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Productivity & Work

Doing more begets more productivity

Busy people get more done. Having multiple priorities creates a state of flow.

Hesitation is a preventative form of worry. The chronic overthinker pays the toll of inertia and then frets about the lack of time to get things done.

The most productive days are those in which we go immediately into action, en medias res, with a to-do list baked in our head.

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

Bruce Lee 

Of course, busyness is not a badge to wear either.

If we’re going to chase something, it better be something we enjoy. Passion helps empower the grit and absolve the grind.

Doing meaningful work centers us. But for that, we must also take responsibility and choose to do the work every day.

The doing starts before we’re ready. After all, the doing is why there’s knowing.

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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.

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Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Inspiration is a myth

All the inspiration exists and is equally distributed.

But the ubiquity of motivational quotes and rags to riches biographies can be sheer fodder. Instead of doing the work, we get caught in the cycle of disattention.

The role of the artist is the create a reality for themselves. We can’t expect to copy and paste someone else’s experience as our own.

Inspirational quotes exist to help is reflect, rewind, and then compel us to push us along. Our mood board is a visual impetus, not an excuse to procrastinate.

The environment is continually changing, with a priori information overwriting the old ways of doing things.

We can always expect our path to be messy, but with the right mentality, our bodies and minds equally resilient.

Scouring the internet for a hit of motivational dopamine is only temporary. It’s the perspiration that has to be permanent.

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Arts Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Tech

Brian Eno: ‘Try not to get a job’

What would the world look like if everyone was guaranteed a basic income?

For musician Brian Eno, that society would put a lot more emphasis on time well spent.

“Try not to get a job. Try to leave yourself in a position where you do the things you want to do with your time and where you take maximum advantage of wherever your possibilities are.”

Brian Eno

Of course, not everyone can afford to remain jobless; the harsh reality is that work pays the bills and keeps us alive. But as more jobs get outsourced to robots and artificial intelligence, humans will need new ways to think about their responsibility.

What will we do when there’s no work to be done?

Work defines who we are. It forms the nucleus of our identity. However, a jobless world may encourage more innovative thinking about ourselves and our role in a secular, globalized world.  Perhaps it’ll compel some people to pursue more passionate work, the type of vocations that choose them instead of the other way around.

In such a world, we’ll be makers instead of cogs, thinkers instead of algorithmic lemmings. Writes Oliver Burkeman in The Antidote: “There is a positive correlation between the fear of death and the sense of unlived life.”

To work on something we actually enjoy is to live.

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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.

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.