For the second full day of South by Southwest, I chose to focus on sessions that focused on individuals and their careers, rather than office work. I’ll admit, part of this was weather related. It is rainy and chilly here (for Texas), and my thinking was that I’d stick to a thematic track, and thus stay in one location and not have to go out in the weather. Even if that was one of my reasons for choosing these sessions, they ended up being very informative and beneficial overall.

Session 1: Inspired Design: Creativity and Meditation

I’ve been curious about meditation for quite a while because I’ve heard it can help relieve stress. I tend to be stressed – somehow a chronic inability to say no and a constant need to please lead to a stressful life. Go figure. Anyway, this presentation was great. The speaker started out with an introduction to meditation and some of its benefits. She led us all on a guided meditation (which was awkward at first, but ended up being great). And she did the best thing a panel leader can do: she gave takeaways for how to continue the practice when we go home.

To read a recap of this presentation, check out my Storify summary at: Inspired Design: Creativity and Meditation

Session 2: Turning a Blank Page Into a Winning Idea

This presentation was excellent. A cartoonist for The New Yorker and Texas Montly (Matthew Diffee) and an ideation guru from Edelman PR (JB Hopkins) were led in a discussion by moderator Henry Copeland about the processes they use in brainstorming. There were many, many great take-aways from this presentation. I am looking forward to putting some of them into practice myself. Conveniently enough the 3M tent at SXSW provides the supplies I’ll need!

To read a recap of this presentation, check out my Storify summary at: Turning a Blank Page Into a Winning Idea

Session 3: A Conversation with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

I was only able to catch the lifestream of this, and the feed cut out halfway through. I plan to catch it later in the month when the SXSW organizers upload video feeds. All I can say is this guy is incredibly funny, insanely knowledgeable and amazingly down-to-Earth (for an astrophysicist). If you haven’t seen him before, Google his interview on the Jon Stewart show. Tyson will be hosting the Cosmos series that debuts tomorrow night on Fox and National Geographic. I definitely plan to watch!

Cosmos 2014 TV Show

For my afternoon sessions, I switched to a more direct emphasis on productivity.

Productivity Scrabble Tiles

Session 4: Redesign Your Life

In this session a professional organizer, a user interface designer, a product designer, and an information architect demonstrated how the skills and tools they use in their day jobs can be used to organize your life. This session inspired me to tackle some of the mundane to-dos that have been on my task list for… well, let’s just say for a long time. I’m giving myself a deadline, facing them head on and getting them off my plate.

To read a recap of this presentation, check out my Storify summary at: Redesign Your Life

Session 5: Mindful Productivity in a World of Interruption

This session brought together the minds behind Time Management Ninja,, and Marc and Angel Hack Life. These blogs advocate for increased productivity through mindful behavior. There were a ton of ideas shared here. Many I’d heard before (since I actively read their blogs), but there were some great new takeaways nonetheless. If you are feeling distracted, disrupted or frequently find your focus being diverted, you definitely should read their tips. They also provided a link to a living document of resources, which I will definitely be checking out:

To read a recap of this presentation, check out my Storify summary at: Mindful Productivity in a World of Interruption

Images: Flickr user Sean MacEntee; Alternative Press; Flickr user JogiBaer2