How to Stop Procrastinating and Actually Get Stuff Done

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How to stop procrastinating

I can be a pretty bad procrastinator.

In school, I put off writing essays until the day before they were due. At home, the dishes pile up and out of the sink more often than I’d like. Putting things off can be a real problem in my life and I know I’m not alone.

I’ve talked to other procrastinators of all types—from slacker students to fearful entrepreneurs to creatives who religiously refuse to start a project until there’s a deadline staring them in the face. And the one thing I’ve learned is that procrastinators never learn.

For entrepreneurs, especially, procrastination can become a regular hurdle, making it necessary to take certain steps to ensure it doesn’t stand in the way of you getting your idea off the ground.

But the first step on the road to recovery is to understand why it is we put things off.

Why do we procrastinate?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not necessarily because we’re lazy.

According to Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University, there are three main breeds among procrastinators:

  • The Thrill Seeker procrastinates to experience the last minute rush, like they’ve just defused a bomb with only seconds to spare.
  • The Avoider procrastinates because they’re afraid of being judged, of the consequences of failure or, believe it or not, success.
  • The Indecisive procrastinates as a byproduct of perfectionism, feeling it necessary to seize every second they have to do the best job they can.

Most of us probably fall into certain categories for different things.

And every now and then we resolve to get organized, to do things in advance, but it’s only a matter of time until we relapse. The only way to beat procrastination is to be conscious of it in our lives and to develop ways to work around it.

So, if you have the tendency to put things off and are looking for a way to change, here are some proven strategies you can adopt.

Create last-minute panic in the present

One of the reasons we procrastinate is to experience the thrill of racing against the clock. Somehow we’ve conditioned ourselves to think we do our best work during those final moments leading up to a deadline.

These “near deadline experiences” force us to make decisions that we would otherwise put off and to work at peak efficiency. Because, well, we have no other choice.

One way to induce last minute panic months in advance is to set due dates well before your actual deadline to deceive yourself into completing tasks earlier.

If false deadlines don’t work, break your workload down into smaller tasks and set a timer as you attempt to finish each one. Racing against the clock is a good way to create pressure when there is none.

1-Click Timer is a simple chrome extension that pits you against a timer to get things done.

1-click timer

Any timer will work, but the point here is to help yourself stay focused on the task at hand and simulate the pressure of cutting it close. If something “should only take an hour”, this is one way to ensure it does.

Write down your plans (preferably in pencil)

Many procrastinators put things off because they like to keep their options open and let life (or a lack of time) force them into making decisions and finishing what they started.

For procrastinators, calendars are poorly maintained and To Do lists become To-Morrow lists. It’s important for chronic procrastinators to organize themselves in a way that accommodates flexibility, improvisation and the inevitable chaos of life.

This is why I recommend Trello— it gives you full control over the way you manage tasks, your team, a project or an entire business venture. And it’s free.

Try this Trello board template, based on the system I currently use to keep my life together, if you need a place to start.

trello board template for procrastinators

Simply create your board, add tasks as cards to different lists, assign due dates if necessary, or even make your cards slowly fade into nothingness if you ignore a task for too long. Trello even comes with a calendar view to give you an outline of what’s ahead that lets you move due dates around with a simple drag-and-drop.

Tip: Start every item on your To Do list with a verb to paint a specific picture of each task. We do actions (“Write product description”), not nouns (“Product description”).

Choose productive ways to procrastinate

Procrastinators typically favor instant gratification. Everything else is a problem for another day.

Naturally, one way to battle procrastination—especially when it comes to mundane tasks like scheduling social media posts—is to find a way to pair what you need to do with something you’d rather be doing.

Listen to music or a podcast, watch your favorite movie on Netflix, do something else that doesn’t require your full attention. Find some way to whistle while you work.

Another strategy is to practice structured procrastination: embracing procrastination and opting for a productive alternative to whatever it is you’re putting off.

Just because it’s not “what you’re supposed to be doing”, doesn’t mean it’s not productive—like reading a blog post to learn a new skill instead of doing the dishes, or building your ecommerce business instead of finishing that report for your boss. But, whenever possible, limit yourself to tasks that contribute to the same goal as the thing you’re putting off.

Instead of staring at a blank screen trying to come up with a name or tagline for your business idea, why not use that time to do something else that’ll bring you closer to your goal? Like shopping around for the perfect theme for your online store?

Ride out the momentum of “starting”

“Starting” is oftentimes a procrastinator’s kryptonite: The mere thought of it makes us weak. But once we climb that mountain and get in our zone, stopping is just as hard as starting.

Everyone’s got a different ritual for getting into their zone, whether it means relocating to a specific spot in your house or waking up at 5 am to get some work done.

A useful trick that works for a lot of people (including myself) is to listen to the same song on repeat to encourage a state of intense focus. Just try to keep it light on the lyrics.

Ryan Holiday, along with other successful entrepreneurs, is an advocate of this strategy:

Melodic music, played on repeat, puts you in a heightened emotional state—while simultaneously dulling your awareness to most of your surroundings.

Adopt a ship-it mentality

Procrastination is often attributed to laziness. But even obsessive workaholics put things off too, though for a different reason.

Many an entrepreneur has been paralyzed by the pursuit of “perfect”. And it can be a real time-waster trying to get everything exactly right.

Get used to going live without all the kinks worked out, especially if it’s something you can easily revisit later after soliciting feedback or leveraging data to make more informed improvements.

Prioritize tasks and make a plan of attack based on what should get out the door ASAP, what you have to wait on, and what you need to do before you can move on.

Sending emails is an example of a low effort, often essential task that’s easy to put off. Waiting on a reply has the potential to become a bottleneck. Keep these things in mind and fight through the desire to put it off.

Conquer procrastination (now rather than later)

Procrastinators are typically flexible people, good under pressure, and know how to improvise in the face of chaos. After all, they put themselves in tight situations on a daily basis.

But there’s an ugly side to it too. The quality of your work might suffer and the compounding effect of unnecessary stress can negatively impact your health. So it’s an important problem to address while you can.

The desire to put things off will inevitably rear its ugly head throughout your life. But the next time it does, stare it down and tell it, “Not today”. Because the best way to invest in your future is always in the present.

If you’ve got other tips for kicking procrastination to the curb, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

6 Daily Habits That Can Make You the Most Productive Person in the Office

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Ever wish you had 30 hours in a day to get more stuff done? Then again, how tired would you feel? You may already be exhausted by working eight hours per day.

Well, if you’re struggling to juggle work and life while trying to maximize your day without killing your health in the process, remember this: Being more productive doesn’t mean working harder or longer; it means working smarter.

Here are six ways to be more productive, the smart way:

1. Cut down the distractions.

Distractions are productivity’s biggest enemy. To make the most of your day, ax whatever is keeping you from being focused and productive. Take your work environment into account. Is sound/noise, lighting, the way the room is configured–like open-floor plans–a problem? Try relocating to a different space or make a case for working remotely. The key is finding out what distractions are messing with your productivity, and then doing something about it.

2. Have good boundaries.

Let me ask you: What’s most important for you to get done? Whatever it is, focus all your energy on those things. Take billionaire Warren Buffett, for example. With all the demands on him every day, Buffett learned a long time ago that the greatest commodity of all is time. He simply mastered the art and practice of setting boundaries for himself. The mega-mogul once said, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

3. Simplify.

Productive people are masters of simplifying things down to what matters most. They have a simple schedule. They live according to their values and purpose. They have no problem saying no to people or things that don’t serve them. If something coming their way on Tuesday has little value and doesn’t make them better on Wednesday, they simply walk away.

4. Exercise the “Pomodoro Technique.”

If done correctly, this classic time-management hack can help you get things done in short work intervals. First, decide on the tasks you want to check off from your to-do list. Next, set a timer to 25 minutes and knock off those items until the timer rings. After you finish, take a five-minute break and repeat the cycle four times. After the fourth cycle, take a 15- to 30-minute break and start over. The key is to focus on the short bursts, as it helps you to concentrate on your tasks without distractions.

5. Take more breaks

This sounds counterintuitive to being more productive at first, but according to a New York Times article, research shows that “daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office, and longer, more frequent vacations” actually boost productivity and job performance. Truth is, humans aren’t wired to concentrate for more than three hours at a time. Anything beyond that without a break and you’ll start to experience the negative effects of decision fatigue, lack of focus, and even impaired vision.

6. Schedule your to-do list items.

This productivity hack helps you be more realistic about what you want to get done. Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, says, “Scheduling forces you to confront the reality of how much time you actually have and how long things will take. Now that you look at the whole picture, you’re able to get something productive out of every free hour you have in your workday. You not only squeeze more work in but you’re able to put work into places where you can do it best.”

8 Simple Productivity Hacks Backed By Science

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In a world where your output is often measured by how much you can do on any given day, productivity is a serious concern. Entrepreneurs are their own boss, and while this has many benefits, procrastination and loss of focus can derail your efforts. As a digital nomad, these risks are compounded as work often has to fit around travel and different time zones.

Arguably, it’s better to be effective than productive, suggesting that being effective is about focusing on the right things. But all things being equal, if you were productive at what makes you most effective, you wouldn’t just get more done – you would truly be on the path to success.

So, how can you boost your productivity? Here are eight simple hacks you should try for yourself.

1. Turn Up The Tunes

Dr. Teresa Lesiuk at the University of Miami studied the effect listening to music had on work performance. What she found was that those who listened to music while working worked faster, had better ideas and experienced positive mood change.

You may want to experiment with different types of music for optimal performance. If you find music with lyrics too distracting, then classical or meditation music might be best. Personally, I have a soothing playlist with tracks by Ludovico Einaudi and Ólafur Arnalds which helps with creative thinking and strategy sessions.

2. Work Up A Sweat

study conducted at Bristol University found that exercise boosted employee performance by 21%. Their research was based on 200 employees across three organizations who exercised one day and didn’t exercise the next. Overall, on workout days, participant scores were 21% higher for concentration, 22% higher for finishing work on time, 25% higher for working without unscheduled breaks and 41% higher for feeling motivated.

3. Make Your Office Green

According to the University of Exeter, employee productivity soars by 15% when offices are furnished with just a handful of houseplants. Plants are also known to reduce stress, illness, absenteeism and noise levels. They can also help with cleaning the air and making your workspace more attractive to job applicants.

While a bonsai may look aesthetically pleasing, opt for something low maintenance like a cactus, spider or pothos plant. Looking at an office full of dead plants isn’t going to do much for productivity.

4. Get More Sleep

The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found in a 2010 study that employees with insomnia or insufficient sleep experienced major productivity losses, spending almost three times as much of their day just on time management. Sleep-deprived workers also suffered a lack of motivation, couldn’t focus, had trouble remembering things and making good decisions. Getting your seven to eight hours per night is highly recommended.

5. Focus On One Thing At A Time

study from 2009 shows that heavy media multitaskers are more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli. Multitaskers also performed worse on a test of task-switching. As it turns out, multitaskers are just more distracted.

If you want to get more done, do one thing at a time. Your concentration will improve, and ultimately, you’ll be more productive. My inbox is usually the biggest distraction that causes me to jump from one task to another so I make sure my phone notifications are off and my inbox is closed when I am working on big tasks.

6. Take Planned Breaks

Some people like to avoid distractions and get into a flow state while working. This makes a lot of sense on paper and when it’s crunch time I have been in danger of getting too in the zone. As it turns out, brief diversions can improve focus and performance, according to a study conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Don’t forget to take a few quick breaks throughout your workday. Just make sure they are planned at intervals and not too long.

7. Power Nap

You would think sleeping on the job is a terrible idea. Typically, this would be viewed as a blatant act of defiance in the workplace. But according to a studyconducted by Vern Baxter and Steve Kroll-Smith, more employers are encouraging employees to take naps. As companies empowered their employees to nap, their overall productivity increased. Napping may not be the norm for you or your team, but it might be worth considering adding it to your routine or company culture.

8. Go For Walks

A 2014 study from Stanford University demonstrated the value of going for walks. Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz found that participants who were walking – versus sitting – came up with 60% more unique responses to stimuli.

If you’re trying to solve a difficult problem, or if you’re beginning to feel a little tired, going for a walk might be an excellent way to stimulate creative thinking and come up with better solutions to the problems you’re encountering. In case you were thinking of staying inside and walking on a treadmill, think again, walking outside is better for creativity.

Final Thoughts

While productivity hacks can appear counterintuitive by taking you away from your work, the long term benefits of taking care of yourself physically and mentally will make you more productive in the long run.

How To Spend The First Hour Of Your Work Day On High-Value Tasks

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Don’t begin the activities of your day until you know exactly what you plan to accomplish. Don’t start your day until you have it planned. — Jim RohnEvery morning, get one most important thing done immediately.There is nothing more satisfying than feeling like you’re already in the flow.And the easiest way to trigger this feeling is to work on your most important task in the first hour.Use your mornings for high-value workLean to avoid the busy work that adds no real value to your work, vision or long-term goal.

Low-value activities, including responding to notifications, or reacting to emails keep you busy and stop you from getting real work done. Make time for work that matters.

In his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen says, “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”

Research shows that it takes, on average, more than 23 minutes to fully recover your concentration after a trivial interruption.

Productive mornings start with early wake-up calls

“In a poll of 20 executives cited by Vanderkam, 90% said they wake up before 6 a.m. on weekdays.

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, for example, wakes at 4 a.m. and is in the office no later than 7 a.m.

Meanwhile, Disney CEO Bob Iger gets up at 4:30 to read, and Square CEO Jack Dorsey is up at 5:30 to jog.”

The first quiet hour of the morning can be the ideal time to focus on an important work project without being interrupted.

Don’t plan your day in the first hour of your morning

Cut the planning and start doing real work. You are most active on a Monday Morning.

Think about it. After a weekend of recovery, you have the most energy, focus and discipline to work on your priorities.

Don’t waste all that mental clarity and energy planning what to do in the next eight hours.

Do your planning the night before.

Think of Sunday as the first chance to prepare yourself for the week’s tasks.

Monday mornings will feel less dreadful and less overwhelming if you prepare the night before.

If you choose to prioritize …

There are one million things you could choose to do in your first hour awake.

If you choose to start your day with a daily check list/to-do list, make sure that next to every task you have the amount of time it will take to complete them.

The value of the of putting time to tasks is that, every time you check something off, you are able to measure how long it took you to get that task done, and how much progress you are making to better plan next time.

Get the uncomfortable out of the way

You probably know about Brian Tracy’s “eat-a-frog” – technique from his classic time-management book, Eat That Frog?

In the morning, right after getting up, you complete the most unwanted task you can think of for that day (= the frog).

Ideally you’ve defined this task in the evening of the previous day.

Completing an uncomfortable or difficult task not only moves it out of your way, but it gives you great energy because you get the feeling you’ve accomplished something worthwhile.

Do you have a plan from yesterday?

Kenneth Chenault, former CEO and Chairman of American Express, once said in an interview that the last thing he does before leaving the office is to write down the top 3 things to accomplish tomorrow, then using that list to start his day the following morning.

This productivity hack works for me.

It helps me focus and work on key tasks. It also helps me disconnect at the end of the day and allow time for my brain to process and reboot.

Trust me, planning your day the night before will give you back a lot wasted hours in the morning and lower your stress levels.

Try this tonight.

If you’re happy with the results, then commit to trying it for a week.

After a week, you’ll be able to decide whether you want to add “night-before planning” to your life.

Want to get more done in less time?

You need systems not goals. I’m creating a new course, Systems For Getting Work Done to help you create a personal productivity system to get 10X more done in less time. Sign up to be notified when it launches.

This article first appeared on Medium.

3 Small Habits That Improved My Productivity and Well-Being

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You often hear about new methods to increase productivity, boost incomes, and raise brand profile. You get advice from experts on habits to decrease clutter, work on the essential, and concentrate harder. You aren’t always told that these same habits and methods can help your wellbeing–and your productivity.

This is why I was happy to come across Atomic Habits by James Clear and watch him talk on the subject in Nashville this January. Clear’s New York Times bestselling book collects all the current research on habits and distills it down to easily applicable principles you can use in your own life and work. In the end, it’s all about building good systems so you see the results you want down the road.

After listening to Clear, I found these three small habits really useful.

1. Stack your habits.

Habit stacking is a great way to jump-start a new habit. The idea is to use a habit you already have as a cue to trigger your new habit. Basically, it follows this formula: After [current habit], I will [new habit].

This idea, which originally came from research conducted by Stanford professor BJ Fogg, can be applied to many areas of life. For example, I found I wasn’t drinking enough water to stay hydrated. So I stacked drinking water onto something I already do, which is drinking a cup of coffee.

Getting my coffee fix is an automatic, preexisting habit. Once I have my favorite dark brew, I will drink three cups of water.

This can be applied to your productivity as well. Clear shared how a woman at a financial firm stacks her habits at work. She said, after she checks future prices, she will email her clients.

2. Change your environment.

A good habit doesn’t stand a chance against a bad environment. This is why those office cookies can keep throwing you off even if you work out and eat well. But if you design your own environment to encourage good habits or discourage bad ones, you will have more success.

I had read Tim Ferriss’s idea of cutting back on technology for wellness. So I designed my new environment to keep my phone and computer out of the bedroom. I would place them in a bowl on my living room coffee table, so if I wanted to use them I would I have to go out there.

When you’re already in bed, you don’t want to get out. This has allowed me to relax at night and focus on my new habit of practicing 10 minutes of mindfulness.

At Clear’s talk, he shared with the audience how he used environmental design to increase his own productivity. When he was writing his book Atomic Habits, he got way behind. In order to complete the book, he decided to change his work environment to make it less distracting.

Basically, Clear made it difficult to look at his social media accounts during the week. He accomplished this not by strength of will but instead by having his assistant log him out of his accounts every Monday–and change his passwords. He would then get the new passwords on Friday, leaving him free to concentrate on the book during the week.

3. Never miss twice.

People tend to be all or nothing with habits. You’re either someone who works out three days a week or doesn’t work out. You’re someone who eats salads or someone who eats office cookies. There’s no middle ground.

The problem is that life always interferes with cues and triggers for good habits. It breaks your routines.

Clear’s advice is we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about falling off track. The goal is to never miss twice. Sure, you may have missed the gym once this week, but that doesn’t mean the whole system is off. Chocolate may come into my office and I’ll have a piece, but as long as I don’t miss my good eating habits twice in a row, I can keep on track.

This can be applied to work as well. Clear shared how he used the idea of never missing twice with his online blog. When he started the blog, his goal was to publish every Monday and Thursday. However, sometimes life would intervene and he would miss a Monday. Instead of giving up writing altogether, he would just get back on track on Thursday. By not missing twice, he was able to consistently publish his blog and grow a following.

All three habits are great. His practical advice has worked wonders for creating habits that stick for me. Since applying his advice, I’ve been able to start new habits, stay focused, and, more importantly, get back on track if I lose out one day.

Personal Productivity Is A Personal Choice

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Many people live their lives by circumstance with no plan. As a result, some wind up unhappy. How many times a day do you hear, “I just don’t have the time” or “There are not enough hours in the day”?

We are all busy working on something — in our jobs or our personal lives, fulfilling commitments to others, striving to be productive. But as many time-management experts have said, we are often too busy to be productive.

There is an array of products and services available to manage time better; many of them are somewhat efficient. Still, most are based on managing circumstantial time — when to have which meeting, how long each meeting should last, etc. — rather than being goal-driven. Of course, there are goal-focused seminars and programs, but attendees sometimes come up with goals to appear as though they are participating. Those goals may not be real, and accordingly, they have no power.

“OK,” you may say, “what does work?”

Take The Path Of Common Sense 

Firstly, most of what I’m about to write is common sense. However, I’ve found that sometimes common sense is frequently less than common. People work too hard to make sense of what they are doing, making everything more complicated than necessary.

To keep things simple, I try to develop three sets of goals: business, family and personal. In setting these goals, I am diligent not only to assure that I can attain each but also include a genuine happiness level I will give myself when I succeed. Hence, the goals have power and prepare me to make the choices I need to meet them.

Common sense? Sure, but clearly, there is more.

For instance, it makes sense to keep a calendar, and a lot of executives work hard at abiding by their calendars. But often, others have control of that calendar, scheduling meetings, trips, even personal things like remembering anniversaries or perhaps a child’s play date, which augurs well for being programmed by circumstance.

To me, it’s common sense to control my calendar myself. That way, I empower me, not circumstance, to schedule by my goal-driven plan.

Stop ‘Trying To Do It All’

“Ah,” you may react, “that sounds great, but you can’t control the workplace environment — stuff just happens.”

That’s true to a certain degree, but if one is assiduous in planning against a set of goals, there will be enough time to react to and deal with the inevitable circumstantial events. Let’s take this concept a step further with one example.

Usually, by late Wednesday, I have enough emails about however many meetings there will be the next week. I look at all of them carefully and objectively and decide which meetings I must go to. If a meeting does not fit into my goal plan and somebody else can cover it, I decide to do something that advances my goals. These types of choices save me hundreds of hours a year.

Common sense, right? For me, yes. But I find that many people seem to feel as though attending every meeting or conference call makes them important. Consequently, they fail at being productive overall because they are too exhausted and stressed from “trying to do it all.”

Granted, as a senior leader, I may have more leeway in controlling my calendar than others might, but I firmly believe that anybody who starts with the confidence and diligence to control their calendar against a broader life plan will facilitate other time-management practices.

I’m not advocating that we cavalierly thumb our noses at things we don’t want to do. Responsible scheduling requires maturity and objectivity to assess reality. I am suggesting that by making a plan that includes conscientious, measured choices in how we control our time, we can generate the personal productivity it takes to attain our goals and enjoy the happiness that brings.

Narcissistic Ignorance and A More Productive You

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You might have observed a common feature of the new age activist to be a potent lack of charisma. Ready-made phrases half-remembered, delivered with the aimless gusto of a squirrel with vertigo. Passionate speeches presented clumsily. The best of them are sloppy regurgitations and the worst of them are unintelligible.

Lately, it seems we’re encouraged to supplant acknowledgment of our shortcomings with distractions and oversimplifications. Freedom of expression has been redefined as a celebration of ignorance – one that is governed by an enmity toward expertise. Working in tandem with this is the societal effect of the degradation of language Orwell warned us about more than 70 years ago.


A vulgar misunderstanding of terms like “democracy” has curbed forward thought and dispelled the notion of appraising opinions. The youthful impulse to hold mavens to the fire isn’t itself a problem. A problem only arises when the impulse ceases to be attended by research and self-awareness. Being informed is a long painful, humbling process.

Authority is not a virtue earned lightly.

“Unskilled and unaware”

I recently wrote about the pluralistic ignorance of imposter syndrome-the idea that everyone feels alone in their self-doubt. This collective lack of confidence is certainly a hindrance to a productive labor system but the other end of the cognitive spectrum is just as detrimental. This other end was officially classified in response to the comical misfortune of a man named Mcarthur Wheeler.

In 1995, Wheeler robbed two banks in Pittsburgh- in broad daylight. As he exited the banks (both of them) he made a point to smile at surveillance cameras-without a mask. He did, however, have a coat of lemon juice on his face. When authorities caught him they showed him the security footage. Wheeler’s reaction was one of utter bemusement.

Given that lemon juice is sometimes used as an ingredient when creating invisible ink it stands to “reason” that bathing one’s face in the stuff would effectively conceal it from cameras. Wheeler wasn’t under the influence of any substances nor was he clinically insane.

This profound error of judgment alerted the interest of psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger. The two soon after conducted studies to explore the Illusion of superiority instanced by Wheeler- inspiring the label: The Dunning Kruger effect.

The Dunning Kruger effect refers to the unearned sense of mastery expressed by those of low ability; a misunderstanding of aptitude energized by a lack of base level knowledge.

Dunning and Kruger began inspecting the condition with a pool of undergraduate students. After presenting them with a series of cognitive tasks they would ask the students how well they thought they did. Those that scored the lowest consistently overestimated how well they did by a significant margin.

The effect doesn’t just apply to academia. Similar experiments conducted at a gun range birthed the same results. Another study asked software engineers at two companies to evaluate their performance. 32% of the employees at one company and 42% of employees at the other company rated themselves in the top 5%.

It’s not merely a matter of overconfidence. It’s a blind defiance of logic. The more incompetent you are, the more vulnerable you are to mistakes of self-perception.

“A Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all.”

Tom Nichols detailed a potential cause pretty powerfully in his book back in 2017. The Death Of Expertise describes the mass rejection of science and rationality. Nichols correctly suggests that the right we all have to speech has blunted our ability to properly assess its value. In some instances, some people’s import is worth more than others. That’s an important and obvious distinction to make.

“Doctors, whatever their errors, seem to do better with most illnesses than faith healers or your Aunt Ginny and her special chicken gut poultice. To reject the notion of expertise, and to replace it with a sanctimonious insistence that every person has a right to his or her own opinion, is silly.” Charitable.

Our rabid antipathy toward experts partly owes itself to our collective masochism-particularly when it comes to progress.  We have a long way to go in the fields of science and epistemology. I understand the tendency to focus on the “lack ofs” that is bred out of frustration, but we’ve made some considerable strides. That’s undeniable. It is objectively lucky to born in the year 2019.

Every plane that doesn’t crash, every person that doesn’t die from this or from that is a testament to our trajectory and a plea to adhere to the counsel of those that have put in the work and time in their respective fields.

A hesitance to request honest feedback, and a commitment to the idea that pundits don’t exist, is heartening drab dialogue. On a selfish level, narcissistic ignorance has made many of us incredibly boring and unproductive. You can’t concurrently harbor a fear of failure and a passion for enlightenment. Just like you can’t have a proper shave without a mirror.

Metacognition

In closing, I’d like to share some thoughts on thoughts; i.e. the only thing keeping me from being a horrible writer is the awareness that I’m, at best, a pretty bad one.

The process of evaluating the extent of what you do and do not know falls under the umbrella of a term coined by a developmental psychologist named John Flavell, in 1976: metacognition, “thinking about thinking.”

It’s the cycle of scrutiny and surveillance that equips us with instruments of self-improvement. The idea that because information is so readily available expertise is just a free afternoon away is both quixotic and cynical. Reading a Wikipedia article about existentialism with the expectation of becoming erudite is like eating an apple without a stomach and expecting the nutrients.

Like Nichols states, intuitive knowledge is more complicated than memory retention. Lived experiences matter.

Skepticism isn’t itself the issue. In fact, true progress requires a healthy dose of it. Not on its own though. Pyrrhonism is a highly reactive property. Coupling it with deliberation, and a clear understanding of individual strengths and weaknesses, promotes it considerably.

We have much more to learn from the failure of experts than we do from the critique of fools.

People Who Value Time More Than Money Are Happier and More Productive

Author Article

Money is deeply rooted in how we’ve evolved. It continues to produce powerful effects on our behavior.We spend a great deal of time thinking about money.

We talk about it, worry over it, stress over it, and wonder if we have enough to meet our immediate needs now and in the future.


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Most of us never seem to have enough, and we’re spending a good chunk of it earning money.

An additional $5,000 a year could make a huge difference in your life.

But, according to research, people who value time more than money are happier and more productive in life.

Prioritizing time is associated with greater happiness.

The scientists ran several studies, both online and in-person.

Over 4,000 people were asked the same question:

You guessed right.

Most people were practical: Around 64 percent surveyed answered “more money.”

But the people who said they’d prefer more time were generally happier.

But the research goes beyond that.

“What matters is the value people place on each resource,” the authors said.

“Beyond the amount of these resources people have, happiness is linked to the resource people want.”

The study further revealed something else about the participants. Brian Resnick of Vox writes:

People who tended to choose more time also tended to be:

  • Older, which suggests perhaps as we age we get more satisfaction from valuing our time over money
  • Parents, which suggests children can change our values on the time-money question
  • Married
  • Wealthier (but when the analysis controlled for this, the correlation between choosing time and happiness remained)

The study suggests that if you want to become a happier person — and you already make enough money to provide the essentials — you should start placing more value on time.

It’s also important to note that for some people, prioritizing money over time is a necessity, not a choice because they otherwise could not afford the essentials, even if they might prefer to prioritize time if they had a choice.

Plan your future time, today

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life. — Henry David Thoreau

The findings suggest your mentally towards TIME and MONEY has a lot to do with your happiness and level of productivity in life.

It doesn’t really matter which of the two a person has more of — instead, it’s all about a person’s mentality toward the two.

Even though money — or the lack thereof — is often cited as one of the most stress-inducing aspects of life, people who value their time more than their money are more likely be happier despite the amount of money they have.

Think about it: Money can come and go, but time only goes and doesn’t come back. Once lost, it’s gone.

“No matter what the outcome of our efforts, we all feel increasingly strapped for time, and often the things that we think will make us happy — the accomplishments we work so hard for — don’t. They most certainly do not give us back moments with our families and friends or more hours to ourselves,” writes Ashley Whillans on HBR.

How much is your time is worth?

What price would you put on an experience that broadens the mind, or brings you inner peace?

There are two kinds of people: those with time-first mindset and those with money-first mindset.

Many people fall in the second category.

When faced with a time-or-money decision, most people will choose money?

It’s more difficult to shift to a time-first mindset if you have valued money more than time for a very long time.

Shifting to a time-first mindset is really hard, especially when everything in your life depends on that income you make every month.

If you don’t know much your time is worth, it won’t even cross your mind to value time more than money.

How you use your time might be slightly more in your control than how much money you earn.

With more time, you can plan to use it better. How you value time is absolutely in your control.

Assuming basic needs are met, more money will give you just that — more money.

Research shows that once people make more than enough to meet their basic needs, additional money does not reliably promote greater happiness.

Yet over and over, our choices do not reflect this reality.

More time, on the other hand, could lead to all kinds of amazing experiences and shifts that might mean more to you than money ever could.

A focus on time builds more-rewarding careers.

People who value their time are more likely to pursue careers that they love.

And when people love what they do, they are less negatively affected by the stress of work, and are more likely to be more productive, creative and effective.

They also are less likely to quit.

Key takeaway

Time, not money, is your greatest investment.

Money helps you strive to live your life, but it’s time itself that gives you the greatest benefit.

Budget time carefully — as carefully as you would money.

Make choices that give you more time.

The next time you’re making a tough choice between having more time or more money, think of your happiness, stress-free life, if you can, not just your wallet.

This article first appeared on Medium

Ah, our days off are wonderful aren’t they?, or maybe they are not, maybe they are too short, well they might be, but that could mean our days off are not being used wisely. The time off is our chance to be productive, and work on ourselves. We have the time, energy, and freedom to […]

via Make Your Days Off Productive — Psychology of Mindfulness

How Oxytocin Can Help Us Be More Neurologically Productive

Author Article

Invariably, a hoard of studies exploring the famously ambiguous hormone knows as oxytocin begin to pepper the internet around Valentine’s Day. What we do know about the pituitary function however-its profound effect on childbearing, empathy and social interaction, is more than enough to warrant its dubbing as “The Love Hormone.”Tend and defendThe endocrinology is simultaneously a punch to the gut and a pat on the back.On one hand, it’s a little underwhelming to know that all of the things that make us feel warm and husky can be traced to a gland residing in the rotting meat in our heads. But it’s somehow concurrently comforting to know why and how we love someone can be vividly sketched by neurology.

As it turns out love is encouraged and mediated by a temperate-mathematic entity; every kiss and hug funded by a network of hypothalamic animations. But oxytocin doesn’t retire once bonds have been successfully established between mates.

The neuropeptide is expressed primarily in women as it helps with increasing uterine contractions during labor and cervical dilation. It promotes the nurturing maternal link by surging in accordance with things like a child’s cry and suckling.

Oxytocin levels increase in recent father’s as well, though its stimulation belongs to different factors; arousing play, focus on joint exploration, and stimulatory touch specifically.

More grimly, the neurotransmitter has been proven to inspire intolerance. A study conducted back in 2014, examined two groups of Dutch men: one group given oxytocin, the other given placebos.

Both groups were tasked with choosing five men they would give lifeboats to. The ones on oxytocin were found to be more likely to reject Muslim or German-sounding names, while the placebo group’s decisions were notably less informed by superficial factors.

The hormone’s mission to tend and defend makes us more prone to form allegiances towards those with similar characteristics and just as well more readily aware of distinctions.

We are genetically presupposed to crumble in the presence of tribalism.

Neuroeconomics

There are less obvious by-products of the hypothalamus as well.  Because oxytocin impacts our ability to process social cues, it indirectly correlates to our productivity in the workplace.

In an attempt to better comprehend the effect neurology has on a healthy corporate community, neuroeconomist Paul J. Zak, successfully administered synthetic oxytocin into living brains during an experiment in the early 2000s.  His team of researchers found increased levels of the hormones to have a clear effect on the firm’s profitability and the feelings of fulfillment in those cohabiting it.

According to Zak, productivity lives and dies by one stipulation: a strong community composed of members that have a clear understanding of their purpose within it.

Being rewarded trust by another increases levels of oxytocin significantly. Individuals with higher levels of oxytocin are found to have lower levels of stress, depression and be more apt at social interaction.

The same tend and defend mechanic can apply to a corporation. Employers are biologically incentivized to work harder for those they feel bonded towards.

Zak remarks: “These laboratory studies showed that when trust between team members is high, oxytocin flows and work feels less like, well, work, and more like doing interesting things with friends. ”

Organic methods of raising oxytocin

The production of oxytocin is all about catering to all the things that bring you joy. Considering the intimate things that make us happy is sort heretical in the corporate world, but it has an undeniable affect on its ability to thrive. Pet a dog, listen to music, copulate, take a bubble bath, hug a baby, (your own baby please).

The great thing about oxytocin though is that it responds equally to feeling good as it does to making others feel good. Giving gifts has been studied to raise levels of the hormone. Perfect timing too. People that receive chocolate and flowers exhibit higher levels of oxytocin, as do people that bequeath them.

It’s an evolutionary mistake not to revel in love and empathy.

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