Productivity & Work Psychology

Thinking less to do more

Rhythm builds thoughtlessness. Work can become more natural out of mechanical motion, a kind of doing without thinking.

Employees can’t make one hundred sandwiches in a couple hours without silencing the monkey mind. The process of unthinking begets a chorus of action.

Similarly, we can’t dribble a basketball nor soccer ball effectively while focusing on the mechanics of the perfect touch. The gears of cognition get in the way of flow. Continued practice helps numb the disease of crippling doubt.

Habits are bicep curls for the brain

Good habits strengthen human software, primarily if we aim to do something consistently.

Like brushing our teeth, it’s the repetitive locomotion that undermines inertia and compels one to keep connecting the chain.

We can get used to being productive if we choose to make practice non-negotiable. All such preparation helps plow the field.

Productivity & Work

Creatures of habit

Some of this may sound familiar:

  • Waking up at 6:30 every morning
  • Wearing the attire laid out the night before
  • Repeating the same motivational mantras in front of the bathroom mirror every morning

The benefits of establishing diurnal habits is the pre-planned automation that puts the body in motion before your mind. As a result, you don’t have to think, which saves brain space for other stuff like work priorities.

The drawbacks for habits, even the stuff you don’t want to think about, is that these things lose meaning over time. You’re doing them without questioning their utility in the first place.

Daily routines are meant to be switched up. You may wake up 10 minutes later or earlier. You may decide what to wear in the morning. You may want to choose a new set of mantras to motivate you, or none at all so you can just live.

We are rhythmic creatures

Change is good. Change often to keep the mind fresh from repetition. Mix it up every once in a while in order to stay awake.


Not everything can be accomplished through willpower. Sometimes what we need is a bit of wait power.

M. J. Ryan, on patience

Don’t publish everything you write, but the more you write, the more you have to choose from.

Seth Godin

A Routine Matter

Every habit can be broken down into three parts: a cue, a routine, and a reward. The cue can be a location, an emotional state, a person or group of people, an event—practically anything. For Duhigg’s cookie habit, it was the time of day. The routine is the action that constitutes the habit: eating a cookie or whatever. The reward is the pleasure associated with the habit. To change a habit, all you have to do is “keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine.” That’s it, more or less. That’s the secret.

Every afternoon, I’ll go out and grab a cup of coffee. The break is my cue. The coffee is my routine, and I get rewarded with the happiness that comes from sipping it.

Some days I don’t even need that cup of afternoon coffee. My energy and focus is intact. While I’m not going to necessarily change this coffee habit – trust me, I’ve got some real vices I want to tackle first – it does make me realize that all I need to do is replace the routine (the coffee) with something else equally gratifying as a replacement.

I don’t know what that replacement is right now. Coffee is hard to replace since nothing really has the same immediate impact of being both a mental boost and a relaxer.

William James said it best, “We are mere bundles of habits.” To which he added, “New habits can be launched.”

Since bad habits can be fixed, new habits offer pieces of hope. Thank goodness.


I like to think. 
I like to think.