The Daily Creative

The Daily Creative
Host Todd Henry (author of The Accidental Creative, Die Empty, Herding Tigers) shares daily tips, strategies, and provocations to help you unleash your best work each day.

And now… a brief hiatus…
May 24 • 1 min
The Daily Creative podcast is officially on hiatus until later this summer. There are 150 back episodes available until then. See you later this year!
Ego vs. Confidence?
May 23 • 2 min
What’s the difference between ego and condidence, and how do they play into the creative process and team dynamics?
Stability and Challenge
May 22 • 3 min
There are two key things that creative pros need. On this episode, I share a framework to help you talk with your manager about them.
Do The Little Things
May 21 • 3 min
Today, I share the story of a friend of mine who won a HUGE piece of business because of a little thing he did that made a big difference to the potential client.
A Strategy For Dealing With Distractions
May 20 • 2 min
The “ping” is always around us, luring and distracting us from our important work. On this episode, I share a strategy for dealing with those annoying distractions.
Who Makes The Call?
May 17 • 2 min
Clear lines of authority are critical to effective creative work. On this episode, I share why authority is important, and challenge you to consider where the authority lies with your current projects.
How Do I Get Into Public Speaking?
May 16 • 4 min
Another question I’m often asked is how to get into public speaking. On this episode, I share a few insights I’ve learned in my years giving dozens of presentations a year.
How Do I Get My Book Published?
May 15 • 4 min
It’s a question I’m asked often: how do I get my book published? On this episode, I share a few things I’ve learned about the world of traditional book publishing.
Tasks and Objectives
May 14 • 2 min
Why are there both tasks and objectives on the weekly plan sheet? On this episode, I share the difference between the two and how they relate.
Two Questions That Lead To Better Focus
May 13 • 2 min
Focus is a challenge in today’s hyper-distracted world. On this episode, I share two questions you can ask that will lead to deeper focus and more productive creativity.
A Powerful Question To Ask
May 10 • 2 min
If you manage a team, or have to collaborate with one, today’s episode offers a powerful question you can ask to increase trust and improve productivity.
Roles and Goals
May 9 • 3 min
You play various roles in your life, but how often are you mindful of them? On this episode, I share some ideas about identifying those roles and setting goals within them.
The Yellow Filter
May 8 • 3 min
When we see the world through a yellow filter, we fear making ourselves vulnerable, which is THE key component to effective creativity. On this episode, I offer a strategy for countering the yellow filter.
Envy and Gratitude
May 7 • 2 min
Ever find yourself stewing with envy over someone else’s opportunities? It could be affecting your creativity. Today, I explain why.
Anger and Expectations
May 6 • 2 min
Ever find yourself getting angry and you don’t even know why? Often it’s due to unmet expectations, even if they were unspoken ones.
How Important Is Thick Skin?
May 3 • 3 min
Jim says, “I’ve often used the phrase thick skin/sharp mind/pure heart. Howimportant is that thick skin? Creative work is intensely personal. Weget deeply invested in what we’re doing, and we don’t always takecriticism well. What are some things…
Hibernation vs. Drifting
May 2 • 3 min
Monicka asks, “Hibernation vs Drifting. How do you tell them apart, and do you know where you stand?” On this episode, I share some differences between incubation phase and just bouncing from thing to thing.
Recovering From Burnout
May 1 • 4 min
What do you do when you’re burned out? How do you recover? On this episode, I share a few ideas.
Your Body Of Work
Apr 30 • 2 min
Juli asks about the concept of a body of work and how she should think about building her own.
How To Use Note Cards and Notebooks
Apr 29 • 3 min
Stan asks how I use note cards and notebooks to capture thoughts and ideas.
How To Time Block
Apr 26 • 4 min
David says, “I would love to hear more about time blocking daily and weekly so one can focus on what matters.”
Creative vs. Operations
Apr 25 • 5 min
Eric says, “I’d love to hear about balancing operations work with design. As a creative leader I naturally want to spend as much time as possible helping my team make their work. However i spend a lot of time helping operations folks.”
Making Time For What’s Most Important
Apr 24 • 3 min
Mahin asks “I’d like to hear more about developing the discipline to keep my day balanced. My current struggle is not giving in to the pressure to get more planning/promo/desk work done and sacrifice other things like sleep and getting to the gym.
How To Elevate The Value of Design
Apr 23 • 4 min
Terri asks about ways to change perceptions that others might have about your design team to help them understand where designers can have real value on a project, as opposed to just making it look like a nice product.
Share Your Point Of View Without Being Unkind
Apr 22 • 3 min
Jonathan asks how to share and defend a contrary point of view without being unkind to the other person. On this episode I share a few tips.
How To Know When To Pivot Or Quit
Apr 19 • 3 min
Timothy wants to know when it’s time to pivot a project or quit it altogether. On this episode, I share one of my favorite resources to help you make that decision.
How Do You Identify Your Craft?
Apr 18 • 3 min
Jenny asks how to identify your craft. How do you begin to build a body of work that’s unique to you? On this episode, I share a few thoughts about how to get started.
Open Office Seating? Really?
Apr 17 • 4 min
Dave asks about whether open office seating really helps with the creativity of the organization, especially when people are tasked with doing deep creative work. On this episode, I share my thoughts.
Becoming Rejection Proof
Apr 16 • 3 min
Jia Jiang was paralyzed by a fear of rejection, so he decided to do something about it. On this episode, I share what Jia did to make himself “rejection proof”.
Finding Your Yodas
Apr 15 • 2 min
Who are the first people you call when something great happens, or when something bad happens? Who helps you think through opportunities? On this episode, I share an example of how my “core team” helped me through a decision.
Two Powerful Questions
Apr 12 • 3 min
On this episode, I share two powerful questions to ask someone who reports to you. They will create openness and accountability on your team.
Turning Information Into Wisdom
Apr 11 • 5 min
How do you turn information you encounter into something practical and helpful? On this episode, I answer Lisa’s question about a Dee Hock quote I’m fond of sharing.
When NOT To Work For Free
Apr 10 • 3 min
As a complement to yesterday’s show about when to work for free, here are a few thoughts about when NOT to work for free.
When To Work For Free
Apr 9 • 4 min
How do you know when to do work for free? You need some set of criteria you use to evaluate these opportunities. On this episode, I share mine.
How Can Creative Pros Work Better With Project Managers?
Apr 8 • 3 min
On this episode, Jim asks how creative pros can work well with project managers, and minimize the tension between the logistical and creative sides of a project.
Performing Well During Transitions
Apr 5 • 2 min
Bryon asks, “What is your best advice for performing at peak levels, maybe even above and beyond, during difficult organizational transitions?” On this episode, I share a multitude of ideas for dealing with difficult transitions.
How To Follow-Up With Unresponsive Prospects
Apr 4 • 4 min
Julie asks “My question is around pitch / business proposal follow-ups, specifically strategies for how to follow up with a prospective new client a few times without seeming to be annoying or pushy.” On this episode, I share a few strategies.
Staying Creative Mid-Career
Apr 3 • 3 min
Craig asks, “How can I stay creative in the midst of a plateau in my work career, instead of always daydreaming of switching jobs?” On this episode I share about building a diverse creative portfolio.
Crafting Your Point Of View
Apr 2 • 4 min
Erin asks how someone can craft a point of view that’s unique and compelling. On this episode, I share the five pillars of a resonant voice.
Some Cool Tools
Apr 1 • 3 min
Dustin wants to know which tools I use most frequently to keep my work organized and to keep me productive. On this episode, I share several.
Dealing With A Difficult Organization
Mar 29 • 3 min
Find yourself caught in the middle of an unhealthy organization? It’s a tough place to be. On this episode, I offer some principles for deciding when you should move on.
Runway and Overhead
Mar 28 • 4 min
Money is a wonderful servant and a terrible master. On this episode, I share some ideas for how to keep money from becoming the obstacle to your best creative work.
Dealing With A Difficult Co-Worker
Mar 27 • 3 min
They’re all around us - difficult co-workers. The person that always seems to rub you the wrong way. On this episode, I offer three quick principles for dealing with that person you can’t seem to get along with.
How To Deal With A Bad Boss
Mar 26 • 4 min
At some point in your career, you’ll have a bad boss. On this episode, I share a few tips for how to deal with that very difficult situation.
Speaking Truth To Power
Mar 25 • 3 min
At some point in you career, you will have to challenge an idea or direction that someone you report to is championing. On this episode, I offer some thoughts for how to do it in a way that protects both your organization and your own career.
How To Write A Book
Mar 22 • 1 min
On this episode I offer some counter-intuitive advice to one of the most commonly asked questions I get: how do you write a book?
Grow Your Life, Don’t Build It
Mar 21 • 2 min
Your life is the result of seeds you plan, not plans you draw. How are you planting seeds today that will bear fruit tomorrow?
The Lag
Mar 20 • 2 min
Often people give up during the gap between cause and effect, and they miss out on the benefits of their labor. Don’t give in to the “lag”.
No Conflict Is No Good
Mar 19 • 3 min
Many leaders believe that a lack of conflict on their team is a sign of health. It’s not. Great teams fight, they just do it in a healthy way.
Keeper Of The Flame
Mar 18 • 2 min
Your productive passion is like a quiet fire that burns just beneath the surface of your daily activity. You must do whatever it takes to protect the flame.
Recovering From A Bad Decision
Mar 15 • 4 min
When you fail, it’s tempting to want to shift the blame or cover it up. However, it’s a mark of character to accept your mistake and try to make it right. On this episode, I share a few core principles for doing so.
A Lesson From The Beavers
Mar 14 • 3 min
On this episode, I share the story of a chance encounter with a shoe shiner who re-framed my understanding of what it means to bring your unique self to your work each day.
The Portfolio and the Slot Machine
Mar 13 • 2 min
There are two mindsets we can adopt with our time: portfolio, and slot machine. One is about short-term payoff, the other is about investments that will bear out over time.
Over To You
Mar 12 • 1 min
I want YOUR questions for the Daily Creative podcast. Send them to [email protected], or visit Let me know what you’d like to hear about.
I Am Not Chris Thile (And That’s OK)
Mar 11 • 4 min
On this episode, I share some thoughts about when your creative ambition outpaces your creative abilities, and the meaning of “closing the gap” according to Ira Glass.
Noun, or Verb?
Mar 8 • 2 min
On this episode I share a conversation I had recently with Austin Kleon about the nature of creative work, and why some people are more interested in being known for a thing than for actually doing that thing.
The Work, Not Its Fruit
Mar 7 • 3 min
On this episode, I share a quote from the Bhagavad Gita that I learned from Steven Pressfield, and how it made me re-think my motives in my work.
Missiles and Micro-Alignments
Mar 6 • 3 min
A missile is only truly “on target” for the very last moments of its journey. It is constantly re-calculating and re-calibrating along the way to keep it on course. The same must be true for you and your goals.
Use More Of The Hoop
Mar 5 • 3 min
How a basketball lesson from my dad taught me how to better manage my time and resources.
Safety Is Not An Option
Mar 4 • 2 min
The meaning behind a (somewhat scary?) bumper sticker I once made for a team I led, and why the safe choice is sometimes the most dangerous choice we can make.
Three Signs Your Team Lacks Accountability
Mar 1 • 3 min
Trust is essential for creative teams, but there is no trust without accountability. On this episode, I offer three signs that your team lacks the appropriate accountability, and how to spot and over come them.
Shifting Your Goals
Feb 28 • 3 min
There are three signs that the goals you’ve set for yourself are no longer worth pursuing. On this episode, I share each of them and how they affect your drive and ability to engage with your ambitions.
Seasonal Callings
Feb 27 • 4 min
You’ve probably heard the phrase “calling” at some point in your life. For some people, it means the over-riding thing that they feel they must pursue. However, callings have seasons. It’s important to pay attention to the clues that your calling might be
Who Are You Competing With?
Feb 26 • 2 min
We rise to the level of our competition. It’s a principle in sports, and it’s a principle in our creative lives and careers as well. On this episode, I challenge you to consider who you’re competing with and why.
Dealing With The Weight Of What’s Undone
Feb 25 • 4 min
It’s not just the work on our plate that pressures us, it’s the weight of all of the things we know we’ll be accountable for later. On this episode, I share a few strategies for dealing with the weight of what’s undone.
Permanent, Pervasive, Personal
Feb 22 • 2 min
On this episode I share some research from Martin Seligman about how we internalize experiences, and how our narratives can curb our ability to take creative or career risks.
The “How” of Empathy
Feb 21 • 2 min
We hear the word empathy tossed around a lot in the marketplace, but what does it really mean? How do we actually cultivate empathy and utilize it in our work? On this episode, I share a four-part process for doing so.
The Right Time For Ideas
Feb 20 • 2 min
Even a great idea that’s poorly timed will fail. On this episode, I share an idea for helping you hone your timing instincts and get ideas into the world at the right moment.
I Failed! Here’s What Happened Next.
Feb 19 • 4 min
Failure is inevitable, but don’t allow failure to be the result of a lack of accountability or perspective. We need others in our lives to point out our shortcomings and the errors in our thinking. On this episode, I share an instance of when that happene
Sealed Envelopes
Feb 18 • 2 min
Are you a control freak? I am. However, that’s not good for your creative process, and it’s terrible for your team if you are a leader. On this episode, I share how Dwight Eisenhower taught a staff member to take ownership of the details.
Checkpoints and Road Signs
Feb 15 • 4 min
Without regular checkpoints in your life, it’s easy to get off-course and not even realize it. On this episode, I share how a trip to France demonstrated the necessity of regular calibration.
The U Shaped Creative Process
Feb 14 • 2 min
On this episode, I share about a converation I had with the brilliant Lisa Congdon about the nature of the creative process, and why the middle part is often the most difficult.
The Village
Feb 13 • 3 min
There are many narratives that keep people - all of us - at bay and prevent us from taking creative risks. Are there any narratives that are limiting your engagement or your sense of what might be possible for you?
Simple and Clear
Feb 12 • 2 min
Unnecessary complexity gives rise to simple and stupid behavior. Do something today to prune needless complexity and overly-confusing processes.
Cool Tool: Scribd
Feb 11 • 2 min
On this episode I share a reading tool that has completely transformed my study time. It’s essentially the “Netflix for books”, and my reading has increased in both breadth and depth since I started using it.
Change Your Mind
Feb 8 • 3 min
To some people, changing your mind – especially in a highly public way – has become sin number one. If a politician or business leader evolves in their understanding of a topic, we call them a flip flopper. If someone alters their once-fierce…
Pick Up The Phone
Feb 7 • 3 min
Today I share a simple method I used to use to encourage my team, my peers, and others that I encountered in my work. Others want to know that they are seen, known, and valued.
The Power Of A Note
Feb 6 • 2 min
I have a file folder full of note cards that I’ve received from people over time. There’s something very powerful about receiving a word of encouragement or thanks from someone in the form of a note. Who in your world needs to receive a note of thanks or
Feb 5 • 2 min
Yes, read tips and advice articles and take value from them. That’s fine. (I do too.) But remember that at the end of your life, no one will care how many productivity hacks and tips you know. All that will stand – as a monument to your life’s…
It’s Winter! Take Care Of Yourself.
Feb 4 • 3 min
This time of year (in the northern hemisphere!) can be a challenge. On this episode, I share a few insights about how to take care of yourself during this very confining season.
Quick Success vs. Enduring Success
Feb 1 • 2 min
It’s February! On this episode, I share one of my favorite quotes by one of my favorite thinkers (Thomas Merton), and how it challenged me to consider whether I’m making decisions according to my calling, or according to what others would do in my situati
Grab The Pruning Shears
Jan 31 • 1 min
What very good thing in your life needs to go away so that something better can be born in its place? It’s important to consistently prune so that you have the energy necessary to do your important work.
Normalization of Deviance
Jan 30 • 2 min
Is there any area of your life where you’re normalizing behavior that isn’t healthy? If you lead a team, are you “normalizing deviance” with your team members? Are you doing it in your own life? Don’t confuse delayed consequences with no consequences.
Declaring Undeclarables
Jan 29 • 2 min
Are you making promises that you may not be able to keep? Are you offering things that you can’t deliver? If so, you might be losing the trust of the people you count on.
Don’t Let Your Rituals Become Ruts
Jan 28 • 1 min
Are your systems serving you, or is it the other way around? On this episode, I offer some thoughts about how to create adaptive rhythms.
Make A Decision
Jan 25 • 2 min
When you fail to make a decision, you gunk up the works of your creative process. Where in your life are you failing to make a key decision, and how might it be affecting you?
The Coaching Habit
Jan 24 • 2 min
On this episode, I recommend a fantastic book by Michael Bungay Stanier called The Coaching Habit, and why I love it so much.
3 Questions To Ask a Mentor
Jan 23 • 2 min
Hopefully you have a mentor who can help you make decisions and stay inspired and engaged. What do you do when you talk with them? On this episode, I share three powerful questions to ask a mentor.
Jan 22 • 2 min
Do you have a group of people you meet with routinely to discuss your work, your life, what’s inspiring you, and where you’re stuck? If not, you’re missing out on a key source of creative inspiration.
Identity, Vision, Mastery
Jan 21 • 3 min
There are three elements that drive a compelling, resonant voice. They are identity, vision, and mastery. Do you have all three? If not, what are you doing to develop those areas where you’re lacking?
Die Empty
Jan 18 • 3 min
What does “die empty” mean? Does it just mean “leave it all on the field”? Well, not really. On this episode, I explain.
How To Make Decisions
Jan 17 • 3 min
How do you make an important decision? Do you go with your gut? Your head? Your peers or influences? On this episode, I share a simply 4-S framework for making important decisions.
Trash Day
Jan 16 • 4 min
What I learned from my personal response to a weekly neighborhood ritual, and how it applies to life and work.
How To Define Excellence
Jan 15 • 3 min
How do you define excellence in your work? I propose a three-fold definition, and on this episode I explain why you need all three in order to truly produce excellence consistently.
Slow, Steady, Deliberate
Jan 14 • 3 min
How many times have you heard the phrase “slow and steady wins the race” trumpeted as a recipe for success? The problem? While is essence it’s a solid principle, the way it’s applied is often more harmful than helpful. Slow and steady…
This Might Not Work
Jan 11 • 2 min
We put a lot of undue pressure on ourselves by insisting upon success every time. On this episode, we discuss this dynamic, and how to apply Seth Godin’s ethic of “this might not work.”
What Is “Accidental”?
Jan 10 • 2 min
What does “accidental creative” mean? We want to position ourselves at dangerous intersections, where creative insights are likely to occur. On this episode, I explain how.
The Value Of Copying
Jan 9 • 2 min
Is it always wrong to copy someone else? Or, can copying others serve a valuable purpose in your creative process? On this episode, I explain the phrase “cover bands don’t change the world.”
Everything Great Once Was Not
Jan 8 • 2 min
It’s easy to allow “expecation escalation” to rob you of your best work. Are you comparing your in-process work with the absolute best thing that you’ve ever seen or experienced?
Get Your Reps In
Jan 7 • 2 min
When you’re learning a new craft or developing in your career, sometimes the best thing you can do is to simply “get your reps in”. On this episode, I explain what that means and how to do it.