Why You Need to Make Your Life More Automatic

How different would your life be, after all, if you could get yourself to sleep 8 hours at night, exercise every day, eat healthy foods in the right portions, take time for reflection and renewal, remain calm and positive under stress, focus without interruption for sustained periods of time, and prioritize the work that matters most?

Right now, the vast majority of what we do each day occurs automatically. We’re often triggered, as these authors make vividly clear, by subtle cues we’re not even aware of — a smell, a visual image, a familiar sight. These cues prompt us to move away from any potential pain and discomfort, no matter how minimal, and toward immediate reward and gratification, no matter how fleeting.

The primary role of our prefrontal cortex is to bias the brain towards doing the “harder” thing. Unfortunately, our rational capacity is often overwhelmed by the power of our own most visceral and primitive desires.

We’re often captive to our biochemistry. When the neurotransmitter dopamine is triggered, for example, what we feel is craving, not pleasure. This explains not just why we fall into a range of self-destructive addictions, but also why we don’t take better care of ourselves and make wiser choices day in and day out.

The solution is to learn how to co-opt the more primitive habit-forming regions of our brains, so that rather than reinforcing our negative impulses, they become the soil in which we build positive rituals that serve our long term interests.

Anuncios

Tony Schwartz

TONY SCHWARTZ
http://blogs.hbr.org/

Tony Schwartz is the president and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of Be Excellent at Anything. Become a fan of The Energy Project on Facebook and connect with Tony at Twitter.com/TonySchwartz and Twitter.com/Energy_Project.

Why is it that three prominent books published just during the past several months focused on the subject of willpower?

The first answer is that neuroscience has finally begun to open a window into the complex way our brains respond to temptation and what it takes to successfully exercise choice.

Second, a raft of recent studies have shown that the capacity for self-control — even more than genetic endowment or material advantage — fuels a range of positive outcomes in life, including more stable relationships, higher paying and more satisfying work, more resilience in the face of setbacks, better health, and greater happiness.

Finally, these books — WillpowerThe Willpower Instinct, andThe Power of Habit — are a response to an increasingly evident need. Demand in our lives is truly outpacing our capacity.

The sheer number of choices we must make each day — what foods to eat, what products to buy, what information merits our attention, what tasks to prioritize — can be overwhelming. As Roy Baumeister puts it in Willpower, “Self-regulation failure is the major social pathology of our time.” Leer más “Why You Need to Make Your Life More Automatic”

To Innovate You Must Live With Uncertainty

If you can’t deal with uncertainty, you end up wanting to jump straight to the last bit – where we have conclusions, decisions and action.

But if you do that, you spend very little time on the first step, where you really explore the range of possible questions and ideas. And you don’t get into the middle bit at all, where you experiment, think, and prototype.

The kicker on these projects is that we have to move through this process twice. First in defining the problem to solve, and then in again in trying to actually solve it. So just when we reach a point of certainty, we’ll be thrown back into uncertainty in the second loop – and this is the real danger area.

Innovation requires uncertainty. Uncertainty is what leads to variation in ideas, and this variety is necessary for finding the best answer to whatever problem you’re trying to solve.

This is why I’ve said that the single most important management skill to develop is a tolerance for ambiguity.

If our students can do that in the course of these projects, then they will be successful.

If you can improve your tolerance for ambiguity, you will be a better innovator too.


This post was written by Tim.
http://timkastelle.org

I’m starting up a couple of live consulting projects with some of our MBA students. Even though we are very early in the projects, they have already reminded me of just how critical it is to develop the ability to live with uncertainty.

This is the fundamental point that Jonathan Fields makes in Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance.

Fields contends that you can only do innovative and creative work by learning to live with, or even embrace uncertainty.

For the artist, entrepreneur, or other creator, the outcome-centric approach to visualization that’s most commonly offered can be an exercise in both futility and frustration. Actually, it’s worse. Because if you are someone who’s capable of creating a highly specific definition of your precise outcome in advance and you follow the straightest line to that outcome and remain utterly committed to that vision, you’ll get there faster. But you’ll also increase the likelihood that the very same blinders that send you on a beeline toward your planned outcome will lead you to completely miss a host of unplanned paths and options that, had you been open to seeing them, would have markedly improved your final creation. You’ll get exactly what you wanted, then realize it’s not what it could have been. Leer más “To Innovate You Must Live With Uncertainty”

Components of High-Quality Blog Posts

Components of High-Quality Blog Posts

Creating a Powerful Introduction

In order to engage readers from the start, you have to begin with an attractive abstract that succinctly encapsulates the subject of the blog post. This introduction should be short and concise — try keeping it within 3-5 sentences. After reading your introductory paragraph, readers should immediately know what they will be in for.

Think of your introduction as a sales pitch. Let the potential reader know why he or she should read the rest of the post by stimulating their curiosity and outlining the value they will obtain should they read the post.

This introduction can also be useful for developing things such as post excerpts, metadata, descriptions for submitting to social news portals and so forth.
Using Research and Secondary Sources

A blog post should always have sound and accurate information. It’s best to support ideas and arguments with secondary resources, quotes, and research studies. Linking to relevant sources reinforces the things you say in your own blog posts and gives the reader greater context about the items you’re discussing.


by Pamela Dominguez | http://sixrevisions.com/content-strategy/components-of-high-quality-blog-posts/

 

Components of High-Quality Blog Posts

Today, almost everyone wants to share his or her thoughts on the web. And with so many easy ways of blogging brought to us by services like Posterous and Tumblr, why not do it, right?

Nevertheless, we shouldn’t go around ranting uncontrollably about random stuff on the web. If we really want to share something interesting with the community of our choice, we should, at the minimum, project professionalism and trustworthiness and emphasize accuracy and quality of the writings we put on the internet.

Whether you’re maintaining a personal blog, starting up a design blog, or managing and updating your company’s official blog, the fundamental tips and strategies discussed in this article will ensure that all of your posts will be professional, high-quality, and awesome to read.

Why Should We Care About the Quality of Blog Posts? Leer más “Components of High-Quality Blog Posts”

Web Design Checkmate: Using Chess For Success in Web Design

In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between the game of chess and the Web industry. We’ll learn fundamental lessons from the pawn, rook, knight, bishop, queen and king, and we’ll highlight the factors — both offline and online — that determine best practices. The game is beloved by many professionals, so it seems fitting to apply its great strategy and elegance to the digital age; certain practices might help you lead a more successful working life.


The business of building websites is one of constant change, adaptation and strategy. The way designers and developers build websites is often informed by the methods of others and their own trial and error. In light of this, we can draw a number of parallels — some philosophical, to a certain extent — between Web professionals and one of the oldest and most popular board games of all time (counting traditional and digital games). This game is chess.

Chessboard in Web Design Checkmate: Using Chess For Success in Web Design
Image credit

In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between the game of chess and the Web industry. We’ll learn fundamental lessons from the pawn, rook, knight, bishop, queen and king, and we’ll highlight the factors — both offline and online — that determine best practices. The game is beloved by many professionals, so it seems fitting to apply its great strategy and elegance to the digital age; certain practices might help you lead a more successful working life.

Leer más “Web Design Checkmate: Using Chess For Success in Web Design”

Action Method II: Keeping Projects Alive

Action Steps are the most important components of projects—the oxygen for keeping projects alive. No Action Steps, no action, no results. The actual outcome of any idea is dependent on the Actions Steps that are captured and then completed by you or delegated to someone else. Action Steps are to be revered and treated as sacred in any project.The more clear and concrete an Action Step is, the less friction you will encounter trying to do it. If an Action Step is vague or complicated, you will probably skip over it to others on your list that are more straightforward. To avoid this, start each Action Step with a verb:

* Call programmer to discuss . . .
* Install new software for . . .
* Research the possibility of . . .
* Mock up a sample of the . . .

Verbs help pull us into our Action Steps at first glance, efficiently indicating what type of action is required. For similar reasons, Action Steps should be kept short.

The more clear and concrete an Action Step is, the less friction you will encounter trying to do it.


by Scott Belsky
Action Steps are the most important components of projects—the oxygen for keeping projects alive. No Action Steps, no action, no results. The actual outcome of any idea is dependent on the Actions Steps that are captured and then completed by you or delegated to someone else. Action Steps are to be revered and treated as sacred in any project.The more clear and concrete an Action Step is, the less friction you will encounter trying to do it. If an Action Step is vague or complicated, you will probably skip over it to others on your list that are more straightforward. To avoid this, start each Action Step with a verb:

  • Call programmer to discuss . . .
  • Install new software for . . .
  • Research the possibility of . . .
  • Mock up a sample of the . . .

Verbs help pull us into our Action Steps at first glance, efficiently indicating what type of action is required. For similar reasons, Action Steps should be kept short.

The more clear and concrete an Action Step is, the less friction you will encounter trying to do it. Leer más “Action Method II: Keeping Projects Alive”

Action Method I: Breaking Projects into Primary Elements

If you know anything about magic, you know that the best tricks are the ones that are the most simple to perform. Levitation relies on pulleys, floating dollars need thread, and the disappearing coin depends on hidden pockets; all of the most remarkable tricks have the most “obvious” explanations. Similarly, the best methods for managing projects are simple and intuitive. They help you capture ideas and do something with them—no more, no less. This simple efficiency keeps you engaged and on task with as little effort as possible.

The Action Method begins with a simple premise: everything is a project. This applies not only to the big presentation on Wednesday or the new campaign you’re preparing, but also to the stuff you do to advance your career (a “career development” project), or to employee development (each of your subordinates represents a single “project” in which you keep track of performance and the steps you plan to take to help him or her develop as an employee). Managing your finances is a project, as is doing your taxes or arranging the upcoming house move…


by Scott Belsky

If you know anything about magic, you know that the best tricks are the ones that are the most simple to perform. Levitation relies on pulleys, floating dollars need thread, and the disappearing coin depends on hidden pockets; all of the most remarkable tricks have the most “obvious” explanations. Similarly, the best methods for managing projects are simple and intuitive. They help you capture ideas and do something with them—no more, no less. This simple efficiency keeps you engaged and on task with as little effort as possible.

The Action Method begins with a simple premise: everything is a project. This applies not only to the big presentation on Wednesday or the new campaign you’re preparing, but also to the stuff you do to advance your career (a “career development” project), or to employee development (each of your subordinates represents a single “project” in which you keep track of performance and the steps you plan to take to help him or her develop as an employee). Managing your finances is a project, as is doing your taxes or arranging the upcoming house move… Leer más “Action Method I: Breaking Projects into Primary Elements”