The French mathematician, Blaise Pascal pointed out there are some areas of life that can only be understood as twin truths.
You cannot fully grasp the truth of the matter without understanding both sides of the coin. And each side appears to be the opposite of its companion.
When it comes to productivity, we encounter these twin truths:
1. We do best when we make a plan, set deadlines, and follow a pattern of commitment and accountability to reach specific goals.
2. We make the fastest progress when we simply walk in the direction of our goals, knowing we will only discover the way forward one turn at a time.
How could these both be true?
They are twin truths. You cannot understand the whole truth without examining both halves.
Without specific goals, commitment, and measurement of your progress, you will inevitably drift from one project to another without making any meaningful progress. The human mind is attracted to novelty.
We are easily distracted by a new idea which on the...
I believe there is. And once you catch a glimpse of this mind-bending method, you’ll understand the true foundation of what it means to be smart.
To make decisions, we run mental simulations of the future. The better you get at that skill, the more likely you are to get what you want. That, in a nutshell, is intelligence.
While it sounds simple, mental simulation is a marvelous form of power. And generating complex models of the future is one of the most impressive feats of the human mind.
Would you like to get better at it?
In the movie Next, Nicolas Cage plays the part of Cris Johnson, who has one unique ability. He can see two minutes into the future.
Each time he faces a high-stakes decision, he makes a choice about how to proceed. Then he sees the future outcome of that choice before taking action. If he doesn’t like what he sees, he considers another decision option....
Much of what you accomplish in this life depends on your beliefs about who you are and what you are capable of.
So, it makes sense that many of my clients practice affirmations.
They want to adopt beliefs that support the grand vision they hold for their lives and businesses. They want to instill a sense of possibility, strength, and certainty deep within the mind’s subconscious operating system.
So they use affirmations.
It’s a common practice stemming from a self-help industry that is propelled forward by ideas that sell, even if those ideas have no scientific merit or practical utility.
I’d like to show you something better. Something that actually has the power to change your life.
It’s an alternative to practicing positive affirmations for those who want to test the limits of what’s possible, and for those who enjoy the thrill of truly striving for uncommon results.
Affirmations represent an attempt to change your...
Have you been mulling over some tough decisions?
Here’s the truth about decision making. It’s mentally exhausting.
And for many entrepreneurs, it’s the hundred little decisions that wear away our resolve and mental clarity.
Mental fatigue is real.
We need breaks to rest and recharge, yet studies show Americans in particular are notorious for not taking their much-needed breaks.
Around half of American workers feel they’re not able to take a proper lunch break. Almost half don’t take all of their vacation time, while there is a significant number that just don’t take vacations.
The problem is that, while we martyr ourselves on the altar of work, our productivity, our ability to make clear decisions, and our overall health and wellness suffer. Here’s why you may just need a break…
The science behind taking your breaks
How many times have you felt fatigued, only to...
We’re often busy, but not really productive.
So how do we change that?
What if there was a better way to supercharge your productivity?
I’ve given this a lot of thought and applied some of these techniques to my own work. Here's what I recommend...
Upgrade your capacity for speed.
Parkinson’s law states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
Cyril Northcote Parkinson, the British historian and author who made this statement, was qualified to make the observation. He worked in the British Civil Service and saw first-hand how bureaucracy could impact productivity.
In fact, you’ll see this in action in many office environments today. There is still a notion we should be “working harder” rather than faster or smarter. Research suggests that given the standard eight-hour workday, most of us are only productive for around three hours!
So, if we’re simply making our work expand to...
Have you reached a point where it’s time to make a career change?
If you’re contemplating a change, you’re not alone!
This is where most people find the next big hurdle - you’ve decided you’re ready for a change, but now what? How do you know what to do next?
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the weight of the decision that you go around in circles.
Now, change is almost never comfortable - it’s much easier to cruise along with what you already know. But mapping out a decision-making plan can build your confidence as you consider whether it’s the right time to switch careers.
The right decisions tend to be made with good planning. Have you planned out your decision making strategy?
Here are some key steps or milestones for that journey:
“Inbox zero” is a concept that effectively triages your inbox so that you can achieve better productivity.
No more “675 unread emails” for you! Here’s how it works:
“Inbox Zero” is a term that was coined by productivity evangelist, Merlin Mann, who gave a popular Google Tech Talk on the subject in 2007. Since then, there have been several different methodologies proposed for achieving inbox zero, so you can choose the method you prefer.
What is inbox zero? It’s a system for organizing and filing email messages quickly. You label and triage emails so that you reach and maintain the coveted status of an empty inbox every day.
It’s important to note here that Mann’s premise isn’t to fanatically keep your inbox at zero, but the term refers to the amount of time an employee’s brain is in their inbox.
Checklists are not just for uber-organized people.
Rather, they are tools to dramatically increase your speed.
There’s something satisfying about checking off the items on a checklist. Beyond the sheer satisfaction though, what if using checklists could actually make you smarter and more productive?
Smarter and faster? Here’s how that works:
Checklists reduce mistakes
One of the common uses of checklists in workplace situations is for complex tasks. In his book The Checklist Manifesto, author and surgeon Atul Gawande explores the use of checklists in daily and professional life.
He points out that even the most basic mistakes can have a cumulative effect, leading to something more serious later on. And that’s one of the reasons airline pilots rely on checklists before every single flight.
It doesn’t matter if an airline pilot has flown the same route in the same aircraft hundreds of times, they...
Yet their influence moves through your imagination when you’re not paying attention.
In this way, we can gain glimpses of insight that are quite useful to our daily lives. Essentially, you get a feeling that you “know something,” but without knowing exactly why.
That knowing comes from processing ideas and mental associations at a volume far too great to hold in conscious thought.
When you take a shower, wash the dishes, or drive home while listening to music, your mind may be processing a problem even though you have let go of the conscious effort of deliberate thought.
Your mind wanders into what neuroscientists have begun calling “the default network.” It’s a mode of thinking based in imagination, discovering loose associations, and processing nuances of your social world.
The number of associations your brain cross checks against other ideas, hopes,...
Who influences your productivity “set point?”
Here’s what I’ve noticed. The company you keep is a good predictor of how productive you are.
How do your peers influence your productivity?
Let’s begin with a quick story. Holly was a skilled developer who was hired into her dream job - working for a well-known Silicon Valley company.
She quickly immersed herself in the busy work environment and was impressed with how the team pulled together to efficiently tackle projects. Everyone was dedicated to their work.
Seeing this, Holly worked harder. She was chosen for some key projects and found that as her reputation grew, she was offered more challenging projects.
She described how this group thrived on both teamwork ...