Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work Writing

If you’re struggling to get started, do it badly

“Work finally begins when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it badly.”

Alain de Botton

Perfection is the antithesis of inspiration — it prevents you from getting started.

The trick to getting going is to do it badly. That’s right: Be intentionally messy.

Producing crap isn’t the end-goal. The point of taking small actions is to create enough momentum to feel like we’re winning.

What sustains persistence are small improvements. You’re looking to go from one pushup a day to two the next week. You’re trying to walk five thousand steps a day before graduating to six thousand.

You’ll need to write one-hundred words day after day before developing the muscle to get down two-hundred words on a consistent basis. By the way, there is no such thing as writer’s block!

Do small things to get started — no matter how poorly — to avoid second-guessing yourself and to prime the motivational pump.

Categories
Health Life & Philosophy Nature

Prescribing a walk in nature

Prescribing a walk in nature #gif #nature #walking
gif by @Vic

Get yourself a prescription to nature. It’ll improve your mental and physical health. That’s according to doctors in Scotland who are recommending that people in the Shetland Islands get outside.

The program outlines a recommended outside activity per month. For instance, in January you can create a windsock to grasp the full power of the wind. In March, one can “borrow a dog and take it for a walk.”

We belong in the wild, unmoored from the tyranny of our seats. When we disconnect and move outside, we connect with terra firma and reconnect with ourselves. Take your body and thoughts for a walk.  

Categories
Productivity & Work Science

Yet more evidence that standing at work is better for you than sitting

work standing up, standing desk, diy standing desk, work standing desk, productivity desk setup, standing desk adjustable, #productivity #lifehack #workmode

recent study done by researchers at Tel Aviv University validates standing desks.

Not only is standing better for your health, it also strengthens your focus. This is because the stress of holding your posture improves selective attention.

The Stroop effect

The researchers had university students alternate between standing and sitting while testing their reaction time to a task of naming a color. The words printed behind the color either matched or conflicted the one in text (e.g., the word “blue” printed in red ink instead of blue ink).

Participants seemed to process congruent data — when the word and print color matched — at the same speed, or slightly slower, when they were sitting compared to when they were standing. But they processed incongruent data – when the word and print color did not match — more quickly when they were on their feet.

The study demonstrates that not all multitasking crimps productivity. In fact, overcompensating for the added stress on your feet sharpens your focus. As someone who just bought a standing desk myself (I highly recommend the Spark desk by Ergodriven for anyone starting out), I believe the studies to be true.

By engaging with my body, standing improves the selectivity of attention. I also use an anti-fatigue mat (check out the Topo by Ergodriven) to mix up my stances to avoid getting achy or tired.

Nevertheless, this latest study suggests that researchers consider other postures than sitting as part of their cognitive testing.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ 99%

2018 is almost here. If you’re like most people, you’re looking to start fresh in the new year.

Start small

When it comes to starting new habits, people aim too high. The trick is lowering the barrier to success to make it feel like you’re winning.


That could mean one push-up or walking at least five minutes until you’re ready to extend your goal. Exercise happens to be one of the ‘keystone habits‘ that unleashes other positive changes like eating healthier or making your bed.

Step by step, habits undermine the resistance to help you do even more.

If you’re still struggling to get started, do it badly. There’s no shame in imperfection if it helps get you closer to the pellets.

Change is first and foremost a decision. It’s the results that happen slowly.

Categories
Productivity & Work

How to use ‘temptation building’ to get things done 

How do you make a strenuous activity more enjoyable? According to Wharton School assistant professor and behavioral economist Katherine Milkman, you bundle it with something that's rewarding in what she calls “temptation building.” #gif #motivation

How do you make a strenuous activity more enjoyable? According to Wharton School assistant professor and behavioral economist Katherine Milkman, you bundle it with something that’s rewarding in what she calls “temptation building.

It goes something like this:

“This means you would restrict your Netflix time to the same time you spend working out – only watch your favorite show while you’re in the gym. Once you leave the gym, you’re left wondering what happens next in that show. The only way to find out (that is, if you stick to the plan) is to reward yourself with the next episode while you’re on the treadmill.”

There are of course countless ways to make the things you ‘should’ do easier. My preference is to listen to a new music playlist while cleaning up the house or checking out the latest Tim Ferriss podcast while jogging on the treadmill. Anything that requires extra effort or creates boredom (like driving), I try to find a way to make the process a little more pleasurable.

The only problem is that temptation bundling strategies are brittle. Every time you skip a workout, it will become harder to start up again. Do it or lose all motivation.

In the long-run (assuming you stick to your habit), the goal is to drop the incentive of temptation altogether. You ‘should’ be able to accomplish things without the extra encouragement. For writers or athletes, practicing each day is non-negotiable and often the force of grit.

There is nothing wrong in dropping carrots for you to get started. Intermixing activities of strain and happiness makes things a little easier.

Read more about temptation building on the ToDoist blog.

Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work

Crime and ‘Punishment’

When most people think of punishment, they think of negative consequences — jail for committing a crime or a lawsuit for tax evasion.

However, voluntary punishment, like stress, can also have benefits.

The US Marines have a saying: “Pain is weakness is leaving the body.”

Sometimes you have to punish yourself to get better. You need to wake up early, to exercise, and do your homework.

Punishment is synonymous with resistance. People want pleasure, not pain. Some consider writing punishment, but it is more like a bicep curl for the brain. As the writer Steven Pressfield likes to say, “the pros play hurt.” The pros play even when they are not motivated.

If you want something, you need to be able to wrestle with punishment. You need to persist in strengthening weaknesses.

Defining punishment comes down to perspective. There are obvious repercussions for doing the wrong things. However, punishment can also be the fuel that helps people progress.