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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From productivity porn to mindful productivity

The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. To put this figure into perspective, that’s about ten years of back-to-back work. So it’s no wonder productivity advice is so popular: we rightfully try to make the most of the time we spend at work. However, our desire to be more productive …

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The mindful productivity guide to intermittent fasting

When I first heard about intermittent fasting, my reaction was: “Wait, I’ve been doing this for years!” In fact, I have been skipping breakfast for more than fifteen years, simply because I don’t feel hungry in the morning. More recently, I have started experimenting with other intermittent fasting regimens. Intermittent fasting consists in alternating between …

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GPT-3 and the future of human productivity

The idea of artificial intelligence taking over the world is at least as old as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which was published in 1818. Public figures such as Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates have warned us against the reckless creation of superintelligent machines. In June 2020, OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research laboratory based in San Francisco, …

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Productive cognitive load: make the most of your working memory

There’s only so much we can hold into our working memory—the system our brain uses to temporarily hold information while we manipulate it. The amount of working memory we use at any given moment is called the cognitive load. While both are theoretical concepts used in psychology and neuroscience, they have profound implications when it …

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The Goldilocks Principle of Stress and Anxiety

As I was chatting with a friend, we noticed that we both felt incredibly excited and anxious about the work we were currently doing. We could not come up with the right word to describe that exact feeling: we were stressed, yes, but not in a negative way. We did worry about the outcome of …

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The psychology of mindful productivity

Mindful productivity is a sustainable way to work and think. It’s not a product, it’s not an app, it’s not a system—it’s a flexible roadmap. While mindful productivity is first and foremost a set of principles anyone can apply to work better and think better, many of the habits and routines it prescribes are rooted …

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Sustainability over speed: adopting asynchronous communication

With more people working from home, asynchronous communication will become key to being productive while keeping our sanity. What are its benefits? What strategies can you use to embrace asynchronous communication at work? I have a confession to make. I think Slack is awful. It’s distracting, noisy, and makes it hard to get the information …

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Self-competition: only compete with your past self

Competition is stressful, but many regard it as a powerful driver of personal growth. Competitive fire has been praised for the success of political candidates, Olympic athletes, and champion chess players who reached the top by racing someone else. But what we rarely talk about are people who do great without competing against others. In …

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