after dusk and far before dawn, the ficus tree dropped hundreds of green leaves onto the deck. They spread over the patio table and chairs. They stretched the length of the deck in all directions, catching between the wooden boards and piling in every corner.

Each morning they’d greet, and each morning I’d sweep.

I’d hear their rustling over my own in bed at night. “That wasn’t the wind. That was a hand shaking the tree like a tambourine.” If we had been in Bali, I’d blame the monkeys. …


And a new system for reading without guilt

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Every year I write a post-year write-up of my favorite books and tell myself it’s going to be the last time.

One reason: these lists are everywhere. Even Barak Obama shares his every December. Most people don’t read more than a few books a year. And those who read more tend to have their own list they are trying to get to. This is why it’s such an honor when someone takes the time to read my book.

I’m also suspicious of the idea that writers are the best people to recommend books to non-writers. Writers are impressed by different aspects of books. While you might be measuring the cabinets to see if your plates and bowls will fit, we’ll be busy admiring the woodwork, wondering how the carpenter got the edges so smooth. …


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Photo by Danny Howe on Unsplash

It feels strange to say. I almost feel guilty saying it. And I understand that not everyone will join me in unison to say it as well. But it needs to be said:

2020 was a great year.

Before you call me insensitive or out of touch, I want to acknowledge the obvious horrors of the last twelve months. The pandemic has taken 1.8 million lives worldwide. We went through a dumpster-fire election that proved how divided we are as a country. There’s massive unemployment, homelessness, and a growing gap between the haves and have nots. …


Ride the roller coaster.

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“A non-writing writer is a monster courting madness.” -Franz Kafka

It’s the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and Darren Aronofksy is on stage interviewing fellow filmmaker, Clint Eastwood. He tells him, “You make it seem so easy — and for me filmmaking is pain. I’m in pain the whole time. I’m in pain writing. I’m in pain shooting, and I’m in pain editing, and I just — how do you do it?”

Eastwood lets Aronofsky’s question hang in the air before answering with his slow, signature draw, “Well, if it was that painful, I would consider myself somewhat of a masochist.”

Everyone has their own sliding scale of pain and pleasure when it comes to making things, but the act of turning inspiration into action is rarely luxurious. The on-demand dopamine machines in our pockets don’t make it any easier. We can get a little high off other people’s work anytime. …


How to increase income and freedom through accountability

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If you’re a Freelancer who wants to increase income, independence, and security (the Freelancer Trifecta), then the last thing you want to do is increase “productivity.” You want to increase accountability.

Being paid based on the hours you work is the slow and certain death of the Freelancer. And no amount of “optimizing your time” will help you escape this death unless you can create more accountability between yourself and your clients.

The problem is that most people are drawn to Freelance because it promises independence. Work from anywhere! Be your own boss! Because of this, many freelancers hear the word, “accountability” and think, “more work, more responsibility.” But this thinking is one of the great fallacies of Freelance. …


How to start 2021 with connection and purpose

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It was two years ago when I turned a slow-paced marathon toward mental and emotional burnout into a full-blown sprint. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. Those around me certainly did. But by the time I realized how far off the path I’d strayed, it was too late to turn around.

Between working full time, planning a wedding, and trying to write my first book, I was spread thin. And while I probably could have managed everything in my life with better systems and more “work/life balance,” the problem wasn’t in how much I was trying to do.

The problem was that no matter what I did, I remained driven by an insidious feeling that I was never doing enough.


Because without purpose, what good is productivity?

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Photo by Tom Swinnen from Pexels

The celebrated psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Vikor Frankl is best known for his perennial masterpiece, Man’s Search For Meaning. But Frankl had been obsessed with the question, “What is the meaning of life?” long before he was sent to the concentration camps. He studied psychology and philosophy in his youth and even gave a speech titled On the Meaning of Life, while he was in high school. In college, he was disturbed by the spike in suicides among students when final grades were reported. …


The hidden key to connection, creativity, and flow

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The author and journalist, Florence Williams is zig-zagging through a patch of prickly pear cacti toward the San Juan River. Walls of hematite rock and soft bluffs of red soil line the river bank. She steps carefully and spots a grassy opening where she can sit and watch the water flow by. It’s been days since she’s looked at her phone or computer screen and — besides the 12 electrodes strapped to her head analyzing her brain waves — she is completely at one with nature.

Williams is a participant in an outdoor study trip led by cognitive psychologist, David Strayer. He’s attempting to answer the question: “What happens to our brain when we’re in nature?” With one control group sitting in a parking lot, and another at the river’s edge, the portal EEG device will analyze everyone’s brain waves. The data will show Strayer and his team how the prefrontal cortex — the brain’s command center — is affected by the different environments. …


There are two types of games in life. Here’s how to win them both.

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I was getting a haircut last week and my stylist was complaining about the dating scene. “I blame the apps. There are too many people, too many options. When you can set dates up with 12 people at once, no one cares about a single date.”

Apps like Tinder and Hinge have turned dating into an endless buffet line. And have you ever watched people eat at a buffet? They don’t care about the food in front of them. The fork is in their mouth but their mind is already on that second plate. They plan on collecting a diverse set of flavors while still saving room for some soft-serve vanilla. Ask anyone. …

About

Corey McComb

Author of ‘Productivity Is For Robots’ https://amzn.to/3 | Writing about freelance work, creativity, and human connection | https://bit.ly/corey-mccomb

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