Best Practices
Mitigate “Stressful” Events

Mitigate “Stressful” Events

Life events that cause "stress" include both marriage and divorce, both losing a job and getting promoted, both the birth of a child and the death of a loved one. What is in common among these? All such “stressful” events cause a sudden shift in your priorities. That...

Recovering a Benevolent Universe Perspective

Recovering a Benevolent Universe Perspective

Emotional resilience is your ability to recover a benevolent universe perspective after experiencing distressing emotions. After an incident that draws your attention to threats, problems, and difficulties, can you get back to seeing the world as filled with your...

On Choosing Expert Help

On Choosing Expert Help

Doctors disagree on when to prescribe medication. Sleep experts disagree on whether you should take naps. Time-management experts disagree on whether you should schedule all of your time. Therapists disagree on whether you should trace issues back to childhood...

The Power of a Virtuous Cycle to Motivate Long-Term Goals

The Power of a Virtuous Cycle to Motivate Long-Term Goals

To achieve a long-term goal, you will need to put in effort across weeks, months, and even years. That requires motivation for the long haul. If your motivation flags, you need to get strategic. You need to create a virtuous cycle of effort so that you are naturally...

Tame Email with the 2-Minute Rule

Tame Email with the 2-Minute Rule

There is a productivity tool that I've been using faithfully for 20 years that I've never written up: the 2-Minute Rule, which I got from David Allen's book, Getting Things Done.  He explains it in the context of processing a paper inbox: If the next action [on an...

The Value of Daily Thought Work

The Value of Daily Thought Work

In the Launch Program and in my Thinking Lab courses on "Developing a Central Purpose" and "Evolving a Scheduling Infrastructure," I advocate doing "daily thought work." This means that you schedule 15-30 minutes every day to "think on paper" about a specific topic,...

Stop Those Circular Conversations in Your Head and Get Some Sleep

Stop Those Circular Conversations in Your Head and Get Some Sleep

Here's a common problem: you wake up at night, working through a difficult conversation you are going to have. You find yourself wide awake, in a loop where you keep trying out the conversation in different ways. Or maybe it's not a conversation, it's a tricky...

How to Be Decisive to Avoid Churn

How to Be Decisive to Avoid Churn

One of the problems of having many projects at once is that there's a tendency to churn — to work a little on one, then a little on another, without making good progress on any. The general solution is to prioritize: to choose one project (or one chunk of a project)...

Sometimes Concentrated Thinking Is Not the Answer

Sometimes Concentrated Thinking Is Not the Answer

I like to quote Voltaire, who said, "No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking." And true to that idea and my calling, whenever I have a problem, I think about it. A lot. In depth. Until I have a solution. This is a virtue. It is my willingness...

Don’t Make Concentration Harder Than It Is

Don’t Make Concentration Harder Than It Is

When Thinking Lab members tell me their task is hard, I hear alarm bells in my mind. Invariably, I find they are making a difficult task harder than it has to be. A difficult task is one that requires a special mental effort to complete. It may require all your...

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