Morning Rituals For Success

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019|

If you’re a “morning person,” you know that the early hours of the day, between when you wake up and when you begin work, can be some of the most valuable, productive, and fun. And, even if you don’t identify that way, you may be surprised how a few slight changes in your behavior can have a tremendous effect on your attitude.

When you establish the right morning routine, you can greet the day with fresh vigor, get more accomplished in work and life, and go to sleep looking forward to the next day. Want to stop hitting “snooze” and learn to love your mornings? Here are some ideas for morning rituals that will spread some sunshine on your days.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Sometimes more pleasant mornings are simply a matter of getting adequate rest at night. Before making any changes to your morning routine, make sure you’re in good physical health, not abusing drugs or alcohol, and getting the best sleep you can.

Rise Early

When you’re not in a hurry, everything seems less daunting. Give yourself more than enough time to transition from sleep to preparation for the day ahead.

Make Time for Yourself

To put yourself in a pleasant and productive mood, start your day with activities you will look forward to and enjoy, with an eye toward building routines that help you cultivate a positive mindset. These could include mindfulness meditation, a solo creative project you’re passionate about and want to make time for, or maybe just a bracing cup of coffee.

Get Moving

“Running and walking are both great because they’re accessible to most everyone, they can be your gateway remedy to a healthier lifestyle, and they can even give you the momentum to design a whole new morning routine,” writes Benjamin Spall, author ofMy Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired. If a pre-dawn run sounds overwhelming, you can try yoga, stretching, swimming, or any other physical activity that wakes you up, circulates your blood and oxygen, and helps you get into the rhythm and flow of life.

Write

“Something I do every morning is stretch, listen to NPR, and then shower,” says Tina Roth Eisenberg, designer and founder of the popular lecture and networking event series Creative Mornings. “Then I sit down and either write whatever my soul needs to regurgitate or post to my blog.” Whether or not you consider yourself a writer, an early-morning writing practice is one of the most trusted ways to kickstart your brain, prime your creative pump, and connect to your deeper emotions. You can try Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages,” record the previous night’s dreams while they’re fresh, or keep a decision journal. Or, like humorist David Sedaris, jot down a few notes, lists, or ideas at dawn and return to them later to flesh them out.

Prepare

“Each morning you should prepare, plan and meditate on how you aim to act that day,” writes author Ryan Holiday. “Don’t wing it. Don’t be reactionary. Have a plan. Marcus Aurelius rose in the morning and did his journaling – preparing himself for what he was likely to face in the hours ahead. He thought about the people he was likely to face, difficulties he might encounter (premeditatio malorum), and what he knew about how to respond.” Developing an early-morning journaling habit can help you build personal confidence and see connections and patterns you might otherwise miss.

Skip Email and Social Media

Most mornings, your notifications can wait. If the first thing you do every day is reach for your phone, try postponing that for an hour, or however long it takes to do something more peaceful and reclaim some of your private psychological space. “This can be hard for many of us, especially if you run an online business or keep up profiles that feel like they require your full attention at all times,” writes Spall. What you’ll quickly find, however, is that avoiding social media in the morning will allow the calm of the night to carry on a little bit longer.”

The best way to stop a bad habit is to, instead of going cold turkey, replace it with something you’d rather do instead. “If you’re going to do something like intentionally ignore your email for a few hours, you need to be just as intentional about planning how you’re going to spend that time,” writes Kelsey Manning, who struggled to implement email-free mornings and gained some insight in the process.

Change One Habit at a Time

Take inspiration from Niklas Göke, who wrote an excellent piece about how he built an enviable morning routine by optimizing one new habit at a time. “I never made a list when I began,” Göke writes. “Because it wouldn’t have lasted a day. The moment you make a list, you start trying to check off the items on it. You’ll dream up a big set of habits, try to adopt them all in a day and fail. Instead, see this idea as a process of optimization. Don’t pressure yourself to get it right the first time. Think of yourself as putting one foot in front of the other and improving along the way. This way, you’ll focus on learning and getting better, rather than comparing and getting frustrated.”

Take advantage of our decades of experience. We’ll help you build the lifestyle and career you’ve always wanted. Contact Artisan Creative today to get started.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 514th a.blog.

 

Our Top 25 Blogs

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018|

We are thrilled to publish our 500th blog today. As we approach the end of 2018, we’d like to share some of our a.team’s favorite blogs.

These cover a range of topics from self-development and time-management to job search, hiring and much more.

We hope you enjoy this top 25 greatest hits compilation.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 500th post.  You can find plenty other tips, inspirations, best practices and advice on our a.blog.

We look forward to connecting.

9 Apps to Boost Creativity

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018|

As creative professionals, it’s important to be able to generate a steady stream of new ideas. Professional creativity means having a regular creative practice. It asks that you cultivate a life in which creativity can take root. It means thinking playfully even when you may not be in the mood. If you encounter a creative block, you can take a break, find inspiration in the outdoors, and come back with a fresh perspective.

You can also utilize the many tools, exercises, and habits to give you a jumpstart as needed. Here are a few free or low-cost apps you can download to your mobile device and use when you need a quick creative spark.

Blip Synthesizer

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a musician, riffing on musical instruments is a proven way to limber up the creative areas of your brain. This Android app is one of the simplest music-making apps available – it turns simple visual patterns into catchy miniature melodies. If you’re deep in a detail-oriented project or need to revive a spirit of play, it’s great for a quick hit of inspiration and joy.

Brainsparker

Created by the creative and leadership coach Gabriella Goddard, Brainsparker is one of the more popular and widely-used ideation toolkits in the agency world. With 250 built-in creative prompts, it’s a randomized card game that facilitates group or solo brainstorming on the go.

Coolors

A new color combination can carry a bounty of new moods and ideas. If you’re a visual artist or graphic designer, you’re working on a new brand package, or you’re at all energized by color combinations, give this palette generator a try.

Evernote

The more deftly you can organize your information, the more cognitive bandwidth you’ll have left over to make connections and get fresh ideas from your data. With its robust integrations, this massively popular note-taking app is a go-to if you want to keep all your raw material in one place.

GLTCH

In the art world, glitch art is a movement based on digitally manipulating images, often in weird or irreverent ways. With this app, you can warp, corrupt, and mutilate any image you choose. It can help you see old concepts in new ways, and it’s a lot of fun.

Insight Timer

A regular practice of mindfulness meditation is one of the most time-tested habits to calm and clear the mind and to take heart in the face of the unexpected. With goal setting, rich analytics, hundreds of free guided meditations, and a worldwide community of practitioners, Insight Timer is one of the most popular and versatile apps for meditators at all stages.

Oblique Strategies

Created by the musician Brian Eno and polymath Peter Schmidt and inspired by the art movements Surrealism, Dada, and Fluxus, this set of cryptic and ironic instructions can help you take your work down unexpected and counter-intuitive avenues. Variations on Oblique Strategies exist for iPhone, Android, the web, and Slack.

Simplemind

Creativity is a connection, the art of forging new connections between existing points. This user-friendly mind-mapping program can help visualize clusters of ideas and information, making it easier to spot patterns, draw new throughlines, and find order in apparent chaos.

UX Companion

The multi-faceted discipline of user experience brings together some of the most vital and relevant thought in the areas of design, technology, research, and human behavior. This annotated glossary of UX concepts provides a useful introduction to ideas that are shaping the way we interact with our constructed worlds.

At Artisan Creative, we believe creativity should be fun, and we believe in sharing the resources that help the pros keep their creativity flowing. Contact us today to empower your mind and energize your creative career.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 486th issue of our a.blog. 

 

Are you a Digital Nomad?

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018|

As humans and especially as creative professionals, we must learn to maintain a delicate balance between security and adventure, as our minds and hearts deem appropriate. If you are the sort of person who tilts toward adventure, or you crave a lot more risk in your life and career than you have currently, have you ever considered the life of a digital nomad?

Digital nomads take advantage of the wondrous interconnectedness provided by flourishing digital technologies. The consumer internet has only been around for a bit more than two decades, and these digital nomads live to explore new landscapes both virtual and geographical.

To be a digital nomad, one condition is to hone the skills you can do remotely, such as web design and development, copywriting, social media marketing, or any other creative trade that requires only an agile mind and a laptop. You must also cultivate your adaptability, learn to strategize, and develop a whole range of travel and interpersonal skills, some of which are so specific that they don’t have names.

You can start to live a successful life as a digital nomad, with all the romance and adventure that come with it, if you can master these four core principles.

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

Before you travel the world on your own steam, get smart with your money. Eliminate as much debt as possible and cut expenses to the bone. Own only the property you absolutely need – place most of your items in storage, and if you own a home, consider renting it out on AirBnB for extra income. If you don’t own much, don’t owe much, and lead a simple life, you will have an easier transition to becoming a digital nomad.

Plan Ahead – Take Care of the Details

The life of a digital nomad involves lots of improvisation. That’s much easier to manage if you handle as many potential variables as you can before you go. Figure out your communication strategy – how will you stay in touch with clients and creative recruiters on foreign soil? Plan your itinerary – where are you staying, and where can you stay if those plans go awry? Do you need travel insurance, or extra guidance and protection? Use your networking skills to find a community of mentors and peers who have overcome some of the challenges of being digital nomads. Their friendship, camaraderie, and insight will make your travel experience less lonely and more fun and fruitful.

Put Your Assets to Work

As a digital nomad, you won’t have access to the same professional networks you would if you were anchored in one location or community. You can make up for this if you create assets that will work in your favor when you’re traveling or go offline. Make sure your online resume and digital portfolio are attracting new business while you sleep (especially if you’re sleeping in an unusual new time zone). If you have unique skills to share, you might create an online course – this can generate passive income to help you get through any rough patches.

Keep an Open Mind

The most important skill of a digital nomad is adaptability. This bold lifestyle will teach you how to embrace unpredictability, dive into the unknown, and change your mind on the fly.

“Travel has a way revealing that much of what you’ve heard about the world is wrong,” says Rolf Potts, author of the acclaimed travel lifestyle manual Vagabonding. ” Even on a day-to-day level, travel enables you to avoid setting limits on what you can and can’t do. On the road, you naturally ‘play games’ with your day: watching, waiting, listening; allowing things to happen. There’s no better opportunity to break old habits, face latent fears, and test out repressed facets of your personality.”

At Artisan Creative, we can help you conquer the challenges that matter to you as you claim the life and career you want. Contact us today to learn more.

 

 

Create Your Productive Week

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018|

Weekends are regarded days of rest, blocked off to recharge or catch up on obligations outside of work. However, there is a marked phenomenon of “Sunday blues,” a collective sense of frustration that comes from not getting as much satisfaction from our Sundays as we’d like. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps we can take to make our Sundays more productive and pleasurable as well as create a more productive week in the process.

If you want to get more from your Sundays, here are a few tricks you can try. You might make Sunday your new favorite day of the week.

Get Organized

You can use your Sundays as opportunities to make things easier on yourself during the rest of the week. This starts with setting your schedule, which allows you to take care of any details you can while you have the opportunity. Sundays also provide ample time to balance your budget, clean out your inbox, and cross out any other tasks you may want to complete in order to free up time and bandwidth on busier days. Organization can take the form of a self-care ritual, a time for peaceful reflection as you tend to the details of your life.

Make Lists and Set Goals

If it’s Sunday and your mind refuses to rest, seize the opportunity to provide yourself some pre-set structure for the coming week. Make a list of some tasks you intend to do, or goals you would like to accomplish by week’s end. By making your work week concrete and your goals achievable, you will find that you have plenty of time ahead of you to do everything that needs to be done. This may make it easier for you to spend your Sunday relaxing, with a clear mind and conscience.

Prepare Meals

Mindful eating is an oft-overlooked element in personal well being. In the hectic rush of the work week, making time to prepare healthy food can seem challenging. However, if you prepare nutritious balanced meals ahead of time on Sunday, it’s a breeze to eat well during busier times. Mix up your favorite standbys with new recipes, and stack your creations in the fridge, ready to go to work with you Monday through Friday.

Pursue Personal Interests & Hobbies

An active mind is a healthy mind, and it’s crucial to cultivate interests and projects. This could mean doing freelance work on the side, pursuing a creative “passion project” or hobby, or volunteering to work for a cause that resonates with your values. The right sort of work can be a pleasure. If you’re not satisfied “doing nothing” on Sunday, try doing something you love instead.

At Artisan Creative, we believe a successful career is one part of a successful life. We help top creative talent fulfill their professional and personal goals. Contact us today to get started.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 468th issue of our a.blog.

 

14 Collaboration Apps We Love

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018|

If your team is still using the email inbox as an organizational tool and yelling over cubicles, it’s time for you to explore some of the brilliantly useful collaboration, chat, and project management apps that are available.

Since the rise of Basecamp in the 2000s, an array of such apps has appeared, with different user interfaces, internal logic, pros, and cons. Some are focused on internal communication, while others have better document-sharing and time-management features. If you’re new to collaboration, chat, and project management apps, we suggest trying a few different ones to see which one proves most effective for your projects and your team.

In celebration of February 14th, Valentine’s Day, here are 14 apps we love because they drive collaboration. Since our Artisan Creative a.team works virtually, we rely on many of the apps below to communicate, collaborate and connect.

Basecamp

It was one of the first project management programs, and it’s still one of the simplest, with to-dos, discussions, and file-sharing capabilities that are easy to master.

Slack

This team chat app is beloved for a reason. It works well for organizing discussions, whether among groups or one-on-one. While it lacks some of the more sophisticated project-management capabilities found elsewhere, it gets things done, and it’s fun.  Slack has made our virtual team communication organized, efficient and easy.

Asana

Asana is gaining popularity for its focus on results. It works well for tracking projects, assignments, time, and contributions from team members.

Trello

Trello’s “boards” provide an engaging and friendly UI. It takes some effort to master, but it’s easy on the eyes, and it’s changed the way some teams tackle their projects.  A recent favorite, we use Trello for everything these days! From communicating about our open jobs to onboarding and training new hires, we love Trello.

Wunderlist

Microsoft acquired this German-designed task-management app and planned to sunset it, much to the chagrin of its unusually devoted user base. Despite protests, it may be absorbed by Microsoft To-Do in 2018, so give it a whirl while you can.

Discord

This voice and text chat platform, designed for gamers, is so robust and functional that it’s drawn a cult following among startups and professionals, too. It lacks strong project-management capabilities but can be used in conjunction with other programs by off-site teams who rely heavily on responsivity.

Airtable

Popular among publishers and heavy spreadsheet users, Airtable’s internal logic takes some getting used to. When you get to know it, it’s a charming and versatile suite of project-management tools with a colorful personality, with particularly strong versioning and backup capabilities.

Calendly

Calendly makes meeting planning easy! Gone are the days of emailing back and forth to schedule time for a conversation or a meeting.   Calendly integrates with our Google calendar to make life, and conversation scheduling easy!

Smartsheet

For seasoned spreadsheet-wranglers, the Smartsheet UI may look familiar. It’s a humble and practical program, comfortable for heavy Excel users, increasingly useful for those who spend time getting to know it.

LiquidPlanner

Sophisticated, expensive, and a bit intimidating, LiquidPlanner works well for larger teams with a lot of moving parts. If you’re ambitious or you’re outgrowing your current programs, give it a look.

Sharepoint

Part of the MS Office Suite, Sharepoint is popular among teams using Windows. It integrates with the chat app Yammer, and allows easy content management and collaboration across organizations.

Teamwork

With project management, chat, and an easy mobile experience under one roof, Teamwork is popular among creative and web development teams. If you enjoy the free trial, you can do an impressive amount of work using Teamwork tools.

Taskworld

This highly visual and goal-oriented project management app is popular among users of Apple products. Founded by billionaire jewelry magnate Fred Mouawad, its eccentric personality has won it a devoted cult following.

Google Drive

What started as the world’s most successful search engine has created an impressive array of products that integrate brilliantly. Between Gmail, Docs, Hangouts, and Calendars, many teams have found that they work best using nothing but Google apps, especially since the vast majority of web users have some familiarity with Google-brand UX.

As creative staffing leaders, we work with some of the most forward-thinking talent and clients in the business, which makes us experts on how professionals and teams choose their tools, manage their work, and collaborate more effectively. Contact Artisan Creative today and share your favorite app.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 461st issue of our a.blog!

3 Benefits of Working Remotely

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018|

Although some work challenges may seem best tackled by teams coming together in person, with each leap forward in virtual networking technology, colleagues in far-flung locations can come together just as productively in a virtual setting. The continuous rapid pace of improvement in this area, makes it more efficient and more rewarding for creative professionals to do their work remotely.

According to The New York Times, 43% of employed Americans do at least some of their work off-site. Those who have embraced remote work, and the lifestyle that comes with it, have discovered significant benefits.

The Artisan Creative a.team has been working remotely since 2009 and we’d like to share some of those benefits with you:

More Productivity

To work remotely is to relinquish stressful and time-consuming rush-hour commutes and eliminate workplace distractions. Remote workers can create routines, schedules, and environments that are best suited to their own preferences and patterns, which often result in getting more done, in less time, with less hassle than would be required to complete the same tasks in an office.

To work well without constant oversight requires some discipline and responsibility, and for those who excel at it, remote work can be an enormous boon to their careers, improve their results, and stimulate a new work ethic.

More Freedom

For those with the discipline and independence to live a remote work based lifestyle, traditional borders and living restrictions have disappeared.

By being adept at working off-site, building their networks, and collaborating well virtually, professionals no longer need to relocate to prohibitively expensive cities to advance their careers. Some even choose to become “digital nomads” and travel as they work, seeing the world while pursuing creative careers on their laptops and mobile devices.

Even if the corporate headquarters is across town, having the liberty to work from home, a co-working space, or a coffee shop can open new lifestyle options for those who wish to spend more time with their friends and families or simply have the space to create.

More Ease

Off-site work used to be much more of a challenge and a commitment for all parties involved. Now, with so many effective options, much of the past friction has been eliminated.

As mentioned earlier, the technology that drives document-sharing, teleconferences, virtual meetings, and location-independent digital collaboration has advanced tremendously, and it gets better every day.

There may come a time in the not-so-distant future when the majority of teams do most of their work and collaboration remotely. Already, the increase of remote work is popular with the rising Millennial Generation and represents a wider range of lifestyle choices in a highly networked global society.

Contact Artisan Creative to prepare for the future of work and learn how to thrive in a changing creative economy.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 460th issue of our weekly a.blog.

Actioning Your Goals

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018|

Now that you’ve set your goals for the year and created your vision board,it’s important to devise a plan to stay on track and act on what you’ve set your mind to do.

In his book Triggers, Marshall Goldsmith says; “We are superior planners and inferior doers!” So in order to take action, we have to develop new habits, a razor-sharp focus, and be undeterred.

Below are some tools to help stay organized and focused and apply action to the plan at hand.

  1. Make the commitment! If they are truly important to you, then you owe it to yourself to commit to them. You set these goals for a reason.
  2. Keep to an organized calendar and protect your time. Great tools such as Toggle or Trello can be a huge benefit in managing your to-do list.
  3. Focus on the important matters. Urgent matters have a way of creeping in and taking over if you aren’t focused.
  4. Breakdown your to-do list into bite-size steps that need to happen daily or weekly for the goal to be accomplished.
  5. Add a timeline or date for accomplishing each step.
  6. Broadcast your goals and let your co-workers, friends, and family know so they can be your accountability partners.
  7. Ask for support where you need it. Delegating some tasks can open up your calendar to take care of the goals you have set.
  8. Know what you have to stop doing and be aware of your triggers, so you can adjust your mindset and offset any roadblocks. For example, let’s say your plan is to set workout routine 3 times a week. If you already know that you have more energy in the mornings or mid-day than after work, set your routine and go to the gym to work or during lunch. The temptation to skip a workout after a long day may be too easy if you are already tired or hungry.
  9. Celebrate every win. Every small win is a step in the right direction. Don’t wait to accomplish the goal until you celebrate.
  10. Forgive. Every so often, we all stumble. It’s ok. Just get back to your routine and the new habits you are trying to create.

Wishing you a great start to the new year.  If you are looking for a new career opportunity this year, or looking to hire your dream team, please get in touch.

We hope you enjoy the 457th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

Holiday Prep for Freelancers

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017|

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday has passed, everyone is gearing up to bring the final weeks to a close and prepare for the new year. For many, this includes vacations and paid time off. As a freelancer, your year-end to-dos may be a little different and can be just as rewarding.

Here are a few tips to help you celebrate your success as a creative freelancer during the holiday season.

Pick Up Extra Work

If you want to keep working during the holidays, you may still find work that needs doing. When full-time designers, developers, or other creative professionals are out of town, employers may need someone to pick up quick assignments that otherwise wouldn’t be turned around in time.

If you are ready, willing, and able to work during the holidays, make sure to let your important professional contacts know and update your social profile with your availability.

Additionally, this is a good opportunity to work on personal passion projects and expand your portfolio with new pieces.

Tend To Your Infrastructure

A successful freelancing career involves much more than client work. It requires managing and marketing, taking care of financial obligations, and making sure you have the infrastructure in place to get work, get paid, and stay connected.

The holiday slowdown provides an opportunity to take care of professional details that aren’t often a part of your usual assignments.

For freelancers, paying taxes and doing other paperwork is often a challenge; why not tackle it during the slow days?

You can also take online classes to learn new professional skills, to be more marketable during the new year.

Now that your clients are on a break, this is an ideal time to handle all obligations of running your own business. Organizing your paper files, managing digital declutter or achieving inbox zero can be great projects to get ready for 2018.

Prepare for Down Time

Even in our super-connected, always-on culture, the business world tends to slow down during the holiday season. Starting on the week of Thanksgiving and continuing through the first week of January, offices take on a different rhythm and often focus on staff and family celebrations.

It is always wise to have plenty of money socked away for such dry spells. Lots of personal finance and accounting programs will automatically save a certain amount each month, or you may be able to set up automatic savings through your bank.

With a buffer in your bank account, you can spend your holiday season relaxing, not fretting about money.

Take a Break

If you can find regular work and manage your career, freelancing can give you the freedom to travel, spend time with your loved ones, and set your own schedule. If you are able to and have handled all your obligations, why not take off for a week or two? Time to reflect and unplug is a great opportunity to recharge and get the creative juices flowing.

Set an “away” message, letting everyone know you are taking some much-needed R&R. You can go entirely off the grid or put your hours on “emergency mode,” in which you let it be known you are only available for very important matters.

Prepare for Next Year

Set your goals, create a vision board and plan ahead for a successful year ahead.This month leading up to the holidays can be a great opportunity to research companies you want to target.

If you haven’t had time to update your resume, website, or online portfolio, block off some time and make sure you are showcasing all your current work in a manner that does it justice.

Give Thanks

The holiday season is an appropriate time to acknowledge the people who have supported your career.

Send a note to your clients, vendors, and colleagues, letting them know you’ve appreciated the opportunity to work with them and wish them the best in the new year. If you’re a designer, you can send a special holiday card, extending your gratitude and ensuring that clients will keep you in mind.

Here at Artisan, we are grateful for another rich and rewarding year of working with top creative talent and clients. We look forward to celebrating continued success in 2018 and developing new ways to support you and your work.

 

Contact us today to learn more. We hope you enjoy the 452nd issue of our weekly a.blog.

The Productive Commute

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017|

Although remote and at-home work is gaining acceptance, most jobs still require some on-site face-time. That means you’ll be spending at least some of your professional life in transit. As housing costs continue to rise and many companies relocate, you may be in for a long commute.

However a commute does not have to be wasted time and can become nourishing and productive. If you can make it a point to stay engaged, cultivate useful and revitalizing habits, you may find yourself looking forward to rush hour!

Here are a few things you can try when you want to get more out of your commute.

1. Conference Calls, Meetings, and Check-ins

If you take public transport to work, this can be the perfect place to be a “fly on the wall” for a call that someone else leads. This can also be great opportunity to check in with key clients, colleagues, or friends, provided you can still have a good reception and your environment isn’t too noisy.

2. Podcasts

Since Apple’s release of the iPod more than fifteen years ago, the growth of podcasting as a medium has exploded. Compared to radio, the barrier for entry is practically nonexistent, which has unleashed a wild variety of shows. Podcasting has been embraced by journalists and has reignited the careers of rebellious comedians who do their best work uncensored. The most popular podcasts now have devoted audiences in the millions.

There are so many podcasts to explore that it’s easy to get lost. If you’re looking for places to start, you can get creative and cerebral inspiration from TED or Creative Mornings, hear interviews with leading entrepreneurs on The Knowledge Project and The James Altucher Show, or dive into the more narrative-based shows from the Radiotopia network, which will reacquaint you with the mystery and wonder of life.

3. Audiobooks

Reading books remains one of the most reliable ways to become a stronger thinker and speaker. If you drive, you can find more wisdom, heroism, romance, humor, and insight in audiobooks than you could possibly absorb in one lifetime.

The personal growth coach Duff McDuffee provides a plan for “reading” quite a lot in the 1.5-2 hours a day many of us spend commuting. In the brilliant So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in an Age of Abundance, the author Gabriel Zaid suggests a strategy for choosing the right books to cultivate a rich awareness of the world.

4. Meditation

A commute may be the most unlikely place to get in touch with your innerself and the true nature of reality. However, now that meditation is in vogue among leaders in tech, media, and the creative industry, more and more people are practicing some form of mental relaxation on the go, including in traffic.

In your commute, you’re likely to face frustrations, distractions, and emotional highs and lows. This makes it the perfect place to practice mindfulness.

You will need to stay focused on the journey, so you can’t close your eyes and go into a trance. Today’s cutting-edge meditation instructors Vincent and Emily Horn have devised a practice called “There Is Driving,” a simple “noting” practice you can use to train your attention as part of your everyday activities.

5. Train Your Brain

The human mind is designed to be stimulated, in youth and throughout life. If you spend less time “zoning out” and more time engaged in challenging your mental reflexes, you will do wonders for your creativity, productivity, and mental health, now and into older age.

You can use your commute to learn a new language, or work through riddles and puzzles.

If you typically drive give mass transit a try if its available in your city – you may be amazed at how much a train or bus ride can shift your perspective and what great ideas arise when you come in closer contact with your community. If you can’t take the train, vary your route to work – take side streets instead of freeways, or allow some extra time to take the scenic route. Another option is to walk or ride a bike to work when possible and get some exercise in the meantime too!

See if you can devise your own ways to make sure your commute is productive.

At Artisan Creative, we believe that a creative life is one of the most rewarding ones you can pursue. Contact us today to leverage our resources and experiences and get more from your career and your life.  We hope you enjoy the 449th issue of our weekly a.blog.