The psychology of unfinished tasks

Unfinished tasks can feel overwhelming, leading to procrastination and slowing your progress. On the other hand, the annoyance of having all of these unfinished tasks on your to-do list may motivate you to tackle them at the next opportunity. These contradictory experiences are due to two effects: the Zeigarnik effect and the Ovsiankina effect. A …

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Servant leadership: why being a servant leader is worth the work

Servant leadership may sound antithetic. Isn’t the role of a leader to guide and manage, rather than follow and serve? However, being a leader and being of service are not only compatible, their combination can lead to better outcomes than the sum of their parts. Instead of blindly following organisational goals, servant leaders prioritise the …

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How to design a sustainable workplace at home and in the office

You are likely to spend around 90,000 hours at work over your lifetime. If that number doesn’t seem big already, that’s ten years of your life. Depending on where you work, you may have little agency over the design of your workplace — hospital workers and flight attendants are rarely consulted when it comes to …

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How to increase your creativity by cultivating creative self-efficacy

Do you think of yourself as someone who is not creative? Creative work can be challenging, and many people lack confidence in their own ability. Psychologists have reported that being unsure, anxious or defeatist about your creative potential can become a self-fulfilling prophecy that hinders your performance. Creative self-efficacy is the internal belief that you …

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Productivity addiction: when we become obsessed with productivity

The business and productivity app market is worth billions of dollars. Every day, there is a new productivity tool popping up, a book about productivity being published, and millions of people reading and sharing content related to personal productivity. It started as a measure of efficiency for the production of goods and services. Somehow, along …

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Using the goal gradient hypothesis to help people cross the finish line

Our perception of progress can impact our overall drive to reach a goal. The goal gradient hypothesis posits that our efforts increase as we get closer to achieving a goal: when the reward is in sight, we feel incentivised to reach the finish line. Designers and decision-makers can effectively use goal gradients as a motivational …

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The power of self-reflection at work

We often hear advice about how self-reflection can help us learn more about our true inner selves and can help resolve interpersonal conflicts. However, self-reflection should not be reserved for our personal lives only; it can also be richly rewarding for our professional careers. Self-reflection can be defined as the process of replaying recent experiences …

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The MoSCoW method of prioritization

Whether you are trying to decide which product feature to ship first, or what task to place at the top of your to-do list, it can sometimes be hard to decide on the right prioritization. That’s when a strategic approach can be helpful. The MoSCoW method is a simple, effective way to bring order to …

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Is there a perfect productivity system?

Every year, dozens of new productivity systems pop up, each of them promising a more efficient, better way to work. And, every day, people try one of these new systems in the hope of better managing their work as well as their mental health. Talk to any knowledge worker and they will have tried at …

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Not-to-do list: a conscious way to break bad habits

The good old to-do list is a staple of most productivity systems, used to keep track of tasks and manage your focus throughout the day. While to-do lists are powerful, a complementary method can further increase our productivity: the not-to-do list. As the name indicates, it consists in listing all of the behaviors you want …

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