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  • The Weekly Briefly: Thriving in the Midst of Tension

    Fri 2:35pm By Shawn Blanc
    On today’s episode of The Weekly Briefly: thriving in the midst of the tensions between our time, ideas, and focus. If I were to boil my upcoming book down to just two themes, one of them would be this. The … (More)✚
  • ✚ The Procrastinator’s Guide to Progress

    Wed 6:18pm By Shawn Blanc
    As you may or may not know, a few weeks ago I started an email newsletter. It’s called The Fight Spot. It goes out every Wednesday (like today!), and it’s about creativity, focus, and risk. All of which are moving … (More)
  • ‘Just Kids’

    Wed 3:18pm By Shawn Blanc
    This is the brand-new album from Mat Kearney, and it’s fantastic. I’m a huge fan Young Love and City of Black & White (“Here we Go” has long been up there in my list of favorite songs). And as a … (More)✚
  • AnyList is our favorite grocery shopping list app

    Tue 1:58pm By Shawn Blanc
    Jeff Abbott wrote our latest app review for The Sweet Setup: We’ve covered several other list apps previously, such as our favorite simple list-making app (Clear), our favorite GTD app (OmniFocus), and our favorite shared list app (Wunderlist). Why spend ……
  • A Review of the Tom Bihn Synapse 19 Backpack

    Tue 1:48pm By Shawn Blanc
    This week’s continuation of bag reviews on Tools & Toys is Stephen Hackett’s Synapse 19: As you can see from the photos, I opted for the black exterior, but instead of my normal choice of gray, I decided to live … (More)✚
  • ✚ Living proof that focus and diligence are moving targets

    Feb 23, 2015, 2:48 pm By Shawn Blanc
    I was scared to death to tell everyone I was quitting my job to try and be a full-time “blogger”. I had been writing this site on the side for several years, but in 2011 I decided to quit my … (More)
  • Make beautiful products (Sponsor)

    Feb 23, 2015, 1:48 pm By Shawn Blanc
    Whether you’re a designer, manager, or developer Sprintly is for you. It’s Agile project management that works. Designers can collaborate effortlessly with other team members: it makes hand-off between designers and developers especially easy. Developers…
  • The Integrity Snowball

    Feb 20, 2015, 1:21 pm By Shawn Blanc
    On this week’s episode of my podcast, The Weekly Briefly: how putting your shoes away in the same spot can help you write that novel. No, seriously. It can be frustrating to “start small” with our goals. But making small … (More)✚
  • Alto’s Adventure

    Feb 20, 2015, 1:18 pm By Shawn Blanc
    Alto’s Adventure is a brand new game for iOS, and it’s absolutely fantastic. The artwork alone is magnificent (I seriously would love some prints of these game screenshots). The music and sound effects are excellent (you should play with headphones ……
  • Behind the App

    Feb 18, 2015, 2:05 pm By Shawn Blanc
    My friends Myke Hurley and Stephen Hackett have completely raised the bar in terms of indie tech podcasts. This “reboot” of Inquisitive — a podcast I’ve long been a fan of — is just fantastic. If you’re a fan of … (More)✚
  • Review of the SIRUI Travel Tripod

    Feb 18, 2015, 2:01 pm By Shawn Blanc
    If you think a review of a travel tripod sounds boring, allow Álvaro Serrano to prove you wrong. ✚✚
  • ✚ Honesty, Clarity, and Action

    Feb 17, 2015, 9:59 am By Shawn Blanc
    My friend, Justin Jackson, wrote an article about the potential pitfalls of following in your heroes’ footsteps. He writes: As creators, there’s a temptation to seek out our heroes and ask them how they achieved their success. We think if … (More)
  • Why Procrastination Robs Us From Doing Our Best Creative Work

    Feb 13, 2015, 4:58 pm By Shawn Blanc
    On this week’s episode of The Weekly Briefly: creativity, fear, and procrastination. If fear is what keeps us from doing work that matters, procrastination is what keeps us from reaching our potential. Sponsored by: Thou Shalt Hustle: A practical guide ……
  • ✚ Procrastination

    Feb 11, 2015, 6:16 pm By Shawn Blanc
    My grandmother used to say, “don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today.” Tomorrow will have enough craziness of its own, right? All through high school and college, I pretty much lived the opposite of my grandmother’s advice. … (More)
  • The Weekly Briefly: The Inbox Conundrum

    Feb 9, 2015, 4:45 pm By Shawn Blanc
    A few days ago I announced a new email newsletter I’ll be sending out every week. On this week’s episode of The Weekly Briefly — my apologies that it’s a few days late — I answer the question as to … (More)✚
  • Thou Shalt Hustle (Sponsor)

    Feb 9, 2015, 1:01 pm By Shawn Blanc
    Thou Shalt Hustle is about overcoming obstacles and breaking down barriers. Pursue a more meaningful and fulfilling life by focusing not only on doing things right doing but also doing the right things. The book looks at productivity through a … (More)✚
  • Offscreen Magazine, Issue 10

    Feb 9, 2015, 10:07 am By Shawn Blanc
    This has got to be one of the best issues of Offscreen Magazine to date. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I say that about every issue. Well if so, it’s only because the quality of Offscreen magazine … (More)✚
  • My Next Book: ‘The Power of a Focused Life’

    Feb 6, 2015, 3:48 pm By Shawn Blanc
    Big news: I’m writing another book. I’ve been hinting at this on the site since last summer, and site members who’ve been listening to Shawn Today have heard quite a bit about it as well. The book has now reached … (More)✚
  • SubTropolis

    Feb 6, 2015, 3:33 pm By Shawn Blanc
    Patrick Clark and Connie Zhou put together a pretty great photo essay on SubTropolis, the giant and mostly unknown underground business complex we have here in Kansas City. It’s a 55 million square-foot space, and it represents about 10-percent of ……
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Vinyl

    Feb 4, 2015, 1:52 pm By Shawn Blanc
    Tyler Hays (with help from Chris Gonzales and John Carey) wrote an awesome primer to getting started with vinyl — from turntables to preamps to speakers to where to still buy vinyl records. The point of vinyl, here in 2015, … (More)✚
  • What Happens When You Unfollow Everyone on the Internet

    4:47pm By Shawn Blanc
    Helena Price: What if we made more active decisions about how we spent our Internet time? If we weren’t bogged down maintaining our inboxes and social networks, who would we set out to meet or get to know better? If … (More)✚
  • This Great, Noble Venture

    4:12pm By Shawn Blanc
    I was recently a guest on Robert McGinley Myers’ podcast, Anxious Machine. We talked about connecting with people, finding meaning in our tools, and a bit about how I got into my career as a full-time writer. Rob is an … (More)✚
  • Build, Maintain, Rest

    Jan 30, 2015, 9:49 pm By Shawn Blanc
    On today’s episode of The Weekly Briefly, I talk about how there is more than one way to help us keep on track with doing our most important work day in and day out. And it goes beyond just white-knuckle … (More)✚
  • Sponsorship Opportunities

    Jan 29, 2015, 4:10 pm By Shawn Blanc
    If you’ve got something awesome you’d like to promote to the readerships here on and on Tools & Toys, then I’ve got some sponsorship openings available for you. And since February is still a bit open, I’m discounting the … (More)✚
  • Obsidian

    Jan 29, 2015, 4:00 pm By Shawn Blanc
    Speaking of typefaces, Obsidian is a new one from Hoefler & Co., and it’s pretty ingenious. The typeface itself has its own set of logic and rules for how the decorative shading is drawn, how the swash caps are rendered, … (More)✚
  • Typographer’s Typefaces

    Jan 29, 2015, 3:46 pm By Shawn Blanc
    From the 8 Faces blog: Over four years and across eight issues we interviewed 64 world-renowned designers1, including; Erik Spiekermann, Jessica Hische, Michael Bierut, Nina Stössinger, Mark Simonson & Seb Lester, plus owners of respected type foundries such…
  • Outlook for iOS

    Jan 29, 2015, 11:39 am By Shawn Blanc
    So this morning Microsoft shipped what looks like a pretty great email app for the iPhone and iPad. It works with Exchange,, iCloud, Google, and Yahoo emails. And you can also connect to your Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, … (More)✚
  • Review of the Tom Bihn Parental Unit

    Jan 28, 2015, 10:59 am By Shawn Blanc
    Over on Tools & Toys, Erin Brooks wrote a review of the Tom Bihn Parental Unit. It’s a diaper bag that doesn’t suck: The market for diaper bags is pretty flooded — there are trendy diaper bags, designer fashion diaper … (More)✚
  • HipChat (Sponsor)

    Jan 26, 2015, 11:26 am By Shawn Blanc
    For much too long email has been the main medium for communication at work. While email isn’t going away, team communication platforms like HipChat are allowing for more collaborative and productive communication experiences between co-workers. HipChat…
  • Your Best Creative Work, Part II

    Jan 23, 2015, 4:20 pm By Shawn Blanc
    Last week’s episode of The Weekly Briefly was about technology. And, more specifically, how technology helps us to do our best creative work. This week’s show is about another aspect of doing our best creative work: our inner work life. … (More)✚
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