Workflow goes beyond productivity or just getting through your to-do list. How do you shape your hours and days like clay for more meaning, creativity, and wonder?

5 Stages of Confidence in Writing a Book

Tracking Wonder - Confidence Curve

A funny thing happens to a writer’s level of confidence in writing a book. It shoots up and down seemingly as erratically as weather.

Part of what makes confidence so unreliable is what we base confidence on. We try to base confidence on nebulous emotions such as passion and a blind belief in our own abilities & authenticity and bull-headed willpower.

If I just believe in myself, I can write this stellar book. Just gotta believe! Just gotta write, write, write. Practice, practice, practice.

What if your confidence in building your book could be grounded on something solid, authentic, and heart-opening at the same time? Read more

Basecamp Templates: A Delightful Time-Saver

Image: Unsplash

Image: Unsplash

Guest Post by Erin Haworth, Tracking Wonder’s Systems Shark

The Remote Team’s Time Challenges

I’m fortunate to be Tracking Wonder’s operations manager and overseer of a dynamo team of remote contractors. It’s common for three or four team members to be working on one client’s brand story, strategy, website and online assets at any given time.

Projects like these require lots of coordination and lots of collaboration. But that’s not a simple task considering our team doesn’t work from a single brick-and-mortar studio. We need an entire team to operate on the same page even though we span 4 time zones, 6 states, and 2 countries.

Our projects also require we be responsive to each other and to our clients in a timely fashion. Again, not easy. But that’s what I do at Tracking Wonder – I track problems until I find a viable solution. Read more

Stop trying to make time. Enter into relationship with time.

pexels-photo-28462

Guest Post by Marisa Goudy, Copywriter and Storytelling Coach

“Creating in the midst of chaos is your superpower.”

When someone first said this to me, I took it as a compliment. I’m a mother, a business owner, and a creative. Chaos seems inevitable. It’s better to embrace the mad swirl of the full catastrophe than it is to resign yourself to a narrow, boring existence, right?

I’m not so sure any more. I’m not so sure all this chaos is as effective or enticing as it used to be.

WHEN CREATIVE CHAOS JUST BECOMES… CHAOS

Not so long ago, everything from entrepreneurship to parenthood seemed like an exciting, all-encompassing experiment. Each day dawned with new challenges and rewards. It seemed like a fool’s errand to try to limit such creative possibility with something as pedestrian as time management strategies.

Inevitably, layers of complexity forced me to shape those uncharted days into more structured routines. A second daughter, the elementary school calendar, the needs of an evolved business partnership, the tug of a novel, the launch of a podcast… Winging it stopped feeling “open-minded.” It began to feel amateurish and unsustainable.

But that addiction to chaos is tough to kick. It’s still tempting to go with the flow and wrest order from chaos by strength of will alone. They don’t pass out super powers every day, after all. If making it happen in the midst of a daily fire storm looks so impressive, why quit? Read more

12 Riffs to Help Boost Creativity & Shape Time

Boost Creativity Shape Time

I know that finding time to do the stuff you’re most passionate about is hard.

In these times, it’s hard to ignore the shifting cultural causes that call you to act.

As creative thinkers conventional planners and time management systems don’t cut it. Neither do random sticky notes plastered on your computer.

In light of this fact, I created a productivity tool and time management system designed for professionals, thought leaders, business owners, and creatives called the Mind Rooms Guide. It’s been developed based on the psychology of creative thinking and productivity.

Here are some thoughts on how to boost creativity and Shape Time to Act.

1. REMEMBER THE DEAD LINE.

In 1944, Miklos Radnoti knew the Nazis would shoot him and the other Jews marching across Hungary any day, any hour. When his wife later had his body exhumed from a mass grave, they would find a notebook of poems tucked in his field jacket’s pocket. Somehow, he stealthed out a pen, the sound of gunfire rattling like bones, and wrote a series of poems.

Radnoti’s persistence is a haunting reminder of my mortality, of this odyssey’s limited time.

The pressure of time, the fact of mortality, the real dead line, compels me to create, and to create with awareness and intention.

2. TANGO WITH TIME.

All of us creatives tango with time. Most creatives cannot wait until their kids go off to college or until retirement or until divorce or until they quit a job to begin their real work. Gratified creatives with packed lives create before the family gets up or in “pockets of time” – on the subway or in the forty-eight minutes between when their children have fallen asleep and before they themselves fall asleep.

One way or another, we’d be wise to make peace with time, stop fighting it, and avoid bemoaning its scarcity. There’s plenty of time to be had, it turns out, and if we can’t change the way chronological time works, then we can change the way we work with it.

Instead of managing time like some begrudged worker, we can shape it. Think of yourself as a potter more than a manager.

To show up and shape time as a creative has less to do with calendars and more to do with loving the mind. And the body.

Creativity is not about waiting for the muse – despite Elizabeth Gilbert’s charming spin on the Greek muse.

Creativity is about showing up and shaping time for the muse. Read more

How to Stop Fighting Time

dude at desk

We business artists are blessed and cursed with a generative mind – the ability to come up with lots of ideas.

You may be feeling the effect of shifting cultural causes calling you to act. How do you find the time in an already profoundly packed schedule for your deep creative work?

Sunni Brown, named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, nailed the problem this way: “Discerning which opportunities to pursue has been a bogeyman in my creative work for years. I just couldn’t settle on the criteria for choosing.”

Read more

How to Take Breaks That Improve Creativity & Productivity

tracking wonder relax for productivity

Finding time to do your most creative work is hard.

An optimal work-and-create flow is an extended period of time in which your mind and body are performing at their best when engaged in high-thinking and high-imagining tasks and projects. You sustain focus, your body’s fire stays stoked, your attitude flourishes, your imagination hangs from the monkey bars.

It’s pretty typical to get overwhelmed by obligations and tasks that don’t leave much time for the projects that light us up.

In light of today’s cultural causes, now more than ever you may be feeling called to act.

But most of us know that pulling all-nighters and pumping our bodies with caffeine does not an optimal work-and-create flow make. Read more

Brand/Innovation Digest – January 2017

world-globe

Research assistance from TW Team research assistant Gianna Kaloyeros.

Periodically Tracking Wonder’s research assistant Gianna Kaloyeros and I will curate some of what we deem the most relevant studies, stories, and news that will help you and your team excel at having the most impact and influence via branding, storytelling, and innovation.
– Jeffrey, Chief Tracker at Tracking Wonder

 

Connecting with People and Branding Comes Naturally

from The Times of India
In a media landscape of inauthentic messages, authentic branding will always rise above the noise, says Shubham Nagdeve. “Branding comes automatically when you connect with people,” Naresh Jakhotia reminds The Times of India. It’s through connection that a brand earns trust and defines its meaning. Small and large brands alike can benefit from genuinely connecting with clients to contribute value. Read more

Can’t Find a Female Mentor? Create a Circle.

Courtesy Britt Bravo

Courtesy Britt Bravo

Guest Post by Britt Bravo, Premium Consultant at Tracking Wonder

Note: Britt Bravo helps our clients shape their ideas into story-based brands and broadcast their message to the right audiences. Her local paper named her the “best podcaster and blogger most dedicated to social change.” She’s also mentoring a few people in our ArtMark™ Brand Story & Strategy program. I’m thrilled to have her on board the team and serving the TW Community. Find out more here: ArtMark™. – Jeffrey

I’ve never had a mentor to guide me on my career path. If you’re a woman, and haven’t had a mentor either, you’re not alone. According to a 2011 LinkedIn survey of almost 1,000 female professionals in the U.S., nearly one in five women have never had a mentor.

It’s not surprising to me that so many women haven’t been mentored. Few role models exist in American culture of women having mentors, and even fewer of women being mentors. Neo has Morpheus in The Matrix, Daniel has Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid, and Luke has Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, but few heroines in American culture are depicted having mentors, especially female ones. Read more

To Envision Your Best New Year, First Focus on the Inner You

new year inner-you-mountain-quest

Alison had published three books, delivered a talk at a renowned conference, and advanced her distinct brand enough to garner gigs around the world.

So, what was the problem?

“I’ve kind of run this thing to its end.  I’m ready for what’s next, but I don’t know what that is. And whenever I get an inkling, it seems radically different from what I’m known for.” She wanted to start off her new year with a whole new “thing.”

She wanted to Break Brand.

And sometimes, most times, that’s fine and necessary. But this kind of situation raises profound doubt. The kind of doubt the Alisons of the world experience has a different hue than the kind of doubt, say, of someone just starting out with his first venture ever. Alison’s kind of doubt comes post-success, post-mastery. She’s already accomplished in one field. So, for her to arrive again at uncertainty makes her think she’s a failure or a fool for surrendering success in that one proven arena. To become an uncertain apprentice again who must ask for guidance feels, to the accomplished professional or creative, kind of vulnerable.

But this junction of doubt turns out to be profoundly normal for successful people who excel in creative and entrepreneurial fields.

The hard part for Alison and others of us like her is staying in the confusion long enough to let something real and true germinate. When we cannot endure the unknown next horizon, we often respond in one of three ways:

  1. Stick with the safe thing.

  2. Leap to another safe thing.

  3. Get stuck in paralysis.

Not fun. Read more

A Radical Alternative to Resolutions & Goal-Setting

Calendar2017

1. THE QUESTION

Neurologist Jeffrey Schwartz’s defines a self-described depressed person as someone who cannot achieve regularly what she sets out to do.

No wonder December can feel so depressing to so many people. On one hand, we take stock of all we did not do that we thought we might during the current year, and on the other hand we face another year and wonder if we can muster a shred of hope to make things different.

But what if we have a tool at our disposal that is exponentially more likely to lead to the change we desire?

What is that tool? Read more