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Funny Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Writing

Streaks

We never stop, continuing a streak of a thousand days.

Each day, rain or shine, we either pop with energy or force it.

Consistency is not neutral.

The exactitude of life requires a sense of urgency. And the daily routine is his space to be creative and thoughtful.

How one navigates the tension between doing and knowing is less important than showing up and doing the work.

The only schedule worth keeping is one that begs for us to do it all over again tomorrow.

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Music Productivity & Work Writing

Want to focus? Seek ambient sound

One of the greatest myths of our time is that silence is golden. But complete silence will keep you from working effectively. It may even put you to sleep.

J. K. Rowling left the solitude of her own home to write the Harry Potter series in a coffee shop amid the cacophony of people chatting over grinding espresso machines.

The noisy environment inspired her to get to work. Studies show that just enough sound creates an ambient environment conducive to working by drowning out any other unpredictable racket in the background.

By the way, if you’re looking for scientifically optimized music to help you focus, you must give the app Focus@Will a try. Use my affiliate link and you’ll get two FREE weeks.

The power of music

Studies also show that learning to play an instrument makes it easier for children to learn how to read. Additionally, the “Mozart Effect” is said to improve concentration and study habits. Surgeons often use popular music during operations to relax both the patient and themselves. Muzak takes the awkward silence out of the elevator.

The right type of noise is critical to working effectively. In fact, many CEOs expect disruptions in the form of email and calls to ensure the business is actively operating. Silence is the antithesis of productivity.

In order to stay motivated and remain productive, we need perpetual sound rather than peace and quiet. Sound is productive. Rather, it is the silence between the notes that can be the most disruptive.

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Life & Philosophy

Searching for the life spark

gif by Brendan Conroy

We need a certain level of functioning optimism to operate in a world of zero guarantees. 

Past results never assure future returns; all that we have is playing the lottery of luck. 

We’d all like a map, so we don’t feel lost in the myriad of life.  

But the uncertainty keeps us alive. And a life well-lived is that which doesn’t become stale. Vitality is fragility. 

The specialness of life affirms life if we can prevent myopia from sneaking into our thinking. 

All we are asking for is a chance to be in the driver’s seat.

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Life & Philosophy Tech

The loose gate of attention

Attention works like a loose gate. We can’t always control what information sneaks in, nor can we parse the data so it makes sense coming out.

We grind away at the information life throws at us, some of it tangible and worthwhile but most it nonsense.

Like a Google search, the stuff worth keeping is like finding a needle in a haystack. When we discover something of value, it sticks. We share the knowledge with others, recasting it as our own.

Yet, our minds remain terrible aggregators. Who’s in charge, the thinker or the thought?

It’s impossible to unhear and unsee things — conversations, teacher’s lessons, tweets — without getting sucked into the commercialization of attention. The public sphere promotes mindless chatter, so rationalization sinks to the bottom.

The race to become synchronized with the mainstream prevents the interrogation of ideas. The noisy flood of information buffers thought until finally, the chaos settles to the bottom. And pieces of clarity return, unstuck from the confident idiots.

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Productivity & Work

The paradox of messiness

The paradox of messiness is that it can also describe someone who’s extremely productive.

For instance, your desk may be full of sticky notes, cords, and other office supplies and your computer desktop may be buried in a trail of untitled (and empty) folders. But all this frenzy could be a sign of busyness rather than laziness. 

In fact, clutter inspires creativity and it is an essential part of the making process.

We can choose to live uncomplicated lives by keeping it super-tight. But the messy stuff is so much more interesting.

Mark Bradford

This is not to say that creation provides an excuse to be messy. In fact, the act of cleaning up and editing can happen during work.

Figure out which ideas from the past are important and pursue those. Throw out the rest.

Greg McKeown

First, the artist creates disorder to spark further inventiveness — everything goes in the queue — then he or she simplifies their sources saving the most essential materials.

The tendency to hoard everything and do nothing with it is what really clutters the mind.

Like a DJ, one should feel free to remix their craft and sprinkle in new ingredients along the way.

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Productivity & Work

How to make better decisions

If you’re going to make an important decision, make it in the morning. Your natural levels of serotonin are dopamine are higher, your focus is sharper and your brain will be more rational.

The afternoon, meanwhile, is costly for decision-making. You’re more likely to be tired, hungry, and to acquiesce to the status quo.

The longer we wait in the day to make decisions, the increased chance those decisions will get postponed or lazily agreed to. And desultory decisions might as well be indecisions.

To think different and combat conformity requires a certain amount of energy and belief that’s scientifically more prevalent before noon.