Schedule Time For Exploring

Neera Mahajan
3 min readApr 8, 2023

I first learned about the concept of exploring and exploiting from Austin Kleon, who in turn learned it from Derek Thompson’s reports on research into what causes “hot streaks” in careers in The Atlantic. Thompson breaks down the complex idea into three words, “Explore, then exploit.

As creators, we are either in exploring mode (reading, listening, learning, growing) or exploiting mode (writing articles and books, teaching courses, creating products). We usually have systems for exploiting, but not for exploring.

I have good systems in place for exploiting (ie, writing articles and books) but I have nothing for exploring. My exploring is pretty haphazard, based on whim, and whenever time permits.

I need to schedule a regular time for exploration.

My friend, illustrator Sue Clancy of A.M. Sketching sits each morning with a cup of tea and her sketchbook and sketches. Nothing in particular, whatever fancies her at the moment. And with her sketches, she usually has very insightful comments. Austin Kleon also has a daily exploration process of writing and drawing in his notebook. Then he publishes them.

I need to incorporate sketching and daily publishing into my routine. Both sketching and reading are forms of exploration and publishing brings accountability.

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Neera Mahajan

Author of Dare To Create, Eight Steps To Be An Authorpreneur, and How To Write an eBook In One Week | Write Your Book with me in 30 days.