In this bonus episode, Leo interviews expert Jocelyn Glei, who has shifted her expertise from productivity to a slower, deeper approach to work.

This is an incredible episode filled with wisdom and tools for accessing a deeper creativity. Must listen!

Topics Covered

  • Leo interviews Jocelyn Glei, a former productivity expert who transitioned to a more transformative, slower approach to work
  • Jocelyn's background includes working with 99U, creating the 99U conference, and writing a book on email productivity
  • Jocelyn's burnout led her to start the "Hurry Slowly" podcast and explore personal and collective transformation
  • The importance of moving away from mainstream productivity and embracing a slower, more inquisitive, and heartfelt approach to work
  • The shift from productivity to receptivity and how it can lead to more efficient and sustainable outcomes
  • Restorative activities that involve doing something different to refresh one's mindset
  • Fear, particularly related to scheduling and deadlines, as a common obstacle to maintaining a receptive state during work
  • The limitations of the expert mode, which can be rigid and uncreative
  • Leaning towards the experimental side to open up opportunities for creativity and learning from creative mistakes
  • The fear associated with not having a strict plan but highlights the beauty in unexpected outcomes
  • The importance of self-trust and leaning into imperfections
  • Creating systems to collect and revisit creative insights

Jocelyn's Resources


Leo Babauta: Welcome to the Zen Habits podcast, where we dive into how to work with uncertainty, resistance, and fear around our meaningful work. This is for anyone who wants to create an impact in the world and cares deeply enough to do the work. I'm your host, Leo Pabauta, creator of the Zen Habits blog.

So my guest today, her name is Jocelyn Gley. She is someone I met when she was working with 99U which was a website about productivity and creativity. And she also created the 99U conference. So this was back in from 2009 to 2015. And during that time she wrote a book about email called Unsubscribe and started a bestselling 99U book series on productivity and making your work.

So she was this kind of accidental. productivity expert and working at a startup and doing some really amazing things. Then she started to burn out from her own overachieving attendances. And this led to a huge shift for herself. She started a podcast called Hurry Slowly, exploring personal and collective transformation.

She started online courses in communities called Reset, High Five, Radiate, Tender Discipline. And she has a great newsletter that's free that I would highly recommend subscribing to because she's got some great stuff in there, including some great links. I really want to acknowledge the thing about Jocelyn that I love, which is that she has rejected a really mainstream thing about society, which is to really be incredibly productive, moving fast.

Churning out stuff and what she's come to is a deeper, slower place that is more transformative, more inquisitive, more heartfelt. And I really love that about her. So please enjoy this conversation that I had with her. All right. Well, welcome Jocelyn. Thanks for being on the podcast. Yeah,

Jocelyn Glei: it's a pleasure to be here and to be in your presence in the almost 3D world.

Leo Babauta: And you and I. have kind of like virtually known each other for a while, but this is the first time we're actually talking to each other. So it's cool to like finally make a deeper connection

Jocelyn Glei: with you. Yeah, totally. I love this phenomenon of having these sort of internet friends who you finally get to witness in person after a very long time.

Leo Babauta: I, one thing that's really interesting for me is that I've been, so I've been witnessing your work and admiring you from afar. And you've made. A big shift in, in that, and I'd love to just touch on that real quick. Cause when I first knew you, you were. Like an editor and a writer and like, kind of in the productivity space.

Is that right? Yeah, definitely. Yeah. And what was your role back then? I'm trying to remember. It was with I feel like it was with Behance. Is that right?

Jocelyn Glei: It was. Yeah. Do you want me to just do the whole arc?

Leo Babauta: Yeah. Just a little bit. The brief version.

Jocelyn Glei: Yeah. So, I mean, I guess, how many years ago is this now?

It's 2023. So let's say, 10, 12, 13 years ago, something like that. I was working at Behance, which for people who don't know, it is sort of like a LinkedIn for the creative world where people host their creative portfolios. And I was running this almost like kind of startup within that startup that was called 99U.

And it was a website and a book series that I created and a book annual conference that we would do every year at Lincoln Center in New York City. And it was all about how creative people make their ideas happen. So kind of getting into that like nitty gritty of how people really, build creative careers and push their ideas forward and invent amazing things.

And as part of that a lot of, and so I was You know, editing, conducting and editing interviews and publishing articles and, curating speakers on stage to talk about these types of topics and in the process while I was there, and I think I was there from about 2009 to 2010. 15. So let's say about six years.

I ended up getting really deep into studying kind of productivity and creativity and doing a lot of writing about that and doing a lot of interviewing about that. And, reading tons of research around it and. That was really new for me at the time, like I wasn't, before I moved into that role, I wasn't in that sort of sphere, and so it was kind of a whole new type of writing, and a whole new way of presenting things, and kind of getting into that how to mindset, and and So that kind of opened up this whole world for me and I myself at the time was kind of in parallel someone who was working on writing projects on the side and very invested myself as a creative and kind of understanding better of like how I could kind of Push my creative ideas forward and so I just really got like immersed in this world of productivity and of creativity and learning a lot about that and writing in that style and editing in that style and at a certain point what I kind of Realized when I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself, but so eventually I transitioned out of that role and I went out on my own First, I launched a blog and then I launched a newsletter and then I launched my podcast that I've been doing since 2017 now, which is called hurry slowly.

And then from there I started moving into doing some online courses of which I've done many at this point. And when I started the podcast, when I started hurry slowly, I was already kind of sitting with, all of this kind of all of these ideas and this energy from that productivity world and kind of looking at all of the sort of problems that I had seen, especially with creative people, that it that kind of mindset created for them.

Really, this kind of was really looking at initially when I started the podcast is kind of over busy, over stimulated, overwhelmed way in which everyone was working. And it was kind of pushing back on that and saying, let's explore, what's a more sustainable, healthier way in which we can be working one that's much more supportive of creativity.

And so that was kind of where the podcast started, but that was still kind of plugged in to this productivity ethos, right? It was well, you can still be productive, but like, let's do it in a kind of slower, more sustainable sort of way. So it's the

Leo Babauta: same kind of view just with a shift.

Jocelyn Glei: Yeah, it was sort of, I mean, I was looking at sustainability, I was looking at doing it in a healthful way, but I was still sort of immersed in that idea a bit. And. Over the years, as I kind of continued doing the podcast, what I realized was that, what we really needed was to be healed from this obsession with productivity itself.

And so the podcast started to kind of move even more away from that. And now it's. It's more in a space where I'm kind of reflecting on culture and consciousness and healing and really kind of shining a light on some of the, kind of toxic, extractive pieces of that, productivity ethos that really gets kind of buried within us.

Yeah. So that's kind of, that's kind of the arc. And it's funny. I kind of think of it almost as like this, like underworld journey, where I had to like totally immerse into like the space of productivity and kind of developing some expertise there in order to kind of be like, Oh, like this is the thing that we need to heal, this obsession with productivity.

Leo Babauta: That's fascinating. Thanks for sharing that, that journey. And there's just so much of it that I relate to when I started my blog, even though it was called Zen Habits, it was very much like, getting things done and productivity and efficiency. And it was like, I kind of needed to get as good at that as possible before I like, I finally saw how bankrupt it was.

So yeah, I can relate and and I've been really inspired by what you've been exploring, since you started to hurry slowly, which is an incredible name for a podcast, by the way, and like, and just how how thoughtful how much deeper your considerations are, and then, Thank Like, I'm really struck by how much more humanity is in your writing than maybe before, but definitely compared to like people who are still writing in that productivity space.

It's really beautiful. Yeah. Thank you. So the thing that I wanted to bring some curiosity towards in this conversation is something you talked about in your most recent newsletter. Or at least as we're talking, I think it was the most recent newsletter you put out. It was called the illusion of efficiency.

And there was a line in there that you put in bold, which was very helpful. So thank you for highlighting the most important line. Once I started focusing on receptivity rather than productivity, everything got a lot easier and I loved, love, love that. And I'm like, we are talking about that in the podcast.

And you gave an example before that. Of of how that looked in your life as you sat down, could you walk us through that? Because I thought it was such a beautiful, I could remind you of it if you haven't, if it was a while ago since you wrote it,

Jocelyn Glei: but it was such a beautiful example. I remember.

Okay. Yeah. Yeah, I was working actually on this new course that I'm creating and, as most of us do when we work or when we do knowledge work, at least I was, sitting at my desk. I have like a notebook in front of me and I have my computer in front of me and, I had this. I got this just sort of, I was thinking about how I was going to structure the course, and I got this little feeling of like, like, there's a more, interesting, new, innovative way that I can structure this.

Like, what is it? And as I was sitting there, I kind of paused and I was like, okay, like I can feel something that wants to come in, I can kind of feel this idea that wants to come into me. What's the best way that I can kind of open up and let it in, and for me, I find that way to open up is almost never sitting at my desk, hunched over a computer actively trying to make, the idea.

Come that idea that we were talking about before of this kind of extractive modality. So I kind of just got up from my desk and I walked across to another room and I just sat down in, meditation and just took some deep breaths to kind of relax my body and then just sat there quietly.

And, as soon as my system kind of calmed down, it was just like, Boom. Okay. It came in, and I had this, I just kind of received, like, it was like, Oh, you can do it like this, and you can structure it this way. And it was quite different in certain ways from what I had expected.

This was, I've course I've think I've done four courses now. This is the fifth course I've done. So, As happens when we have things that we do again and again, and we start to develop certain expectations and we start to develop certain structures and, we feel kind of comfortable within them.

And so we want to continue to work in them. And this allowed me to kind of be like, Oh, this is kind of a new thing that you could do. And. Yeah. And then I just kind of got that information and, I was sitting there, it was not long, less than 10 minutes, maybe six minutes, maybe seven minutes.

Had I stayed there at my desk and kind of tried to like, kind of force it or sort of squeeze it out. I don't, I don't know how long it would have taken. I don't know what if it would have come at all. And that's sort of, that idea is really at the core of this new course that I'm putting together, is that shift from that, that, that grasping, pushing, forcing extractive energy into something that is more open and relaxed and receptive. And I think that's so powerful and what's interesting and I almost don't even like to say this, but, is that it's actually.

It's more efficient and it's more productive to. Get out of we think that efficiency and productivity relies on this kind of forceful, you know disciplined Approach of really making ourselves do something But when you get into that receptive state and particularly, you know when we talk about right like creativity and creative inspiration I mean, of course, you know There's certain things where you just you have to put in the effort you have to put in the hours you have to show up But especially when you're trying to, invite in some of that inspiration, it's actually just much more efficient if you can relax into that receptive state than, than to be trying to force it.

Leo Babauta: It goes so counter to our training, or at least how most of us have been trained. Oh yeah. We have to push. We have to work hard. We have to like. make it happen as if we have some kind of control. And what you just shared in that example of just sitting and receiving so, so beautiful, but I do agree.

Like that's actually, in my experience, a lot of times more efficient takes less work and less time. But it requires like a degree of trust and surrender that most of us maybe don't have the discipline to practice.

Jocelyn Glei: 100%. And yeah, I think that word self trust is really powerful. And I remember. I can't remember where I read it, but many years ago, I remember reading in some book where someone was saying that the original sort of definition or the root of the word discipline is around this idea of being like a disciple, like a disciple unto oneself.

And so I love that idea because so much of that impulse to, kind of push and put your nose to the grindstone and work really hard is about kind of aligning with this, sort of external system, right? The way that we think, like, things should be done or the way that we see other people do things.

It doesn't really have anything to do with kind of like tuning into our own idiosyncratic needs or pace or modalities. And I love that idea of being a disciple unto yourself because it kind of gets at that idea, which is something that I really try to emphasize in all of the different ways that I teach all the different courses that I teach.

This idea that you want to work in a way that is really aligning with your own idiosyncratic preferences and approaches and tools and kind of, modes of working like that's going to be the thing that's going to work the best for you, not trying to read someone else's bulleted how to list for how to do your daily routine and then adapt to that.

Leo Babauta: Yeah. I love that so much. I hadn't heard that idea of being a disciple unto yourself. I really love that one thing that I, you've worked with a lot of creatives over the years and you've immersed yourself in the creative space. And one thing that I really loved about the example you just gave the receptivity that you talked about is, it's, that answer, you could feel it wanting to emerge. And, like you could also see that pushing wasn't going to make it happen. And so you just had to like receive and relax, and then it would come. There is something interesting about that, that I've noticed.

And myself, which is that we don't know where our most creative ideas come from, our inspiration, all of the, like the things that we're discovering. Like, some people think maybe it comes from God or the universe or our deepest consciousness, but. The truth is we just don't know where it comes from and if you've ever done any kind of creative work like you could see that it just comes and you couldn't tell where it came from.

Like we try and like force it, like it has, like there's a way that we could will it into existence, but that's not how, at least that's not how I've found it to work. And I really love that, that you are working with it in that way.

Jocelyn Glei: Yeah, I agree a hundred percent and the, the name of this course that I'm working on right now is called Channel, which is all about kind of, opening to a receptive state in a way that really supports creative insight and flow.

I, I love that metaphor of the channel, as you said, I think that whatever it is, those ideas, those inspirations, they are coming from something greater, however you want to identify with what that thing is. It could be God, it could be spirit, it could be mother nature could be quantum physics.

I think just the metaphor that it's something that's flowing in and that it's something that's flowing through you and that's the metaphor that is the most constructive, I think, and part of the way that I started to really. open to that. And I don't want to go off on a tangent. Are you willing to hear this part?

Leo Babauta: Absolutely. Go off on tangents.

Jocelyn Glei: So I also practice energy work, kind of a Reiki adjacent sort of work. And when I was originally training with Reiki, I You know, the idea of Reiki as a sort of energy healing practice is that you are a channel for this, sort of universal life force energy. And so when you are doing healing work you're just acting as a channel for this force.

And I initially took the training. I wasn't really expecting to practice Reiki on anyone but myself. But it turned out I had, I was kind of surprised to learn I had a bit of a facility for it. And when I was practicing, I just, the state that I was in, I just loved so much. Like it was just such, it was that like open, receptive state and things would just come through me and it felt so creative and it felt so improvisational and it felt so present and it felt so natural.

As I was experiencing that, I just thought to myself, wow, like, I want all my work to feel like this, I don't want to be in that kind of like hunched, compressed, forcing state, and so the journey over the past many years. since I first connected to that energy practice has really been to invite that receptivity and that idea of channeling into everything that I do.

And it's really changed the way that I approach, my writing process, the way that I approach ideation, the way that I approach really everything that shows up in my work. And all of it is about shifting more into that sort of receptive state.

Leo Babauta: That is fascinating. I'm really glad you went down that tangent.

Thanks for trusting yourself. I have so many questions but I just really love the idea of being in that more relaxed, receptive state more often. And I think there may be people who are listening who've had some experience of that. Maybe they went to a pastana, a retreat or. Have sat in some kind of receptive or more relaxed state, but the idea of bringing that to, what we might think of as work or places where we are normally in that kind of pushing kind of place, which is for a lot of people, a lot of us, like.

Like the idea it's so beautiful and what I'm hearing, and I'd love to hear what your experience has been is that not only is it more, quote unquote efficient and allows you to discover these ideas that are wanting to come out, but also it feels more sustainable, feels more, Like a much, much different, like a, just a different way to experience life.

Something that a lot of us want to have in our lives.

Jocelyn Glei: 100%. Yeah. I mean, I just think a lot more enjoyment and fun and flexibility in the process, right? When you can kind of get into that state. And as I was listening to you, something that was just coming up for me is kind of.

Just pulling the thread on how this is Unfolded for me and how I kind of think about that within my creative process is a really long time ago I did an interview with a writer named Alex Pang on my podcast on hurry slowly and I remember And we were talking about rest, sort of a general topic.

And he was saying that, we often think what is restful is, to be lying on a beach or to be lying by the pool or to be taking a nap. But he said, what's actually restful is to like do something. different, so if you kind of think about the sort of mode in which we work most of our day, especially as knowledge workers, might be like sitting in the same position, in front of the computer, and kind of using your brain in this one very task oriented way, for six hours, eight hours, 10 hours at a stretch.

And So, what he was sort of articulating was that what's actually restorative, what's actually relaxing, what's actually restful is to do something different, right? Because it's almost like cross training, you could say, right? And so it's like, if you're sitting, At your computer and your desk in this one way, it's kind of like you, you're just like bench pressing for 10 hours, as opposed to like throwing in some crunches or maybe like jogging around the block or, and so when I get stuck now I just think.

I'll just like do something different, what, whatever it is, so it could be as in the last example, like sitting in meditation the other day I was working on some marketing copy for this new website and I just, was kind of getting a little wrapped around my own axle, just sort of like processing and reprocessing what I was trying to write.

And I, a friend of mine had said, Oh, I'm like thinking about, One of my best friends was like, Oh, I'm thinking about taking this course. And she's never like talked about taking any one of my courses. So I was like pretty excited about it. And I was like, you know what, I'm struggling with this marketing copy for the course.

Let me just go call her and like see why she wants to take the course. And so I talked to her and I just got this kind of new perspective. And then I thought, Oh, okay. Like, this is what I want to focus on for the marketing copy now, so that idea of like, whatever it is, doing something different, it might be.

Moving your body, it might be stepping away from your computer and, sitting quietly, it might be having a conversation with a friend, it could be any number of things, but just switching it up, I think, is also really supportive of opening up to that receptivity as well.

Leo Babauta: Beautiful. I really love that idea.

It sounds like the word that comes to mind is like refreshing, like you've refreshed totally

Jocelyn Glei: by changing it up. Clear that cache.

Leo Babauta: Yeah. Here's one thing I'm curious about. So let's go back to the. Kind of Reiki, kind of openness, channeling, kind of relaxed receptive state. And like, as I'm saying it, I'm pract I'm practicing.

And it feels amazing. And like, every human being wants to be in that state, to be honest. But there's something that, that pulls us away from that, which is, in my experience, it's fear. So we get closed up, we like have to... push, we have to control, we have to rush we have to be very focused. And that's all from, my experience is fear.

And so I'm wondering how you work with that whatever you might want to call it, whether it's fear or something else that pulls you out of that

Jocelyn Glei: state. Yeah. I mean, I think for me, a lot of. There's probably two fears that come up most frequently. And probably one of them is a very common one, which is about, scheduling or deadlines.

And the other one is just about. Also the most common, about making a mistake or failing or, not getting it right. I think a lot about both of those things, with this sort of getting it right. I spend a lot of time thinking about the difference between trying to be an expert and being experimental.

And kind of thinking about that as almost like a spectrum that you can play around with. And so for me, I think more and more trying to like kind of understanding that being in that expert mode is so closed and kind of rigid and in many ways kind of Uncreative or in curious, right? If you're trying to kind of adopt that, pose role modality whereas if you can kind of slide yourself a little further down that scale towards experimental, that really opens up opportunities, right?

So rather than rigidity, there's opportunities for play or, rather than Failure. There's opportunity, to make a creative mistake and be like, Oh, like that wasn't what I was expecting, but that's really cool, yeah. And so that's something I've been playing with a lot. It shows up.

For instance, like I did a course a couple years ago called Radiate, and I was sort of playing around with this idea of it being a more emergent course. So, rather than mapping the whole thing out, it was a nine month long course, so it would have been a lot to map, rather than mapping the whole thing out, and I kind of mapped out like, I mapped out like some themes.

But it wasn't like, there's going to be a talk on this and there's going to be a talk on this and there's, it was like, okay, we'll cover these general topics and let's get together as a group and see, kind of see what unfolds. And what unfolded was so different than what I could have ever planned.

And. It was so surprising and also beautiful to experience that to be like, Oh, wow, if I can release this fear about, which was so many layers of that fear, right? With planning a course is like, okay, like, people are going to want to know what to expect. Like, I want to know what to expect. Like, people want to know what's going to show up on schedule.

I need to know what I need to deliver on a certain schedule. Like, If I don't have that, like, how is it going to happen? Like, what if I don't get the idea in the time that I need it? No. There's like a million, you can kind of extrapolate yourself in kind of releasing that fear.

I won't even say releasing that fear, but just kind of being like, it's there and I'm going to like work with it. I got to see that like something really different and beautiful and unexpected. Could emerge. So, I think that that experimental versus expertise is a spectrum that's really kind of fun to play around on and to see what that can kind of potentially open.

And, it's like, I think it's less about letting go of the fear than kind of leaning into self trust, which is a word that you touched on earlier, which to me kind of now feels like the sort of phrase that's at the core of like everything that I do, which is about really understanding that developing a belief that you can handle whatever is going to arise and having a lot of compassion for yourself in that process around the fear or around the mistakes or around the imperfections, kind of really leaning into that sense of self trust. Like, I feel like that's the, that's where you're able to kind of work with the fear.

Leo Babauta: So, so amazing. Thank you for sharing all of that. I was going to, something came up for me as you were sharing this emergent nine month course and how you worked with that.

So I just led a retreat, like a five day retreat in Costa Rica in person with about 20 people. The theme was the. Was about becoming in the bardo which I'm not sure if everyone is listening. This is familiar with, but it's from the Tibetan belief of the stage between like dying and being and rebirth.

Well, that's the biggest bardo, but bardo really is a transition period. And what you learn through that is that like, we're always in transition. Like, between night and day, between this task and that task and this call and that call. And so we're always in some kind of transition and we want to like freeze up.

And the practice is trust, self trust in the midst of that flow. The thing I wanted to share was that I went into that retreat wanting to like plan it all out and have it like a perfect plan so that I could like, stay safe. And I realized the irony of that, of like wanting to like freeze the bardo of that.

Of that retreat. and have it all be perfect. And so when I realized it, I, it was a shaky thing, but I decided just to go in with, I had some ideas. I had some things that I wanted to bring out, but it wasn't planned. And and just practice that trust and see what emerged and what emerged was so much better than what I could have planned.

Because it was like you said, like it was unexpected, surprising, like discovered. And it was co created, not just by me, but by the group, by what was what emerged from that. So, anyway I love what you shared and I really relate. There's something else going back to this idea of. of receptive creativity and channeling.

There was something that you also, you had in that email that I wanted to bring some curiosity towards. And I know this is in the course that you're teaching, so we don't have to reveal all the secrets of the course, but maybe just touch on some of the ideas that you've been playing with. One of the bullet points of things that you're exploring was how to be in conversation with your creative life force and consistently create space and structures for insight to flow in. And I'm like, yes, we need to talk about that. Is it okay if we dive into that a little bit? Yeah, totally. Totally. Yeah. Feel free just to give us 50 percent of what you give in the course. Or actually, I'm sure you go way

Jocelyn Glei: more. That might take a minute, but yeah.

But I'm happy to talk about it. I think that When we get into this really extractive sort of forcing energy or mode of working what happens is we sort of expect our, insight or inspiration or creativity to emerge sort of, on demand, in the same way that we might watch a movie on Netflix, for instance.

And, that's just. It's just not the way that things, it's not the way that things work. And there's kind of no sort of flow or give and take to that type of approach. Again, it is like really extractive, it's I need this like thing, from myself or, wherever you feel connected to, from spirit, from the divine, from the muse, and I'm just going to like, go.

Take it, go extract it and I think it's much more about having a kind of give and take and exchange with whatever that kind of creative force is for you life force and so this idea of being in conversation is really about cultivating that practice, whatever that practice might be for you. So for me, I would say the core of that practice of being in conversation is journaling.

But it could be, it could be like collage or it could be sitting in meditation. It could be, going on long runs, whatever kind of is, The, one of your sort of favorite ways to open up that receptivity, to open up that channel, to make a practice. of doing that, right? So that's the conversation.

It's like, okay, whatever it is, X amount of times per week, I try to sit down and do some journaling. And for me, journaling isn't, it's not like writing a diary entry about my day. I mean, it could be, but a lot of it is like, oh wow, like this quote is really resonating or.

I just got like a little download about this phrase today. Like, as I look around my studio that I'm working in, there's this phrase, energetic architecture, which I've just like written on a note card from like a year ago. And it's just been like sitting there and I'm kind of thinking about like, what does that mean?

What does that mean? What does that mean? So writing down those little phrases, writing down the like questions that are coming up, writing down the dreams that are haunting you, whatever it is, right? things that are kind of coming through that channel, being in dialogue with them, and then kind of taking notes, right?

Creating whatever that structure. Is, so, so for me, the journal is a little bit of dialogue, a little bit of the taking notes, but, let's say like if you like to go on long walks or something, maybe the taking notes is, having taking voice memos on your phone or, maybe use an app, some sort of note taking app like Evernote or something like that to kind of write.

So it's kind of like this idea. Yeah. of, there's astrologist Channing Nicholas who always uses this metaphor that I really like of putting out rain barrels. And so, if that conversation, that inspiration is the rain, it's kind of having some sort of system or process in place for collecting it, right?

For collecting all those little drips of inspiration. And then I think having, some sort of like kind of recursive process for. Revisiting them, right? So it's not just that it's not just that you make space for them to come in. It's not just that you take notes, but there's also sort of like a synthesizing piece that happens, where you revisit those things.

Leo Babauta: So tell me more about that part because that's I know everyone's going to be asking about that now. So the recursive process sounds important.

Jocelyn Glei: Yeah, I mean, there's different ways, there's different ways it shows up, right? So I, because journaling is my practice, I also, make sure that I set aside time to go back and review those journals, and so I go back and I'll see that weird phrase or I'll see that weird question and then I'll also see like the thing that came after it two weeks later and the thing that came after it two weeks later and like, okay, like I'm starting to see a thread here and like, what does that mean?

Or there could be more when I have a specific project that I'm working on that I've decided to work on, it could be a course like, okay, I'm going to do this course, I use Evernote a lot in that context, there's lots of apps that are like Evernote, but right, it's a digital, basically a digital solution where you can create notes within notebooks.

So what I might do is I might make a notebook for the course and then make tons of different notes, so there might be like a note about marketing. There might be a note about the talks I want to give. There might be a note about the journal prompts that I might use and it's almost like So that becomes this kind of little rain barrel and then it's almost like you can kind of see the idea ripening, you know as like the little notes pile up, so Yeah, I think it's having all of those little pieces.

Like what's the way that I Regularly open the channel. Okay. What's the way that I then note what comes through the channel? What's the way that I then revisit that those things so they're not just kind of And there's so many ways in which I do this. Like I've been doing this thing lately where when I meditate in the morning and this came through, I think I mentioned this in the newsletter before the one that you're referring to came through my friend seven, a Selassie.

And I think it came to her through Elizabeth Gilbert is this practice of asking this question, sort of to your. Whatever you might regard as, greater than you. So, it could be like angels, teachers, guides, spirits, ancestors. And I ask at the end of my meditation, like, what would you have me know today?

And these really beautiful. messages come through. And I have this kind of running list just in a little note on my iPhone of what a lot of the messages are that come through. And the one that's come through the most, which I wrote about in that newsletter, is just remember who you are.

Yeah. So there's a lot of ways that you can do that. And again, it's this idea of like, What's the idiosyncratic thing that like you like to do the way that you like to relate to that channel the way that You like to kind of take notes and the way that you like to synthesize things but I think like That creates this kind of like creative, just sort of like a backbeat, and kind of a flow of creative energy that's there all the time.

And then that really supports then when you're like, okay, like I want to really tune into this, it's like the faucets already open. It's, it's not like you close your faucets for the winter and like bled the pipes and now you got to like, like it's this whole thing. It's like the flow is there and then you can kind of turn on the faucet.

Leo Babauta: Beautiful. It's this, it makes me realize I don't have a way of revisiting just general notes that I haven't put into like notes for a course or a book or something like that. And so as you talk about it, I'm like, I wonder how I could create that for myself. And I'm wondering, do you have a rhythm?

I know it's going to be different for each person, but just, I'm curious for you of going back on just journal entries that aren't specific to a course or something like that. Do you have like, every month or something like that, you go back and look

Jocelyn Glei: through it? Yeah. Yeah. And when I think I want to answer that, but also you brought up, I think there's kind of.

An interesting tension between like analog and digital in these contexts where like analog is good for some things and bad for other things. So, I think it's, I think analog and like journaling, for instance, is really good, for me, for kind of documenting the sort of general, kind of general ideas or insights or thoughts, but it can be sort of not ideal when I'm working, on a specific project. And then it's like the linearity of it can be a little bit problematic. You're kind of like, where did I put that? Like, was that like 12 pages ago? Like sometimes it can be kind of hard to string things together. So that's why I have a little bit of that.

I didn't really describe it clearly, but like. When I'm, when I decide, okay, I'm going to pull the trigger on this project, then I'll sometimes take it into a digital orientation, because it'll be a little bit easier to organize things more clearly in a way that I can kind of reference and wrap my head around.

But the analog is super nice for that, like recursive process, right? Like when you want to go back and revisit it to answer your question about, do I have a specific rhythm? unfortunately, like absolutely do not. I work with this really wonderful business coach who also kind of does coaching from an energetic level as well.

And she talks about these kind of different types of creators and they're sort of like the organic creator and the linear creator and the systemic creator. And, so Linear is, self explanatory, right? Like, someone who sort of likes to go step by step. Systems is someone who's very oriented around the idea of having some sort of system.

And organic is just like, Do what you want! Like, whatever! Like, it's just organic. Like, whatever happens, kind of happens. And that is my mode of working. So, I am like, And it's kind of funny coming from that, You could say, like, hard productivity background, like, a decade ago. I am Incredibly resistant to, like, rigid routines and scheduling of, like, any manner. But what kind of happens for me is, like, it's like, for instance, basically, like, if I have a to do list, I'll write it down on a piece of paper, and in the act of writing it down on the piece of paper, it will sort of go into my brain, and will just get remembered, and, like, eventually all the things will get done, yeah. It doesn't like happen in kind of a structured way on like a specific, on a specific schedule. So I have one of those processes where like if you watched it from the outside, you would be like. This is crazy. This doesn't make any sense, but then it kind of all like flies together and works,

Leo Babauta: I love it.

I can relate. I have, I think I'm a mix, but definitely have some of that organic part to me as well. That's really beautiful. Thanks for sharing that too, because I think that gives people permission to have a process that looks, like it looks as opposed to like, it needs to look like Jocelyn's or it needs to be linear or something like that.

Yeah. I think yeah. This is about time to start wrapping up. One thing I wanted to say is we've mentioned your newsletter a couple of times now. I think it's brilliant, and I highly, I'll put a link into to your website and to the newsletter, but I highly recommend it. It's always got some beautiful artwork.

It has some of the best links, and so even if you don't care about Jocelyn's writing, which you should, The artwork and the links are some of the best stuff in there, and of course the writing and the From Jocelyn is also always thoughtful and open something new in me personally. And I recommend it.

Thank you so much. Is there any last thing that you want to share? Anything that you're excited about creating next? Anything that, you want to be like, put this on your radar because it's going to be amazing or just a last thought to share.

Jocelyn Glei: Yeah. Well, I do have the new course that I mentioned a few times, but that's going to be kind of underway and I think registration will be closed by the time that this comes out, but there's something else.

I mean, it's the way that it, it's the way that it happens, but that course and all of my other courses, I'm actually sort of in a process of. Shifting them over to a model where it's a bit more evergreen where folks can take them at any time. So if they do subscribe to the newsletter, they'll kind of hear about that when when that becomes available.

But yeah, I have, there's one new thing that I'm working on that is exciting to me, which is. Doing a new event series, I think I'll probably launch it later this summer, which is going to be probably once a month on a Sunday, and it's going to be called Higher Love, shout out to Whitney Houston, and It's really about, we talked about this idea of like that conversation and opening that channel and it's really going to be about that, like this kind of idea of opening a conversation with your higher self and the structure is going to be that I will give a talk and then that will be followed by kind of a deeper guided energy meditation and so the idea is that we get to explore and a concept initially on the intellectual level, which is where most of us spend most, if not all of our day, but then we get to follow that with kind of exploring it on a deeper, somatic, emotional, energetic level and kind of be in dialogue with it and work with it a bit more in that way, kind of with that open channel to, whatever you want to call it, your higher self or spirit or inspiration or the muse.

And so I'm really excited about kind of combining those two forms. I do both of those things quite a bit. I do a lot of talks and then I do a lot of these kind of guided energy meditations, but I don't often do them simultaneously together. And I think that's going to be I'm excited. I think it's going to be really powerful.

I'm curious to see how it goes. So again, that's something folks hop on the newsletter. They'll eventually hear about when I get that going later in the summer.

Leo Babauta: Beautiful. That does sound really powerful. I love that you're exploring that. I'm sure it's going to be amazing.

Everything that you put out seems to be like thoughtful and considerate and human. And I just want to thank you for bringing humanity to a lot of the stuff where we've. As a society have removed it, it's so important and I'm really grateful for your work.

Jocelyn Glei: Yeah. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

This is a really fun conversation.

Leo Babauta: Okay. Go check out Jocelyn's work. It's amazing. Thank you everybody. If you haven't already, please subscribe to this podcast and your favorite podcast app. If you found this episode useful, please share this podcast with someone, who cares deeply. That'd be really meaningful to me.

And if you'd like to dive deeper with me into this work, please check out the blog at or get in touch at [email protected]. Thanks for listening. And I hope you'll join me every Wednesday for more episodes of the Zen Habits Podcast.

Connect with Leo


Zen Habits

The Fearless Living Academy


Intro music composition: Salem Beladonna & Robrecht Dumarey

Editor: Justin Cruz