Posts tagged 'productivity'
Peak Mind by Amishi P. Jha. We’re all distracted, all of the time. More and more studies show that on average, we spend only 50% of our waking hours engaged with the present moment—the other half of the time we’re zoning out, ruminating, mind-wandering or daydreaming. Furthermore, research suggests that our ability to pay attention is on the decline. And why wouldn’t it be, given the increasing pace at which we’re assaulted by social media notifications, breaking news alerts, and instant messages.
Getting people–others or ourselves–to do something that’s not obviously pleasurable is immensely tricky. Never mind if you want to start an exercise routine, eat healthier, or motivate someone to get their Covid-19 shot, the underlying challenge is always the same: In the short-term, it’s easier, less painful, or more convenient to simply avoid doing the “right” thing. So what can we do, in spite of that bias towards immediate gratification, to overcome the mind’s inbred inertia?
“Where’s the fun in that?”, many people asked after I had published my daily routine. Often, the question seemed borne not purely out of curiosity or interest, but rather inspired by pity, or even concern about my wellbeing. Doesn’t so much rigidity and discipline grind one down? Am I renouncing all of life’s pleasures? Doesn’t all work and no play make Jack a dull boy? How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
It’s 4:15am when my alarm goes off. I get out of bed immediately, without snoozing. Before I know what’s happening, I’m already in my running gear, and with a sip of water I’m out of the door no later than 4:25am. I run for 60 to 120 minutes, covering between ten and twenty kilometers. When I get back, it’s time for breakfast: Usually, oatmeal and a banana to refill the carbs I’ve burnt, together with a big glass of water to rehydrate.
Designing Your Work Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. “F**k this s**t, I’m quitting!” Many of us have played with the thought of making a memorable exit from a job we didn’t enjoy at some point in our careers. I know a few people who actually did (though not with quite such strong language), but unsurprisingly that didn’t end well for any of them.
I once worked for a manager who would send his employees home by 5:30pm every day. This was at a time and in an environment where looking productive by working at all hours was not only prized and honored, but to some degree even expected by upper management. His argument for limiting the amount of time people should spend in the office was rooted in a different mindset though: He rightfully insisted that nobody produces outstanding results while being exhausted and overworked.
Good Strategy / Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt. Recently I read Richard Rumelt's business classic Good Strategy / Bad Strategy which, beside clarifying what strategy actually is and why any organization would benefit from having one, offers many insightful stories and anecdotes on economics. One I found particularly amusing was about Andrew Carnegie, who was arguably the most successful business man of his day, being ranked the richest American for several years at the beginning of the 20th century.
When it comes to engagement, motivation, and ultimately outcome of meetings, I find there's two extremely unsatisfying ends of a spectrum. One end — let's call it Dress to Impress — is the type of meeting where everyone tries to show off to somebody else. I saw that happen when a new manager is in the room to whom everybody wants to demonstrate how great they are, or just whenever too much ego is involved on anyone's part.