5 min read

Take a Break From Work and Be Creative

Hello there! I'm Brennan Davis, the creator of CreaDev Labs, a place of learning and experimentation on productivity and personal knowledge management. Each week I share tips, experiments, and resources to help you build your very own productivity and knowledge management systems. If you're new around here, be sure to check out my archive of previous newsletter editions. If you enjoy this newsletter, please consider sharing with a friend!

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Last year for Christmas I got an app for doing Pixel Art on my iPad called Pixaki. I love the aesthetic of Pixel Art, and Pixaki has allowed me to explore creating my own Pixel Art pieces. It's incredibly fun to figure out how to take a complex object and simplify it into a stylized, yet recognizable piece of art. Here are a couple of my early Pixel Art creations:

I'm currently working on a larger piece, which I will share on CreaDev Labs when I'm finished with it. In the meantime, here's a little sneak peek!

I've found whenever I'm working on Pixel Art, my mind is a lot calmer and I feel more relaxed. It does take some work for my perfectionist brain not to get stressed when it doesn't turn out perfect, but overall the act of creation improves my mood and just feels good.

In keeping with the advice I gave in one of my recent newsletters, The Secret to Holiday Productivity, I encourage you to take a break from the normal hustle and bustle of life and spend some time creating something. Try drawing, painting, sculpting, woodworking, film making, anything you want. It can be as simple as grabbing a coloring book and a box of crayons and coloring for awhile. This will do wonders for restoring your mental health and beating those winter blues.

Got a creation you'd like to share? Please share with me by sending an email to brennan@creadevlabs.com, or if you're viewing this on the website please share in the comments section below.


Things I'm working on to improve my productivity and personal knowledge management practices

For the past couple of weeks I've talked about how I'm going to move my personal knowledge management system from Obsidian to GoodNotes. This plan was feeling pretty good for awhile, but then I found myself wanting to open up Obsidian and type out some notes rather than opening up GoodNotes and writing it out by hand. This got me thinking about whether migrating everything over to GoodNotes is really what I want to do. I don't want to limit myself to just one way of note taking when there are times when I'm in the mood to type and others when I want to write things out by hand.

I'm going to try using both for awhile and see what balance between the two seems right. Normally I want to know exactly what kind of information each app will be designated for, but I'm going to try going with whatever app feels right in the moment. I'll allow the organizational scheme to emerge organically rather than trying to impose a rigid structure from the get go. (And I'll probably continue using the system for linking information I talked about in How to Link Notes Between Obsidian, GoodNotes, and a Bullet Journal)

What I'm Reading / Watching / Listening to:

Resources and ideas from others to explore

Video: Take Book Notes: A Non-Digital Modern Method
This video introduces an intriguing method of taking book notes directly in the physical book itself. You do this by creating your own table of contents in the cover of the book based on the highlights and margin notes you take throughout the book. I really like this method of taking book notes as it makes it much easier to find and review the things you found insightful during your reading. I'm already in the middle of the book I'm currently reading, so it feels a little late to start this method in that one, but I think I might give this method a try (or something like it) when I start my next book.

Article: Building a simple business is difficult
Simplification is one of my Keys to Productivity, so it's something I try to keep in mind when approaching updating my productivity system. It's also something I'm trying to do with CreaDev Labs as it's currently a side project and I have limited time to work on it. This article had a succinct statement that resonated with me:

"Publish one type of content (newsletters, blogs, etc.) using one tool (Ghost) and leverage one social media platform (Twitter OR YouTube OR etc.) to get eyeballs on what you've made."

I've been working on doing this very thing with CreaDev Labs. I've been focusing on one type of content (my newsletter) using one tool (I happen to use Ghost for my CMS) and leveraging one social media platform (right now it's LinkedIn for me, but I'll be shifting to YouTube sometime in the future). Keeping things simple in this way really has boosted my productivity when it comes to content creation, and hopefully has resulted in my content being of a higher quality.

Latest Book Chapter Summary

Sketchnoted chapter summaries of books I'm currently reading

Summary of Atomic Habits: Motivation is Overrated
Sketchnoted summary of Chapter 6 of James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits”

Questions or comments?

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