FastCompany Magazine

The official Tumblr of Fast Company.

WORK MODE: 5 TIPS FROM DR. SANJAY GUPTA ON BEING UNREASONABLY PRODUCTIVE
For all the creatives out there with an unfinished novel lying in a drawer, Dr. Sanjay Gupta should provide some inspiration. If the neurosurgeon, nonfiction writer, CNN chief medical correspondent, and father of three could find time to complete the novel Monday Mornings, you too can figure out how to block out some writing time (even if it means giving up some extra minutes falling down the Facebook rabbit hole).
Because Gupta may be the busiest man in America (or at least south of the Mason-Dixon), we decided to kick off a new series about creative processes by asking him about how he works.
Dr. Gupta squeezed in a phone call while riding in a car from the airport and discussed how he schedules time for fiction writing, how he resets his brain when he hits a snag, and his secret for insane productivity.
BE PREPARED WHEN THE MUSE HITS YOU

It took me over 10 years to write [Monday Mornings]. I spent a long time on outlining and character development. I wrote on a lot of plane rides and at night. I carry my laptop everywhere. With nonfiction, if I had a thought I could make a note to myself, and I would keep those notes and use them when I was writing. With fiction a note didn’t do it, I needed to get it all down at the time. Worrying about the organizing would come later. 

A CHANGE OF ACTIVITY CAN BE A FORM OF REST

My mom always told me that a change of activity is a form of reset. If you’re feeling tired, the answer is not necessarily to go to sleep, it’s just a question of changing activity. 

KEEP YOUR DIFFERENT WORK MENTALLY COHESIVE

One thing I will say is that for me [being a doctor, a writer, and a producer], while they may seem like individual silos, it’s always been very important for me to still do things that are in the health/medical space…
I’m writing about things I’m truly fascinated by and I do my own research. I’m very busy, but there’s a real cohesiveness for me, it makes sense in my own mind how these various things tie together.

RUNNING OUT OF A RUT

 would do one of two things [when I got stuck writing]. I’d either do something completely different, like a long training run (I’m training for a triathlon). Or, sometimes if I was sort of struggling, just a couple people, my wife being one of them, knew what I was working on at a given time, and I would run a couple different choices of storyline by them, just speak out what I was thinking. 

WHY ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD IS A BAD THING

I don’t give myself unlimited amounts of time to do things. If I suddenly had a burst of inspiration to write, I wouldn’t give myself the rest of the afternoon to do it. An open-ended time has a counter effect. It makes you lose efficiency. If it’s 1, I’ll write until 2:30. Putting a little pressure on myself cuts down on procrastination.

[Images: TNT]

WORK MODE: 5 TIPS FROM DR. SANJAY GUPTA ON BEING UNREASONABLY PRODUCTIVE

For all the creatives out there with an unfinished novel lying in a drawer, Dr. Sanjay Gupta should provide some inspiration. If the neurosurgeon, nonfiction writer, CNN chief medical correspondent, and father of three could find time to complete the novel Monday Mornings, you too can figure out how to block out some writing time (even if it means giving up some extra minutes falling down the Facebook rabbit hole).

Because Gupta may be the busiest man in America (or at least south of the Mason-Dixon), we decided to kick off a new series about creative processes by asking him about how he works.

Dr. Gupta squeezed in a phone call while riding in a car from the airport and discussed how he schedules time for fiction writing, how he resets his brain when he hits a snag, and his secret for insane productivity.

BE PREPARED WHEN THE MUSE HITS YOU

It took me over 10 years to write [Monday Mornings]. I spent a long time on outlining and character development. I wrote on a lot of plane rides and at night. I carry my laptop everywhere. With nonfiction, if I had a thought I could make a note to myself, and I would keep those notes and use them when I was writing. With fiction a note didn’t do it, I needed to get it all down at the time. Worrying about the organizing would come later. 

A CHANGE OF ACTIVITY CAN BE A FORM OF REST

My mom always told me that a change of activity is a form of reset. If you’re feeling tired, the answer is not necessarily to go to sleep, it’s just a question of changing activity. 

KEEP YOUR DIFFERENT WORK MENTALLY COHESIVE

One thing I will say is that for me [being a doctor, a writer, and a producer], while they may seem like individual silos, it’s always been very important for me to still do things that are in the health/medical space…

I’m writing about things I’m truly fascinated by and I do my own research. I’m very busy, but there’s a real cohesiveness for me, it makes sense in my own mind how these various things tie together.

RUNNING OUT OF A RUT

 would do one of two things [when I got stuck writing]. I’d either do something completely different, like a long training run (I’m training for a triathlon). Or, sometimes if I was sort of struggling, just a couple people, my wife being one of them, knew what I was working on at a given time, and I would run a couple different choices of storyline by them, just speak out what I was thinking. 

WHY ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD IS A BAD THING

I don’t give myself unlimited amounts of time to do things. If I suddenly had a burst of inspiration to write, I wouldn’t give myself the rest of the afternoon to do it. An open-ended time has a counter effect. It makes you lose efficiency. If it’s 1, I’ll write until 2:30. Putting a little pressure on myself cuts down on procrastination.

[Images: TNT]

HOW ONE GENIUS GRANT WINNER BROUGHT CREATIVITY TO CAREGIVING

McHugh was inspired to start the organization [Caregifted] when her godson’s baby was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition that required him and his wife to drop their high-flying careers—he was an executive chef, she worked in the non-profit world—to return to the U.S. from Cambodia. That baby is almost two now, and according to McHugh, “They now struggle for money and time; many of their immediate professional and other hopes were extinguished; yet they act day in day out, instinctively and wholeheartedly, purely from love, to devote their efforts to the care of this child.”
She wants to honor that care, and also to give people like her godson a break. “What I can’t help seeing is how exhausted [he and his wife] may be in 10 years,” McHugh says, since they spend time every day of the week doing therapy with the child. Part of the deal with Caregifted is that while care givers are on their all-expenses paid vacation to gorgeous locations like Vancouver, Coastal Maine, or Napa Valley, they must record their visits, either through writing, photography, or another creative medium.

Read the full story here.
[Images: Flickr userWoodleywonderworks]

HOW ONE GENIUS GRANT WINNER BROUGHT CREATIVITY TO CAREGIVING

McHugh was inspired to start the organization [Caregifted] when her godson’s baby was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition that required him and his wife to drop their high-flying careers—he was an executive chef, she worked in the non-profit world—to return to the U.S. from Cambodia. That baby is almost two now, and according to McHugh, “They now struggle for money and time; many of their immediate professional and other hopes were extinguished; yet they act day in day out, instinctively and wholeheartedly, purely from love, to devote their efforts to the care of this child.”

She wants to honor that care, and also to give people like her godson a break. “What I can’t help seeing is how exhausted [he and his wife] may be in 10 years,” McHugh says, since they spend time every day of the week doing therapy with the child. Part of the deal with Caregifted is that while care givers are on their all-expenses paid vacation to gorgeous locations like Vancouver, Coastal Maine, or Napa Valley, they must record their visits, either through writing, photography, or another creative medium.

Read the full story here.

[Images: Flickr userWoodleywonderworks]

How To Know If You’re Working With Mammals Or Reptiles (And Why It Matters To Your Creativity)
Can you pick out the reptiles in your workplace (And no, not the ones who do finger pistols and prey on interns)? According to neurophysiologist Stephen Porges, if you want to be creative, you want to be on the lookout for the scaly types, and seek out the mammals instead.

Which is why if you’re doing creative work—the kind that thrives on connecting people and ideas—you should be working in a safe, “mammalian” office. As Porges says, “we really are not creative and integrative and social unless we feel safe.”

Check out the full article here.

How To Know If You’re Working With Mammals Or Reptiles (And Why It Matters To Your Creativity)

Can you pick out the reptiles in your workplace (And no, not the ones who do finger pistols and prey on interns)? According to neurophysiologist Stephen Porges, if you want to be creative, you want to be on the lookout for the scaly types, and seek out the mammals instead.

Which is why if you’re doing creative work—the kind that thrives on connecting people and ideas—you should be working in a safe, “mammalian” office. As Porges says, “we really are not creative and integrative and social unless we feel safe.”

Check out the full article here.