Tag: productivity

  • ‘Locked’ Value, and Paying for Everything Twice

    How to account for the true cost and value of our possessions? In the same vein as Thoreau, who wrote in Walden: “the cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run”, David Cain suggests that everything…

  • The Zeigarnik Effect and the Force of Incomplete Tasks

    Why do unresolved issues linger in our mind, making us ponder them for days on end? Why are cliffhangers so successful in getting viewers to tune in to the next episode? How can we overcome procrastination? These questions can be answered by learning about the psychological concept/theory known as the Zeigarnik effect. ‘Discovered’ by Soviet…

  • An Ignore List, Setting Schedules and Other Time Management Ideas

    Managing time effectively is a matter of cultivating a consistent and deliberate habit through a number of easy steps, says Peter Bregman, suggesting a three-stage process: detailed planning, refocussing (scheduled breaks) and reviewing. I’ve dabbled with The Pomodoro Technique and GTD and neither have really helped me (granted, I don’t have chronic time-management issues and…

  • In Praise of Self-Tracking: The Data-Driven Life

    It is a natural desire to strive for self-improvement and¬†seek knowledge about oneself, but until recently it has been difficult or impossible to do so objectively and quantitatively. Now, through self-tracking systems and applications that are becoming prevalent in many of our lives thanks to a number of technological advances and sociological changes, we can,…

  • After Procrastination, Self-Forgiveness Limits Further Procrastination

    In a short article summarising six “surprising insights from the social sciences” we are told how those in powerful positions show little restraint when presented with food and are informed that the perceived “attractiveness advantage” of more sociable people is there simply because they groom themselves better. However I feel that the only constructive insight…

  • Questioning (Not Telling) Ourselves is the Best Call-to-Action

    Thinking about whether we will do a task or not (“Will I‚Ķ?”) rather than focusing on actually performing the task (“I will‚Ķ.”) has been shown to increase both the probability of us eventually undertaking the task and how successfully we will perform it. The idea seems that “interrogative self-talk”, rather than declarative statements, leads to…

  • Fixed-Schedule Productivity: Fix the Schedule, Don’t Compromise

    In a guest post for¬†I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Cal Newport of Study Hacks discusses fixed-schedule productivity: a productivity system whereby you set a schedule of work (and play) between certain hours and stick to it ruthlessly. Tim Ferriss aficionados will note that this system relies on a premise that Ferriss heavily depends…

  • The Five Whys

    Five Whys is “a question-asking method used to explore the cause/effect relationships underlying a particular problem. Ultimately, the goal of applying the 5 Whys method is to determine a root cause of a defect or problem”. Developed by Taiichi Ohno–one of the inventors of the Toyota Production System–the oft-cited example is as follows: My car…

  • Procrastination as Newton’s First Law

    There’s a lot I identify with in this article of¬†Joel Spolsky’s where he talks of using the Fire and Motion strategy to cope with workplace procrastination. There have been times in my career as a developer when I went for weeks at a time without being able to get anything done. As they say, I’m…

  • The Cult of Done

    The Cult of Done Manifesto¬†is a compelling list of ‘rules’ for getting things done. I think the premise of The Cult of Done is: to do;¬†to be unconcerned with failure; to learn from outcomes, be they good or bad. I particularly like the Rubix Cube¬†manifesto¬†poster. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and…