Lessons from adopting a four-day work week

I love these five lessons that Wildbit has learned from adopting a four-day work week. My favorite is how the fifth day has made space for problem solving.

There’s something unique about the fifth day being a quiet day. You can ruminate on problems in the back of your mind while you’re working on the deck or walking around the city or taking your kids on a camping trip. That can be hard when you work Monday through Friday, then become a weekend warrior. With the additional day off, we invariably spend time thinking about work problems. When Monday rolls around, we have so many things that we want to get started. It creates additional energy and momentum for the team.

The social dilemma

We tweet, we like, and we share— but what are the consequences of our growing dependence on social media? This documentary-drama hybrid reveals how social media is reprogramming civilization with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations. 

In a time when technology has become our lifeline, it is more important than ever that we examine the role it plays in our lives and realign it with the interests of people, not profits.

Learn more about The Social Dilemma and Center for Humane Technology.

Where does creativity come from?

A few weeks ago, I discovered a wonderful talk by Dr. George Land, in which he gives a brief history of human innovation and the importance of creativity.

If you’ve wondered about questions like “Where does creativity come from?”, “Are we born with it?”, or “Is it learned?”, this talk will give you the answers. It will also show you how to tap into your imagination, so you can be more creative in your life and work.

I was also pleasantly surprised to hear Dr. Land talk about the 2 kinds of thinking that happen in the brain, divergent and convergent thinking, often used in the human-centered design process.

Wildbit knows that “pursuing relentless growth at all costs isn’t a sustainable way to build businesses or help people find meaning in their work.”

Today, Wildbit, creators of People-First Jobs, is celebrating 20 years of putting people first. In this video, they share their thoughts on the future of business and ask some great questions.

What sort of workplace are you creating that gives space for people to have a whole life, and bring their whole self to work?

We shouldn’t judge success of business, just based on the fact that it can create more jobs … if the jobs are crap or if the impact of the business is bad on the world, then is that still success just because it creates jobs?

Olle Eksell

Old Town (Gamla Stan) – 1939
The Stockholm Palace – 1939

The magic of human-centered design

A couple of weeks ago I discovered MT tape, the original Japanese washi masking tape. I had heard of washi tape before but that was all. Well, I was surprised to see the beautiful illustrations and collaborations with artists and designers on the products. Naturally, I gave in and purchased one roll with illustrations from Henri’s Walk to Paris, a children’s book illustrated by Saul Bass, and one with retro birds designed by Swedish artist Lisa Larson.

As I was exploring the site, I learned that:

In 2006, the company received an email from 3 women in Tokyo who were using their industrial tapes in beautiful craft projects. Amazed by this surprising and wonderful usage, Kamoi Kakoshi invited the women to visit their factory. This visit inspired the development of an entirely new and original category of tape: MT brand washi tape, colorful tape which is easy to tear by hand and reposition on nearly any surface.

It made me smile. It reminded me of the magic of human-centered design. Listening to and especially observing people gives you surprising and wonderful insights, which you can then turn into new opportunities.

Creative work

Nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish somebody had told this to me — is that all of us who do creative work… we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there’s a gap, that for the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good, OK? It’s not that great. It’s really not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has the ambition to be good, but it’s not quite that good. But your taste — the thing that got you into the game — your taste is still killer, and your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you, you know what I mean?

A lot of people never get past that phase. A lot of people at that point quit. And the thing I would just like to say to you with all my heart is that most everybody I know who does interesting creative work, they went through a phase of years where they had really good taste and they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be — they knew it fell short, it didn’t have the special thing that we wanted it to have.

And the thing I would say to you is everybody goes through that. And for you to go through it, if you’re going through it right now, if you’re just getting out of that phase — you gotta know it’s totally normal.

And the most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work — do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week, or every month, you know you’re going to finish one story. Because it’s only by actually going through a volume of work that you are actually going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions. It takes a while, it’s gonna take you a while — it’s normal to take a while. And you just have to fight your way through that, okay?

– Ira Glass. Via The Good Ship Illustration. A few weeks later, I read the same quote in Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon.

Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.

– Aristotle