The Accidental Creative is geared primarily to “creative workers”–that is, people who are paid not just to perform tasks for a certain number of hours, but who are paid by the value of what they create. This perfectly describes my work, so I appreciated that the book spoke to particular issues of scheduling, managing energy, focus, and keeping creativity sharp when you’re working in a creative field.
In some sense, the book helped me by reinforcing some of the work habits I already have, and I wouldn’t say any one piece was really revolutionary or totally new to me. However, the real value of the book, for me anyway, was in its suggestions for how to maximize creativity by tweaking normal time management advice to apply more specifically to creatives. For example, normally time management advice assumes that to a certain extent all of your waking hours are on the table. But with creative work, you have to factor in the fact that not every 15 minute increment is the same, and know yourself well enough to understand when you are doing your best work. Another example is in stewarding your energy–you might be doing stuff for 15 hours a day, but you probably aren’t churning out top-notch creative work for each of those hours. The author had good ideas for how to make sure that your best work actually happens.
Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day is another book by the same author, this one purporting to have wider applicability beyond creative fields. I guess that’s true, although I’d argue that both books would have useful tidbits for just about anyone.
This one includes a lot of the same concepts as the previous volume, including advice on how to curate the flow of media you’re subjected to, ideas for how to have weekly and quarterly self-assessments of all of your work and life activities, and how to maximize your focus. It does contain a bit more information about goal setting and how to leverage your focus, time, and energy to be sure you’re really being effective in the roles you identify as your priorities.
I found both of these books useful because I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient and effective in my work and more focused on my priorities rather than being fragmented. The books are general enough to be broadly applicable, but if you don’t really do anything in a creative/idea-generating field you might not get as much out of them (but still would probably like the focus and prioritizing parts).
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.