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.

History Sports

The Yin and Yang of Basketball 🏀

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It started in 1891 when James Naismith, a PE teacher in Springfield, Massachusetts needed to keep his students entertained inside during the winter. He put up two hoops at either end and used a soccer ball for shooting. Dribbling became the only way to move forward. Fouling led to brawls. Naismith called the game “Basketball.” 🏀

Below are some of the key milestones outlined in this fascinating podcast on the origins of basketball from 99% Invisible.

1891: The first basketball game. Naismith makes an arbitrary decision to make the hoop 10 feet.

1936: The first slam dunk in an organized basketball game. Big men or “goons” dominate the game.

1945: Goaltending gets banned.

1966: NCAA Texas Western beats Kentucky. The Texas Western plays were all black, Kentucky all white. Pat Riley played for Kentucky.

1967: The game gets political. The dunk becomes “the black power manifest.” NCAA bans the dunk for 10 years, a racist decision. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is in disbelief. Without the dunk, basketball becomes boring.

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1970s: The ABA introduces the three-point shot, an egalitarian shift that gave smaller players new opportunities.

1976: The ABA merges with the NBA.

Flash forward through the years of Bird, Magic, the Bad Boys, Jordan, Shaq/Kobe….

And Steph Curry, a skinny guard at 6’3, dominates the league today by shooting lights out. The young generation wants to play like Steph Curry. The NBA game becomes about quickness and traditionalists (e.g. Greg Popovic) fear the game is getting out of control. What’s next: a 4-point shot?

Whatever happens to the dunk or the 3-point (or 4-point), there will always be the layup.

Listen: 99% Invisible: 199- The Yin and Yang of Basketball