Eight Ways Goofing Off Can Make You More Productive
One of my colleagues used to head to the men’s room and brush his teeth every time he felt a surge of writer’s block. He swears it did the trick. Another exits the building and walks around the block to clear his head. I like to take advantage of the mid-day yoga sessions that Forbes offers in the gym on the ninth floor. When I return to my desk, my body is relaxed, my mind is clear, and I attack my work with new energy.
A growing body of research suggests that the longer you keep your rear end in your chair and your eyes glued to your screen, the less productive you may be. Getting up from your desk and moving not only heightens your powers of concentration, it enhances your health.
- Take a walk around the block.
- Take a nap.
- Chat with a colleague.
- Run an errand.
- Brush your teeth.
- Spend ten minutes checking Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites.
- Go to the gym.
- Go out to lunch.
The real way to build a social network
A review of Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha book The "Start-Up of You". Reid is a founder of LinkedIn.
Building a genuine relationship with another person depends on at least two abilities. The first is seeing the world from another person's perspective. No one knows that better than the skilled entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs succeed when they make stuff people will pay money for -- and that means understanding what's going on in the heads of customers. Likewise, in relationships it's only when you put yourself in the other person's shoes that you begin to develop an honest connection.
The second ability is being able to think about how you can collaborate with and help the other person rather than thinking about what you can get. We're not suggesting that you be so saintly that a self-interested thought never crosses your mind. What we're saying is that your first move should always be to help. A study on negotiation found that a key difference between skilled and average negotiators was the time spent searching for shared interests and asking questions of the other person.
In the next day: Look at your calendar for the past six months and identify the five people you spend the most time with -- are you happy with their influence on you?
In the next week: Introduce two people who do not know each other but ought to. Then think about a challenge you face and ask for an introduction to a connection in your network who could help.
Imagine you got laid off from your job today. Who are the 10 people you'd e-mail for advice? Don't wait -- invest in those relationships now.
In the next month: Identify a weaker tie with whom you'd like to build an alliance. Help him by giving him a small gift -- forward an article or job posting.
Create an "interesting people fund" to which you automatically funnel a certain percentage of your paycheck. Use it to pay for coffees and the occasional plane ticket to meet new people and shore up existing relationships.
The Power of Introverts: A Manifesto for Quiet Brilliance
Interview with Susan Cain in Scientific American.
Cain: When you’re working in a group, it’s hard to know what you truly think. We’re such social animals that we instinctively mimic others’ opinions, often without realizing we’re doing it. And when we do disagree consciously, we pay a psychic price. The Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns found that people who dissent from group wisdom show heightened activation in the amygdala, a small organ in the brain associated with the sting of social rejection. Berns calls this the "pain of independence."
Take the example of brainstorming sessions, which have been wildly popular in corporate America since the 1950s, when they were pioneered by a charismatic ad executive named Alex Osborn. Forty years of research shows that brainstorming in groups is a terrible way to produce creative ideas. The organizational psychologist Adrian Furnham puts it pretty bluntly: The "evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups. If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is the highest priority."
This is not to say that we should abolish groupwork. But we should use it a lot more judiciously than we do today.
Psychology of Failure and Success
Praising your child intelligence is bad... It creates fixed mindset... They don't want to make mistakes... Praise the process the child engaged in, effort, strategy, taking on hard tasks, persisting on a face of obstacles. And when we do that the children learn growth mind set, they enjoy difficulty, and they keep on going.
Procrastination and perfectionism
In comments a book is mentioned and summarized: "The Procrastination Equation", Piers Steel (psychologist), 2011 http://www.procrastinus.com
Some points from there:
Self-control and delaying gratification are key to controlling procrastination.
Proximity to temptation is a major factor in impulsiveness
success spirals - progressive series of successes build confidence (e.g. earning scout badges). regularly stretching your limits is important to teach yourself confidence in your ability to tackle something difficult
vicarious victory - relating to someone’s success story, finding inspiration in books, movies, inspirational speakers, joining a group of inspirational people
wish fulfillment - visualization of success and contrasting with where you are now. Visualization that only focuses on the goal may drain motivation to complete the necessary steps. As you visualize attaining the goal and then contrasting the current situation, maintain your optimism so that you can translate this visualization into a plan of action.
create a chain of goals that helps connect less pleasurable tasks to the ultimate desired goal
recognize your available energy, and plan around it - schedule difficult tasks for your morning and mid-day peak performance (likely between 10 and 2)
reward yourself for accomplishments
satisfy your needs first before they become a distraction.
schedule your leisure time ahead - work harder knowing your leisure is ensured
make sleep predictable, with a regular wind-down routine
eliminate cues that trigger temptation - e.g. keep your workspace clean
organized into routines that occur regularly at the same time and place. A predictable work schedule is important.
Dealing with negative people
The influential Flickr Community Guidelines that Champ lead the creation of (eg: "Don't be creepy. You know the guy. Don't be that guy.") remain one of the most important documents that new online communities should read.
Chris Williams: An End to Negativity - a talk from JSConf EU (he is one of the organizers).
If you are having disagreement with somebody - take it outside, discuss between two of you. "I have an issue with something you said".
Be willing to stand up against haters. Be there to say "This is my friend. Let's talk."
What could you do if you knew you could not fail.
A speach of Theodore Rusevelt "Citizenship and Republic".
I recommend that you take the attitude that you will be able to overcome any toxicity from any collaborator. To do otherwise is to give up too easily. If you assume you can overcome, you switch from being a victim to being a problem-solver.
You should have real humans dedicated to monitoring and responding to your community.
You should have community policies about what is and isn't acceptable behavior.
Your site should have accountable identities.
You should have the technology to easily identify and stop bad behaviors.
You should make a budget that supports having a good community, or you should find another line of work.
Getting networking right - a podcast from Harvard Business Review
(11:30) Focus on behaviors... Frequently, it is just criticizing ideas too early and not exposing their own thinking... If focusing on behaviors does not help: Are there inovative ways that you could spend less time with negative people... Can you personally handle it better...
No suggestions and recommendations here, mostly just an observation of the fact.
The hard ones are people who are doing good work in some respects but are also really difficult characters and they annoy other people, so we end up with these long intractable situations where a community can't come to a decision. But I think that is probably true of any human community.