Should we really focus on one thing at a time?

Most productivity methods will encourage you to focus on one thing at a time. The idea is to avoid multitasking and to concentrate all of your energy one one goal until you achieve it. There is a lot of wisdom behind the “one thing at a time” principle, but is it always the best approach? …

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Procrastination triggers: eight reasons why you procrastinate

Productivity systems often focus on how to do the work. However, it is crucial to understand why we are struggling to do the work in the first place. Often, our procrastination triggers are emotional rather than rational, which makes it hard to analyse them in an objective way. Learning about the most common triggers can …

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The mindful productivity audit: 10 questions to improve your well-being at work

A virtually infinite number of productivity books have been published, each with their own frameworks, strategies, and sometimes magical formulas to be more productive and more creative. Very few of these books combine productivity, creativity, and mental health. How do you get started if you want to achieve more, but don’t want to burn out …

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The problem with work-life balance

The concept of work-life balance implies that work is bad and life is good; it suggests that work and life are two dichotomous entities that need to be strictly separated and kept at an equilibrium; for some, it even insinuates that less work equals more happiness. In its most neutral definition, work is generally seen …

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Creating habits: how long does it take to form a habit?

A popular misconception which persists since the 1960s is that it takes about 21 days to change an existing habit or adopt a new habit. This magic number is used everywhere from advice columns to self-help books about creating habits. However, this is a myth. Where does it come from, and how long does it …

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Activation energy: the chemistry of getting started

In chemistry, activation energy is the energy that must be provided to result in a chemical reaction. The more energy is needed, the harder it is to start the chemical reaction. In work and life as well, we sometimes need to get over the initial hump of getting started. For instance, it can be hard …

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High-leverage activities: how to identify your energy multipliers

We all have an absolute limit on time. If you add up the number of hours you are breathing during a given week, the total will be the same for every single living human being on the planet, whatever their occupation or personal situation: 168 hours per week. Remove the weekends, and that’s 120 hours. …

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Time is not a measure of productivity

Not so long ago, most people were working at an office desk, and were expected to show their face every single weekday. Arrive at a certain time, take a lunch break, and stay late enough that people know you are working hard. Using principles from hourly work to define productivity in knowledge work has resulted …

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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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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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