Taking Advice to Heart—Author of "The Accidental Creative," Todd Henry, Inspires Us to Live Purposefully

07 Sep 2012
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Jessica Blevins

Among LPK’s designers, strategists, illustrators and creatives, there is a small group of dedicated bookworms known as the LPK Literati. I began the LPK Literati last year after a collection of fellow LPKers and I discovered we were reading the same book thanks to Goodreads—a social website that lets you share what books you’re reading. We thought it would be fun and enlightening to read the book together and meet regularly to discuss what we’d read and how it applied to our lives.

Recently, we finished The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice by Todd Henry, which was recommended at a company meeting earlier this year by our Chief Creative Officer Nathan Hendricks. The Accidental Creative teaches us to be intentional with our time and energy. It steers us away from the idea of just letting life happen and gives tactical advice on how to manage our lives so that we are “prolific, brilliant and healthy.”

This book is very popular with Literati members, who met regularly over the summer to exchange ideas and feedback on which of Henry’s methods we’d tried and how they had worked for us. Even though we’ve finished reading the book now, we plan to incorporate Henry’s methods long term and help hold each other accountable by continuing to meet and discuss how we’ve changed some of our habits to establish a new, inspired mindset.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to discuss the insights we’d gleaned from reading the book with author Todd Henry. He answered a number of questions for us and gave us advice on sticking with our plan in order to be successful.

I’ve taken his advice on focus and energy to heart. I’ve started clustering my work and scheduling my time so that I can stay on task for a dedicated period of time and not get sidetracked by “pings” like email and Twitter. I’ve also started listening to more podcasts. Two I recommend are “How Stuff Works” and “The Moth.”

I’m not the only one changing my ways; other Literati members are doing the same.

Vice President and Group Director of Trends Valerie Jacobs embraced Todd Henry’s study plan idea, rediscovering the beauty in reading and watching movies for pleasure. “Recently I felt a lot of pressure to extract value out of every activity … even when reading a magazine like O, the Oprah Magazine, or FRAME,” Jacobs says. “I felt like I had to find something in it I could reference for work. Having the study plan helped me separate out when I was studying and when I could read for pleasure.”

Designer Mandy Smedley adopted Henry’s whole-life planning advice and now schedules time in her calendar to take a break. “Every day, even when I’m feeling slammed or overworked, I’ll walk outside to the park and take a 15-minute break,” Smedley says. “It refreshes me and gives me the energy to keep going.”

If you haven’t read The Accidental Creative yet, I encourage you to go order it now. It’s expanded our creative bandwidths and made us much more productive—and I know it can do the same for you.