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Adam Cairns

What I’ve Learnt About The Tension Between Creativity and Good Organisation

What Is The Well-Lived Life?

This is how I define a Well-Lived Life. Your definition will of course be different.

1. You are fulfilled with no more than your fair share of disappointments.
2. You are happy, experiencing many more sunlit uplands than dark valleys.
3. Your days are filled with good intentions which you work on with integrity.
4. Your wisdom steadily accumulates.
5. You optimise your inherent talents.
6. You find increased equanimity.
7. Your mindful awareness grows.
8. You have as much health and well-being as your genes and environment permits.
9. You have loving…

Exploring the Interface between Good Organisation and Creativity

Not everything you discover is worth knowing.


My previous attempts at creating a Personal Knowledge Management System (PKMS) foundered because I was particularly prone to the Collector’s Fallacy.

It’s just too easy to collect information by clipping material from the many different digital streams that tickle your consciousness.

  • Emails
  • Web articles
  • RSS feeds
  • Twitter
  • etc

The Collector’s Fallacy (check out for a good description) is when you assume that gathering interesting stuff and keeping it somewhere handy, makes you wiser.

I’ve learnt the hard way that doesn’t work.

There is no point in storing clippings, articles and so…

Review of sixty top time management apps and software by category

You want to make the best use of your time.

You reckon technology can help you.

But where do you start?


  1. Meeting and Video Chat Apps
  2. Team Chat Apps
  3. Team Project Management Apps
  4. Task Manager Apps
  5. File Sharing Apps
  6. Social Media Management
  7. Email Management
  8. Distraction Managers
  9. Automation
  10. MindMapping
  11. Backup
  12. Security
  13. Reading/Capture
  14. Launchers

1. Meetings and Video Chat Apps

Video chat apps leverage technology to enable you to organise and run virtual meetings. It will save you time by eliminating the need to travel unnecessarily. …

How one man’s integrity outlasted his fiercest critics

In September 1961, Pat Quinlan, then aged 42 and Commandant of ‘A’ Company of the 35th Irish Battalion, looked out on the small mining town of Jadotville in the Congo.

He and the 156 men under his command were part of a U.N. peace-keeping mission.

The U.N. had tasked Quinlan with offering protection to the Jadotville population from local Baluba tribesmen, thought to be armed with bows and arrows and sympathetic to separatist Kantanga forces.

But something wasn’t right.

On their arrival at Jadotville, few if any of the town’s people had come out to welcome them. His men, mostly…

How thinking out of the box unlock’s your story’s gold

It was while at lunch on the second day of my visit to Namibia that I had the revelation.

It changed the way I think and made me a more determined and resourceful writer.

Let’s back up a moment, a little context.

I was visiting Namibia as a member of an academic health delegation. The challenges the country faces are formidable. A huge and confronting geography with a sparse population. Healthcare delivery in such an environment is immensely difficult.

My host organised lunch for us in a hotel on the edge of Windhoek, the capital city. The hotel was quiet…

What top doctors can teach us about managing time

There are only three events in a man’s life; birth, life, and death; he is not conscious of being born, he dies in pain, and he forgets to live. — Jean de La Bruyère

Doctors are familiar with dilemmas.

In medicine, problems with no neat solutions abound. Every decision can be the difference between sustaining life, or extinguishing it.

Who to treat, whether to treat, how to treat.

Early in their training, doctors must learn the art and skill of prioritisation.

One governing principle guides their thinking: to do only what…

Why you need to be ready when disaster strikes

Two workmen move cautiously into the nuclear silo containing a Titan II rocket.

It is 1980 and the men are engaged on a routine maintenance exercise.

The Titan II’s warhead contains more explosive power than all the bombs dropped during the second world war.

One of the men has forgotten to bring a specialised tool which they need, so they go off script and improvise.

It’s something they and other workmates have done many times before.

They use an unwieldy wrench instead of the correct tool. It has a loose socket head that weighs eight pounds.

During the inspection, the…

Why you need to clarify your leadership purpose

  • What do you stand for?
  • What would you die in a ditch to protect?
  • How will you know if it’s time for you to go?

Do you know your answer to these questions?

If you’re a leader, or someone who aspires to be a leader, I’ve learnt that having a personal leadership manifesto helps.

A personal manifesto is a document you write for yourself.

It’s there whenever you need to remind yourself what you stand for and what you believe in.

Whenever you’re really tested, open it and remind yourself what really matters.

What you stand for, what you will…

Short, sharp techniques for optimising your day

Sometimes you haven’t got time to mess about.

You just need the answer right away.

So, here are 5 of the best time management tips for success. Use them to to power through your day.

1. Batch Things Up

To really get a motor on you need to learn how to batch things up. Here are three different ways to do it.

Batch by task — organise to do your emails in one go.
Batch by time — define a time when you’ll do admin jobs like empty inboxes, tidy desk and file paperwork.

A four-phase plan for managing your distractions and making time for deliberate practice

When Malcolm Gladwell published “Outliers”, one of the most interesting suggestions he made was the theory that to achieve excellence in a field, you must spend 10,000 hours practicing your chosen topic.

The maths suggest if you work on something for 40 hours a week, it will take you five years to reach peak performance.

You already know becoming a great marketer happens over time by blending the development of skills, knowledge, and experience. That’s why mastery of any chosen profession is often a lifetime’s work.

I will not argue with that.

Instead, I’ve got a different suggestion to make…

Adam Cairns

Exploring the intersection between good organisation and creativity |Blog | Digital Garden |

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