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Best of 2011: Our Most Popular Tips, Interviews & Think Pieces

Need insight on how to make better decisions, get rid of bad habits, or just plain maximize your creative potential? Dive into our year-end roundup.

How can we manage our energy and attention for peak performance? How does a constant barrage of information affect our decision-making skills? How can we build better habits, embrace risk-taking, and truly realize our creative potential? We’re not saying we have all the answers, but this Best of 2011 collection does attempt to provide insight on these questions – and to empower you to work with more smarts, more purpose, and more results.

1. 25 Insights on Becoming a Better Writer
We round up 25 nuggets of writing wisdom from Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, Augusten Burroughs, Geoff Dyer, Steven Pressfield, and more.

2. The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King
Why writing a compelling personal bio is crucial to your career, and tips on how to craft one.

3. Francis Ford Coppola: On Risk, Money, Craft & Collaboration
Legendary film director Francis Ford Coppola talks about how he self-finances all his films, why the artist must never lie, and how true collaboration is like great sex.

4. A Day Without Distraction: Lessons from 12 Hrs of Forced Focus
What if you had to focus for at least 30 minutes on every single task that you did? Would it improve your productivity? Cal Newport takes hard focus for a test drive.

5. Why Creative People Need to Be Eccentric
Do you ever feel like your regular habits are a little bit crazy? We investigate why eccentricity is essential to doing great work.

6. Email Etiquette for the Super-Busy
It’s time to take a leaner, meaner approach to email. We lay out 10 simple tips for making email more efficient, and more actionable.

7. Fix Bad Habits: Insights from a 7-Year Obsession
Getting rid of bad habits isn’t just about saying NO. To truly succeed, we must replace the bad behavior with a better behavior. Here’s how.

8. Don’t Overthink It: 5 Tips for Daily Decision-Making
Indecisiveness is a productivity killer. We look at the science of decision-making, and how you can make better choices.

9. Setting the Scene for a Productive Day
Your desk setup and surrounding environment play a huge role in your ability to focus and produce great work. A look at how to “script” your space for creative success.

10. A Master Plan for Taking Back Control of Your Life
Our willpower is a highly limited resource, and it gets depleted by every act that requires its use. We outline 8 steps you can take to maintain peak performance.

11. Simon Sinek: If You Don’t Understand People, You Don’t Understand Business (Video)
“We’re not good at everything, we’re not good by ourselves,” says Simon Sinek. Our ability to build trust and relationships is the key to our survival as a race, and to thriving as ideamakers.

12. Vision Without Obstruction: What We Learn From Steve Jobs
Self-doubt, short-term expectations, bureaucracy. How can we pursue bold ideas without letting these everyday obstacles get in the way?

13. Developing Your Creative Practice: Tips from Brian Eno
What if you don’t have a good idea today? Lessons in training and building your creativity muscles from legendary musician Brian Eno.

14. How to Create a Captivating Presentation
Terrified of presenting in front of an audience? Or just a little shy? How to take your public speaking ability and slide presentations from uncomfortable to awesome.

15. The Future of Self-Improvement: Grit Is More Important Than Talent
What if long-term success doesn’t really have that much to do with your “potential”? A look at recent research that debunks talent in favor of true grit.

More Posts by Jocelyn K. Glei

A writer and the founding editor of 99U, Jocelyn K. Glei is obsessed with how to make great creative work in the Age of Distraction. Her latest book is Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distraction, and Get Real Work Done. Her previous works include the 99U’s own bestselling book series: Manage Your Day-to-Day, Maximize Your Potential, and Make Your Mark. Follow her @jkglei.

Comments (8)
  • Lori Highby

    Great compilation of articles here.  I remember reading a few of these and am glad that you’ve put them in front of me again.

  • essay writing service

    Great very interesting!

  • Matthew

    So many great articles (and illustrations!). Truly.

  • Avansarelab

    Nice interview

  • custom essay

    Good post!

  • Logo Design

    Outstanding work to gather a full year review about designing stuff in one place. It is really a great year ahead for designing. Thanks


    cool! thank U!

  • Anita Clark

    Thanks for sharing your best of the best.

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