The Thinking Mindset vs. The Doing Mindset: Pick One (And Only One)

by Art Markman |

Ilustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco
You’ll find that some days, the ideas come fast and furious. The days when you just want to sit at your desk, stare up at the sky and just let your mind wander.Other days, though, you really want to get moving. You’re antsy and you can’t really focus on any one thought. Instead, you are most efficient if you are getting things done.

It is no coincidence that the motivation to think and the motivation to act seem to strike us at different times. Research by psychologists Arie Kruglanski, Tory Higgins, and their colleagues suggests that we have two complementary motivational systems: the “thinking” system and the “doing” system – and we’re generally only capable of using one at a time.Think about how you best generate new ideas. Often, you “brainstorm” or try to come up with as many ideas as possible. That is called diverging and requires our thinking system. At other times, you need to evaluate those ideas and figure out which ones are best. That is called converging, and it requires the activation of the doing system.

We have a ‘thinking’ system and a ‘doing’ system – and we’re generally only capable of using one at a time. 

Managing your mindset can help you optimize your thinking when you are trying to be creative. Here are a few suggestions for influencing your motivational state. These suggestions can be effective either for you as an individual or when you are working in a group.Get some distance.

Physical and mental distance influence the way you think about things. When you are near to something, you think about it specifically, and you focus on the ways that you can interact with it. Being close to your work engages the doing system. When you are far from it, you think about it more conceptually. Distance engages the thinking system.

Your workplace environment is strongly associated with getting things done. In order to engage a thinking mindset, spend time working in another place. Change your environment, and you will change the way you think.

Stand up and move.

The modern workplace revolves around sitting. Most people have a primary workspace that involves a chair in front of a desk or table. This posture is great, because it allows us to work for long periods of time without causing bodily fatigue.

Change your environment, and you will change the way you think.

Additionally, the seated posture does not support many complex actions, so it reinforces the activation of a thinking mindset, especially thanks to years of schooling.

If you need to jumpstart your doing motivation, get moving. Stand up. Walk around your workspace. Put your ideas on sheets of paper and physically separate them in your space. Walk over to each idea and evaluate it separately. By getting up and moving, you shift yourself from a mode of deliberation to one of selection. Seguir leyendo “The Thinking Mindset vs. The Doing Mindset: Pick One (And Only One)”

A Kiwi guide to surviving and thriving at SXSW

SXSW is now one of the global digital technology brainstorming and networking events of the year. Simone McCallum captures the excitement and also the hassles!

This year I was lucky enough to be part of a panel at SXSW– a massive music, interactive and film festival held each year in Austin, Texas. And when I say massive, I mean massive. It’s like the madness of the RWC opening ceremony – but for nine solid days. Official attendance numbers for SXSW 2012 haven’t yet been released, but there was talk of between 30,000 and 50,000 people in total. In that throng were a handful of Kiwis, but we need more to add to the contingent!

If you are into any or all of the three streams, then I would definitely recommend heading along next year and joining in the madness. This is not just any conference. Be prepared for a huge amount of networking, partying, ideas and celebrity spotting. Business is done at food trucks, new apps are launched, rumours run wild and some of the smartest people in the industry share their ideas.

If you are a SXSW virgin, here are some tips to help make the craziness a bit less crazy.

1. Book your accommodation early. Places to lay your weary head are in short supply during SXSW. I heard rumours of hotel room rates rocketing as high as $2,000 per night – and that is USD we are talking! I was fortunate enough to be on a SXSW panel which meant I had access to SXSW booked accommodation. I was right across the road from the Austin Convention Centre (the hub of SXSW) which was fantastic. If you can’t get into the central city, then there are plenty of options in the ‘burbs and SXSW runs a shuttle service to collect and drop off attendees every day. One of my friends was staying in the Auckland equivalent of Hamilton (literally in the next city) and transport options were reduced to taxis (which were expensive). The flip side of that is one guy I met who turned up on Sunday and walked into the Hilton next to the Convention Centre and was given a room without any booking at all! Other options include renting an apartment or checking out Airbnb and Craiglist for rooms to rent.

Seguir leyendo “A Kiwi guide to surviving and thriving at SXSW”

De indigente a “punto” Wi-Fi: la publicidad lo hace todo posible

Esta semana se está celebrando laSXSW, la conferencia anual de tecnología que acaba de empezar en Austin. Con motivo del gran evento, 13 personas sin techo deambulan alrededor del centro de conferencias con camisetas blancas que dicen “yo soy _____, un punto de acceso 4G”. Cada uno lleva un dispositivo de conexión inalámbrica a internet y, por una donación de PayPal, proporcionará a los asistentes acceso a internet durante el tiempo que necesiten, según

Los diez hombres son parte de una campaña de publicidad que recibe el nombre de “Homeless Hotspots”, elaborada por la empresa de marketing BBH. Las críticas a la iniciativa no se han hecho esperar pero desde BBH, defienden su campaña y niegan que vean a las personas sin hogar como mero hardwareSeguir leyendo “De indigente a “punto” Wi-Fi: la publicidad lo hace todo posible”

Bicycling Directions, Trails Comes to Google Maps

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase
Written by Mike Melanson

There’s nothing worse for a bicyclist than finding yourself a mile in to a two-mile stretch of shoulder-less, busy, highway-speed traffic with no alternative route. Before today, this was a common occurrence if you went to trusty Google Maps to get bicycling directions, but starting today, that has all changed.

Google has added bicycling directions, lanes and routes to Google Maps, meaning you no longer have to drive, walk or bus to get directions. And we can tell you, bicyclists are excited.

Before now, the only option to cyclists to get even remotely appropriate directions, was to use the walking option, but this would still ignore bike trails. Google has heard the pleas of cyclists and, from first look, we have to say that the feature is well implemented.

We gave it a test to see if it would put us on some of Austin‘s more bike unfriendly streets, but it managed to chose some good alternative routes and stick to the bike trails when it could. The directions got a little wonky when we threw it a few curve balls, but we expect this to happen with any mapping service, especially one still in beta. But, as we’ve learned, you can’t just go mindlessly follow directions, lest you end up in a lake.


The new feature also includes a “Bicycling Layer”, which shows bike paths and bike-friendly streets with or without lanes. Three different lanes appear in the layer.

  • Dark green indicates a dedicated bike-only trail;
  • Light green indicates a dedicated bike lane along a road;
  • Dashed green indicates roads that are designated as preferred for bicycling, but without dedicated lanes

According to Google, it has also taken steps to avoid uphill and long downhill routes, busy roads and even busy intersections. Google says that it even takes hills and other factors into account when calculating your trip time. “Assuming typical values for mass and for wind resistance, we compute the effort you’ll require and the speed you’ll achieve while going uphill,” Google says in its Lat Long Blog.

Google worked with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to bring more than 12,000 miles of biking trails to its map, along with bike lanes and recommended streets for 150 cities across the country. Google makes sure to point out that the feature is still in beta, so feel free to tell Google the next time you find yourself on a crowded, shoulder-less highway because of Google Maps.

And for those of you headed to fair Austin this week, make sure to take a look at the new feature, because it includes all of Austin’s numerous bike trails and bike lanes. If you’ve never been to Austin for SXSW before, bicycling is the way to get around town and now you’ll know how to get there.


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SXSW Gets Seat-Level Check-Ins With SitBy.Us

Thousands upon thousands of people will be in Austin, Texas next month for the South By Southwest Interactive festival – and several different services will be competing to show you where you can find your friends at the big event. Only one app, though, is focused on displaying your location down to the level of where you are sitting!

SitBy.Us is a web and mobile web application that lets you peruse the SXSW panel, keynote and party schedules, check in to rooms and locations, identify where in the big crowded rooms and parties you are sitting. Then it lets you see which of your friends from Twitter are there too and where. The service is a little unstable right now, but it looks like the kind of thing that’s going to get slammed in Austin.