How to think better

As Einstein wrote in 1936: “All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.” Why is it that a skill as important as thinking is not a key focus in traditional schools? Why don’t we have classes on decision-making, cognitive biases, and mental models? Can we learn how to think better? It’s …

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The science of deliberate practice

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “practice makes perfect” is “said to encourage someone to continue to do something many times, so that they will learn to do it very well.” But does practice really make perfect? We tend to see practice as tireless repetition of the same task, where the goal is to progressively become …

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How to set up your own digital garden

A digital garden is an online space at the intersection of a notebook and a blog, where digital gardeners share seeds of thoughts to be cultivated in public. Contrary to a blog, where articles and essays have a publication date and start decaying as soon as they are published, a digital garden is evergreen: digital …

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The two sides of stress: distress and eustress

One common misconception about stress is that it should be minimised at all cost—that stress is bad. But stress is just your body and your mind’s response to external challenges. Depending on the particular stressors and your reaction, stress can be detrimental (distress) or beneficial (eustress). While the prefix -dis in “distress” has the same …

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The only numbers that matter

Nowadays, virtually anything can be tracked and measured. Smartwatches include a heart rate monitor, can count your steps, and record your sleep patterns. Apps let you log your meals, your fasting zones, your weight, and your calorie expenditure. A timer on your computer can track your productivity. As Gary Wolf, the co-founder of Quantified Self …

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Pressure and procrastination

“I work best under pressure” is an unsurprisingly common statement in high-pressure work environments. But is it true we work better under pressure, or do we just work faster? Can certain types of pressure be beneficial to fight procrastination and improve performance? Peer pressure and procrastination In a study looking at the social pattern of …

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How to use bi-directional links (backlinks) in Notion

Notion finally launched a popular feature request: bi-directional links, which they call backlinks. While it may seem like a simple addition, it may fundamentally change the way Notion users interact with their database, and it makes Notion a valid digital gardening tool. Bi-directional links are a game changer because they allow for a completely new …

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The empathy gap: why we underestimate the influence of emotions

“I would do much better!” you think, watching someone give a presentation about a topic you are familiar with. “I don’t feel like smoking at all, I’ll definitely be able to quit tomorrow,” you say with a relaxed tone, right after smoking a cigarette. These are illustrations of the empathy gap: our tendency to underestimate …

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Structured distraction: how to make the most of your breaks at work

If you went to a traditional school, chances are you were told to avoid distractions at all cost: keep your eyes on the teacher, take copious notes, don’t fidget on your chair, and don’t let your mind wander. As adults, we have internalised this mantra and seek to be hyperfocused on our work. But our …

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Idea evaluation: the other side of the creativity coin

Ideation is often thought to be mostly about idea generation. However, the process of developing ideas doesn’t stop there: it’s followed by an evaluation phase. Balancing idea generation with idea evaluation is crucial to the creative process. “Within the field of creativity, idea generation in general and the usefulness of idea generation methods has received …

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