Rolf Dobelli, on how News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier:
Out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business. …
I don’t know a single truly creative mind who is a news junkie – not a writer, not a composer, mathematician, physician, scientist, musician, designer, architect or painter. On the other hand, I know a bunch of viciously uncreative minds who consume news like drugs. If you want to come up with old solutions, read news. If you are looking for new solutions, don’t.
Merlin Mann, revisiting “Inbox Zero”:
Once you’ve dedicated yourself to making the things you love, every inbox can and should become a well-monitored servant rather than a merciless master.
Recently, I’ve been reading through The Time Trap when I have a few minutes of downtime at my desk. (Unfortunately, the version at Amazon has a terrible, stock-art cover. My copy is older than I am, and has a much better design.) Mine looks like this:
Anyway, there was a quote in it that I liked a lot. Lots of quotes, actually. But I wanted to share this one in particular:
Peter Drucker’s remarks about the time log are enlightening. He observes that approaches to getting more work done always begin with planning. However, effective executives do not start this way. They know that if you start with a plan, it ends up in the bottom drawer. Other plans will follow, winding up in the same place. Instead, according to Drucker, the astute executive begins by finding out where his time is really going.
“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”
— Simone Weil
From Micha Boyett, “The Pursuit of Enough: Slow, Deliberate”:
Sometimes it feels like everything in this world is asking me: Are you fast enough? Are you fast enough to play with your kids AND keep your house tidy? Are you fast enough to serve your family and your community? Are you fast enough to be an interesting person and good friend? Can you pile enough into your life without collapsing under it, without dropping all you’re balancing all over the floor?
But what would alter if we shifted the question? What if we began asking one other if we are living slow enough? Have you been slow enough to savor? Have you been slow enough to play hard and laugh big? Have you been slow enough to stop and sit awhile? Have you been slow enough to say hello to the neighbor? Have you been slow enough to be thankful?
Computer science professor Matt Might, in Boost your productivity: Cripple your technology:
For those that spend their working hours attached to a computer, distraction is never more than a few keystrokes away.
It’s too easy to switch from editing a document to blowing time on the web.
In effect, the transaction cost to procrastination has become zero.
The standard prescription for boosting productivity—getting organized—solves an orthogonal problem, and ignoring the ease of procrastination invites failure.
For many of us, the biggest gains in productivity do not come from following a specific methodology for “getting things done.” It comes from erecting transaction costs to nonproductive behavior.
Erecting transaction costs means, in many cases, demoting our multipurpose devices to a single purpose—that is, crippling them.
Simon Hørup Eskildsen: Why I’m glad my iPhone broke:
Without the temptation available from my pocket, I feel like I am more present being wherever I am. … My smartphone helped fill little voids of time with mindless entertainment and shifted me away from the context of whatever I just did and was about to do, silently replacing what I see as mandatory reflection.
This context switching I found to play a larger role than I thought. It’s been rewarding to indulge more into my own thoughts and reflections, in lieu of attempting to occupy every gap of time with Angry Birds, news and tweets.
Derek Sivers, on the tension between long-term focusing and short-term audience engagement:
what happens when the thing you really need to do is boring to others?
The path to mastery requires months and years of practice that isn’t exciting to your audience.
Then you’ve got a conflict: What’s best for you is to shut up, sit down, and focus. What’s best for them (now) is for you to be entertaining. …
Do you go full recluse, and completely disconnect?
Do you stay connected, but stop contributing?
Do you give up the deep work, and give in to the shallow rewards of just entertaining?
Or do you somehow keep up your obligations to entertain, while doing your “shut up, sit down, and focus” work on the side?
John Biesnecker, on The joys of having a Forever Project:
I think most creative people have something that I call a Forever Project. …
I don’t know about you, but I adore my Forever Project (mine happens to be a game that I’ve been punting around in various forms since the late 1990s, and I wouldn’t be surprised if yours was a game of some sort, either). I might not have made the progress on it that I wish I would have, but just having it out there as something to think about gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Most people would say having a project that you can’t put down but that you don’t make any substantial progress on is silly, the antithesis of the various flavors of Getting Things Done that spring up now and again, but I disagree. While I may not have finished (or even really started) my game, poking around the edges of it have led me onto wonderful tangents during which I’ve learned a lot about a lot of things, things that I may have never touched if it weren’t for my Forever Project. Rather than be a source of disappointment, my Forever Project is a source of constant inspiration.
A New York Times writeup of what Jerry Seinfeld’s been up to, with this, on inspiration, iteration, and patience:
Developing jokes as glacially as he does, Seinfeld says, allows for breakthroughs he wouldn’t reach otherwise. … “So,” he continued, “I was obsessed with figuring that out. The way I figure it out is I try different things, night after night, and I’ll stumble into it at some point, or not. If I love the joke, I’ll wait. If it takes me three years, I’ll wait.”
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