Tiffany Shlain is a filmmaker, writer, speaker, and artist, whose creativity has been recognized with over 80 awards including being honored by Newsweek as one of the Women Shaping the 21st Century. Tiffany’s innovative genius shows in how she approaches a new idea by examining it thoroughly in terms of where we have been, where we are going, why we do things and how we do them. With that information she invents something new and makes a film about all she has learned, or in the case of 24/6: Giving Up Screens One Day a Week to Get More Time, Creativity, and Connection, she writes a best-selling book. 24/6 explains how taking a Shabbat from screens one day a week gives us the time for the reflection we need to express greater creativity and productivity. The result is to share a new perspective about how to view ourselves and our humanity, and use it to live better lives, engage our own creativity and lift everyone else with us.
Her newest project is a program for businesses and organizations of all sizes. The Future of Work and Wellbeing is Tiffany’s answer to our confusion about what the “new normal” in the workplace looks like. For Tiffany and her team at Let It Ripple Film Studio, it’s not a new normal. For several years they have been using a hybrid model for work, and this program is their solution for achieving productive fulfilling ways of working based on their own pre-pandemic experience.
Tiffany points out that pandemics have historically shaken up society in ways that produced positive outcomes. After the Bubonic Plague killed 25 million people, the Renaissance happened; after the 1918 Spanish flu killed millions of people, social movements made several advancements including women’s right to vote. Today COVID has killed over 6 million and counting, with social justice initiatives – like Black Lives Matter – exploding everywhere, and so many women leaving the workplace, it’s being called “The Great Resignation.” Tiffany says that our old model of work being the focus of our lives and our identity is an unhealthy way of life. It took a pandemic to make us see it and question the way we’ve been doing business. The result is a program to help organizations–managers and employees–adapt for greater productivity, employee retention and sustainability.
The Future of Work and Wellbeing
Amazed at the thought that companies would entertain the idea that you don’t have to work at the office, Tiffany and her team realigned a lot of the work they’d already done—”films about the neuroscience of rest, productivity, creativity, meaning, purpose”—and created a four-week program based on Tiffany’s own working-mom strategy where on Monday, Wednesday and Friday she works at home, and on Tuesday and Thursday, she and her team go in to their studio to collaborate. She has presented her program so far to Cliff Bar Company and Coco-Cola and is in talks with others. So far, it’s gone very well. For only one hour a week, sessions cover the broad spectrum of the history of work, and how humans have integrated it into their lives for greater productivity at work and fulfillment. Of course, it includes the concept of Shabbat, common among all the world’s religions and ways of life, to take a break from screens and recharge from Tiffany’s book, 24/6, along with other facts about how we can prevent burnout and other stressors affecting people now.
The Evolution of 24/6’s Impact on People’s Lives
Our previous podcast post on 24/6 called it “memoir meets neuroscience meets visions of the future.” Tiffany was called a visionary by some and a prophet by others and the book won the Marshal McLuhan Outstanding Book Award. But the true genius is how Tiffany and her husband realized they were losing connections with people through their addiction to screens and began a practice of taking a tech-Shabbat 13 years ago. She and her husband both worked in technology, so it was revolutionary for them to voluntarily unhook for 24 hours once a week and read books, garden, cook, have family dinners, and talk without texting. Shabbat not a new idea. Once again, Tiffany examined the history of what has worked for humanity, applied that to today’s needs, and provided a cure for an unhealthy way of life. COVID created a situation where we were on our screens more than ever and many of us complained of screen overload and were burning out. Then Tiffany says she saw a new trend, “Last summer, all these business articles started being written about the book from a time management strategy. It was the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.” To Tiffany it was obvious, when you set work totally aside and think about other things, she says, “I can recharge and rejuvenate in a very profound way.”
Inspiration for Personal Innovation
Listen to or watch this conversation to learn more of Tiffany’s story and what she credits with giving her a foundation for such creative work, including recovering from public and massive failure, amazing parents who made her feel loved, and inventing the Webby Awards when only 1% of people were on the internet to say “Good job” to web designers. Then check out her new program to create a new, healthier more productive concept of the modern workplace, The Future of Work and Wellbeing. And while you’re exploring Tiffany’s work, watch some of her films, 50/50: Rethinking the Past, Present and Future of Women + Power to discover how phenomenal women’s leadership truly is, her Emmy-nominated original film series, The Future Starts Here, and buy her book, 24/6. Be ready to be inspired and exercise your own genius in a fully recharged uplifted space.