“Always do what you are afraid to do”



This is the poster I have printed above the desk in my office.

In the last few years I’ve developed the belief that unless I’m a little bit scared I’m not pushing myself – I’m not trying hard enough. Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is so important. All of my greatest achievements personally and professionally have come after pushing myself through some kind of fear. A little bit of fear is often the first sign you’re really onto something great.

Well done to Gavin Aung Than and his comic series Zen Pencils for capturing this and so many other motivating stories and quotes so well and thank you for helping to motivate me every day.


Managing projects

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I know some very organised people. The kind of people who have written, categorised and filed notes for practically every conversation they’ve ever had, who plan their meals a month in advance or have their tax returns ready to go on July 1 every year.

I am not one of those people.

As much as I would love to have one of those people on every project I work on the reality is if you’re not naturally an “organiser” you have to find a way to be one or the quality of your projects will suffer.

Typically I’ve worked in creative industries or community organisations where creative or empathic types who have wonderful energy and interesting ideas struggle to manage the complexity of the projects they need to run to make to make it happen.

The way that I manage this for myself is excessive calendaring. There’s not an important deadline without 4-5 calendar alarms set to remind me. One of the best things about the digital age is the plethora of ways you can remind yourself of the really important deadlines. You can receive phone, email, desktop notifications for almost everything – the key is to make your calendar inescapable and knowing what will motivate you.

I’m a big fan of using Google Drive and Calendar when managing really complex projects or admin across teams. It’s super easy to share documents to collaboratively edit and to share important calendar items with other people who need to know.

I’ve also used project management software such as Basecamp, but have found significant issues with login fatigue – if you give people another account or pseudo social network to worry about it’s usually one of the first steps to disengaging them. I’ve found some level of success using Facebook groups (engaging people in a platform they actually use on a regular basis) and linking in with people’s existing email accounts for Google Drive features, but I must admit I’m being lured back to some of these options for larger projects.

Even if you don’t consider yourself an “organiser” there are great tools out there to help you be your creative/empathic best, but also to administrate projects well.

What do you use to manage your projects? I’d love to hear your tips and advice.


Picture from https://flic.kr/p/aBXjmx

Escaping the mental rut at work

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Offices are horridly unnatural places. Research has consistently shown the negative impacts they can have on our health, our productivity and our creativity. I’m always conscious of what the office environment can do to myself and my coworkers, but the office is such a standard part of so many workplaces – what can you do to combat the mental rut of the office?

Not everyone has the luxury to do this, but one of my favourite methods to fight this is to go mobile. If I can get out of the office and set up in a nearby cafe for the day I often find I can achieve much more – and boost my productivity much more when I do get back to the office. An occasional change of environment is so important for my sanity, but even if you can’t completely change scenery I’ve also had success changing desks for a day or working from a different room.

Sometimes the smallest change in environment can make the biggest difference to escaping the mental rut. What works for you?


Imaged sourced from Phil Whitehouse.