Patrick Rhone has a gift. He takes things that seem ordinary, things that are so easily overlooked and helps you to see the opportunity in them. He doesn’t tell you how to do this. He doesn’t give you the paint by numbers. He makes you do the work, but shares how he goes about doing it himself. As I said in my review of his latest book, enough, “Rather than providing a checklist for being more mindful, it felt as if I was allowed to examine the benefits from a more mindful existence.”

Patrick shows you the potential in the ordinary and the ability to make everything, especially yourself, better. He’s also a voice of reason for needing less rather than more stuff to achieve that better self.

Without further ado, here’s a look at how Patrick Rhone, the creator of Minimal Mac and the thinker behind the enough book and podcast approaches his creative and productive pursuits.

Creativity

Have you always considered yourself a creative person?

Yes. I come from a family of creatives. My mother is an actress and director. Her mother was a world class concert pianist. So, it is in the genetics I guess.

What mediums and inspirations do you gravitate toward to realize your creative goals?

Well, as a writer I’m inspired by nearly everything in life. I’m in near constant search for an interesting story to tell and those can be had almost anywhere. Example:

The magnolias, having suffered a few years of neglect, were beginning to look more bush than tree. Renegade shoots and leaves covered the bottom blocking the sun from the other plants below. Therefore, loppers in hand, I set out to shape them back into a more beguiling form fitting their true nature.

That is simply the beginning of a story about my yard work from this afternoon. But, I also look for the often unseen connections between the mundane and the extraordinary.

For instance, the story of trimming a tree in order to shape it and help it grow could easily be a metaphor for our lives and a possible path to self-improvement. Trimming the excess that is sucking energy from the trunk is a pretty good idea for our lives as well.

As for mediums? Well, I like a saying a friend recently spoke to me which is “Paper is never passive”. I find much truth in this.

If you had to point to one thing, what specific posts or creations are you most proud of and why?

My two books — Keeping It Straight and Enough (note: please link to these???). Mainly because, well, writing books is a very hard thing. Writing a book one is proud of and that one believes can really make a difference is even harder. These two items represent the best of my work released thus far.

Any suggestions for those who feel they may not be creative enough to unlock their inner artist?

Sure. Stop lying to yourself. Sit down. Do the work. Seek constant improvement. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to those in the field you admire and ask for their suggestions. Take them to heart. Put them to practice. Then, sit down and do the work.

Creativity is not a blessing, it is a habit.

Productivity

Can you describe your current personal and professional responsibilities?

There is not enough space for this but let’s try…

Writer.  Podcaster. Blogger. Author. Essayist. Speaker. Technology Consultant. Father (of three, two are adults). Husband. Homeowner (of 3 houses). Lover. Fighter. Buddhist.

How do you go about balancing the personal, professional and digital?

With great care, some skill, and not nearly as much success as I would like. This is simply life and I do the best I can.

What tools and techniques do you find yourself counting on to get through your workload?

Pen and paper is essential. I always have both at hand.

OmniFocus for when things get to big for even pen and paper to manage.

I try not to remember life before my iPhone.

What is the best starting point for the unproductive amongst us, who are looking to get more organized?

Quantify everything that has your attention (or deserves it), decide what you need to do about it, then do it. That is the basis of every successful productivity method ever written.

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