Categories
Productivity & Work

The 100% Rule

cat no effort
An ‘A,’ for lack of effort

Half-ass efforts produce half-ass results. The same goes for 99 percent effort. If you don’t commit 100 percent to whatever it is–quitting smoking, writing a book, taking photography seriously–it’s going to fall to the wayside.

“99 per cent is a b*tch. 100 per cent is a breeze.” Jack Canfield, The Success Principles

What do you tend to? What is your one non-negotiable that you do every day regardless of the circumstances. I publish a blog post each day, even if it’s trash. But who cares; I shipped! When I was a kid, the daily habit was basketball. Rain or shine or below freezing temperatures I was outside shooting hoops or at least dribbling in the garage. The dedication paid off in games.

Worrying about getting something done is far worse than than the actual doing. So make a promise to yourself to win at one thing every day. Once you get started, anticipation fades into the background; now, you’ve got no choice but to do it. When you do the work, the rest follows. Action first. Deduce later.

Give it 100 percent. Don’t overthink it. Go all in. And start before you’re ready.

The 100 per cent rule: The simple advice that changed my life

Categories
Productivity & Work Psychology

Why life hacks are a more efficient way of cheating

Why life hacks are a more efficient way of cheating
Creatures of habit

Hacking diets, hacking sleep, hacking homework, hacking workouts, hacking language learning. Despite being a shortcut, life hacks work because they still require effort—they are the perfect placebo.

Fortunately, we live in a digital age where apps help us develop strong habits. We can learn French more efficiently in 5-minutes on Duolingo a day than paying for a 45-minute class. The 7-minute daily workout is scientifically proven to strengthen our core muscles. Simplifying learning and exercise not only save time, but they also produce real results.

As imperfect humans, we seek guides to life that sustain encouragement and don’t take a full-time commitment– we strive for good enough. Yes, we can just as easily avoid effort by medicating our problems away–taking an Adderall to get to work, drinking a Coffiest instead of eating breakfast and drinking coffee or skipping the gym to get weight loss surgery. But those are shortcuts that force an unnatural behavior. What we long for is a system of practices that lead to natural results.

The reason we yield to bad habits is that we either can’t control our resistance or don’t care enough to find an alternative. The trick, therefore, is performing small successful actions like doing one push-up until we can do five.

Once we get started, according to the Zeigarnik effect, we’re less likely to give up. Life hacks not only kickstart positive habits; they help them stick around. The only way to reap the rewards is to do the work.

Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work Psychology Science

Improve your writing with this technique 

Improve your writing with this technique #writing #amwriting
Slow down

Writers often suggest that you type fast to get the ideas out of your head and onto the screen. This productivity hack may help you get into a flow state and achieve your daily word count, but it can also hurt the quality of your writing.

Quality > Quantity

A recent study published in the British Journal of Psychology reveals that typing with one hand pauses the brain just enough to process more complex words and sentences. Co-author of the study Mr. Srdan Medimorec explains the benefits of slowing down the pace of your writing:

“Typing can be too fluent or too fast, and can actually impair the writing process. It seems that what we write is a product of the interactions between our thoughts and the tools we use to express them.”

Srdan Medimorec

If you write on your mobile device like I do, you’ll notice that you often have no choice but to type with one hand–your thumb–especially when you’re on the go. What appears to be an inconvenience improves the quality of your prose. Notes the study’s other lead Evan F. Risko:

“This is the first study to show that when you interfere with people’s typing, their writing can get better. We’re not saying that students should write their term papers with one hand, but our results show that going fast can have its drawbacks. This is important to consider as writing tools continue to emerge that let us get our thoughts onto the proverbial page faster and faster.”

The sound of one hand typing 

Writing by hand shows a similar positive impact of disfluency–your pen can’t match the pace of your thoughts. The moments in-between, like deliberate interruptions, help produce more sophisticated writing. Conversely, writing too slow can make the quality of your writing worse.

The ideal writing environment therefore seems to be driven by tools (e.g. one-hand typing, analog writing, speech-to-text) that impede the pace of your output by allowing time to edit your thoughts before they get sketched onto screen or paper.

People Who Write Well Do This One Simple Thing, Psych Study Finds

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
Productivity & Work Social Media Tech

The Myth of Inbox Zero

Keep on checking…. (Image via Samuel Zeller)

“God, I’m so proud of keeping my inbox to zero,” said no one ever.

Inbox Zero is a futile game. It’s a fun myth created by life hackers to illustrate stellar productivity. But the internet never ends and no one has ever achieved anything great by having an empty inbox. In fact, a plethora of email is more likely to be a sign of busyness, as is a messy desk.

A lot of people like email because it offers more control than the incessant social media feeds. It also avoids the regrettable FOMO that comes with checking Facebook and Twitter. Meanwhile, startups like Slack are trying to merge email with instant messaging and social. to make communication more efficient. But try as they will to reinvent email, it’ll still be there in its simplest form like our snail mail.

Email is a punching bag – you can hit it as hard as you want but the dimple is temporary. Bills, newsletters, and spam always reform to force you to mark them ‘read.’

You can’t defeat email – the best you can do is to contain it.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Break the Code

joel-filipe-193766 (1)

Your DNA runs on a floppy disk. You are who you are from the minute you’re born. That’s just the way it is. Deal with it.

While your genes predetermine your physicality and mentality, the latter is more malleable. My favorite stories are those that break the rules. Someone defies the caste system; they pick themselves instead of waiting for someone to pick them. They embrace the fear but do it anyway.

Everyone’s got tendencies; most people let their doubt win. Staying pumped up takes practice. Believe long enough and supplement it with effort and magically things start to unfold. They have to. It’s the law of momentum.

Persistence requires staying upbeat. As Muhammad Ali said: “When I win the fight,” he already predetermined the outcome. He was either going to be right or be upset but move on anyway. When they studied Ali, he apparently had none of the characteristics of being a boxer.

Prepare for the best by being at your best when your best is needed. What else is there to lose but the genes? The mind is naked. Break the code.

Dream wildly but be bluntly honest about what you need to do to get there.