Have a Default Way to Start Your Break

Have a Default Way to Start Your Break

At the start of a break during the workday, I have the idiosyncratic practice of reading one paragraph of Ayn Rand’s non-fiction. This is an example of a highly tailored tactic to help with a problem that many people have: breaks take over the work day. Let me explain...

The Key to Concentration

The Key to Concentration

I had a long talk with a Thinking Lab member the other day. He was concerned about his power of concentration, which wasn't all he wanted. He often got distracted and tired when he worked for a couple of hours. So I gave him my spiel on concentration, and thought I...

Using “Small Moves” as Leading Indicators

Using “Small Moves” as Leading Indicators

In recent years, I've incorporated ideas from The Twelve Week Year (by Brian Moran) into my routines, and found them very  helpful. My top takeaway from this book is the idea of setting quarterly goals rather than annual or monthly goals. When you set goals you intend...

Catching What Triggers You

Here’s another blog post from Peter Bregman: Quash Your Bad Habits by Knowing What Triggers Them. He's a terrific thinker on productivity and execution issues. What I like particularly about this article is that he documents the physical warning signs that Jeff was...

Avoiding Setbacks When You Add a Weekly Commitment

When you are on a program of continuous improvement, you are often adding  some new activity to your weekly schedule, or improving the existing one. But by continually raising the bar you create a hazard: the increased potential for failure! Here are a few things that...

The 24-Hour Rule for Reviewing Performances

What do you want to improve? Your presentations? Your powers of persuasion? How you run a meeting? Your joke telling? Your ability to answer questions? Whatever it is, to improve it, you need to review it. You may be thinking that means to record your performance,...

Ideas on Breaking Habits

Here's an extremely interesting article which discusses the difference between making and breaking habits. Short version: Habits can be made, by adding actions to something that already happens. To break a habit, you can sometimes substitute an alternate behavior. If...

Use a Physical Process to Release Tension

I admit to being a fanatic who looks to thinking as a solution to all problems. I look for a psychological cause for everything that happens to me. And I look for a thinking process to help me deal with everything that happens to me. If I cut my finger, yes, I put on...

Reminder Cards

I advocate a lot of simple tools. Here's one for remembering good advice: Make a pack of reminder cards. By reminder cards, I literally mean 3"x5" index cards with handwriting on them. So, for example, over the years, I developed a pack of about 30 blue index cards...

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