TonyAdmin

All articles by TonyAdmin

 

Productivity is killing innovation and hurting our careers

[This is an excerpt from ‘Busy’ adapted and published by Fast Company] There’s no shortage of advice out there for making you more productive, and plenty of it works. But the emphasis on productivity has gone too far, and it’s holding back not just innovation but our own careers, too....
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To get the most out of your day, manage your attention not your time

[Article first published in Quartz.com, 14th September 2015] …in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and...
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Time management is only making our busy lives worse

[This article was first published in Quartz.com]   “Tess…started her way up the dark and crooked lane not made for hasty progress; a street laid out before inches of land had value, and when one-handed clocks sufficiently sub-divided the day” (Thomas Hardy). Imagine your life without time; without a constant sense that you’re running behind,...
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Email is the TV of work

It can feel good to flop in front of the TV at the end of a busy day. With a simple click you are transported and entertained. You can switch off your brain. The same is true at work. It feels good to flop in front of your screen and with a click disappear into...
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Creating moments with your children

How often do you say ‘Just a minute’ to your children?  My wife and I found ourselves saying it a lot, as we prioritized our terribly important busyness over our children. More often than not, by the time we were ready, the child had disappeared, or moved on and the moment was lost. A little...
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Sloppiness is a gender issue

I work with a leader who is sloppy: a bit disorganized, he forgets things and at times drops the ball. He is also extremely successful and admired. The thing is, his sloppiness is interpreted (accurately) as big thinking and creativity. It occurs to me that I don’t know any women in senior positions who are...
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Strategic Idleness

In a recent survey in the US, 83% of people said they had no time for ‘relaxation or thinking’ at all. In a knowledge economy, what hope can we have as individuals or as corporations if we’re not thinking. More specifically, there’s a type of thinking that is more under threat than any other kind:...
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Embarrassed about being busy

‘How are you?’ The chances are high that your response would be ‘busy’. Most of us today lead hectic lives, crunching through emails, racing between meetings and juggling competing demands. Overwhelmed by it all, our busyness can come to dominate our work, lives and relationships....
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The Busyness Law

If you saw a man collapse in front of you, in a clearly distressed state and needing help, would you stop and help? The answer is that it depends. In a famous experiment, social psychologists John Darley and Daniel Batson ran an experiment with people who might be expected to help: trainee priests. Just before...
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Big problems and busyness

In the 1940s Enrico Fermi was listening to other distinguished physicists discuss the possibility of extra-terrestrial life. Given an enormous universe, it seems scientifically unlikely that life has only occurred on this planet. It appears, for example, that planets orbit most stars that could sustain life. It also seems that, when life evolves, it is...
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Taking the risk to move beyond busy

There’s a lot of insecurity in the job market these days, so it’s natural to want to play it safe; and the safest option is normally to do what everyone else is doing.  To hide ourselves in the herd.  So what does this mean?  It means to cram our days with activity, to respond instantly...
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Hot emails and emotional control

Abraham Lincoln got mad at times.  When he did, he had an interesting technique to deal with it.  He’d write what he called a ‘hot letter’.  In an article published yesterday in the New York Times, Maria Konnikova describes how Lincoln, for example, wrote a hot letter to General George C. Meade to express his...
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Time awareness

My watch broke a few weeks ago. No big deal. However it’s summer, the children are at home, and my wife has broken her watch too (careless you might say). The effect has been dramatic. We get hardly anything done; routine has disappeared; days race by in a flash; and we are loving our untimed...
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Productivity through chunking and slicing

How long does your attention stay on one thing at work? One study found that office workers switch task every three minutes.  You’re working on a project and ‘ping’ an email arrives. You leap into action and deal with the email before returning to the project…then an IM pops onto your screen. It feels good...
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We need more doubt

I don’t see enough doubt…and it really worries me. As I psychologist, I understand why we prefer not to doubt but, for businesses at least, there has never been a time in history where doubting is more important....
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Thinking with your body

For this little experiment you will need a pen. Hold the pen lightly in your lips.  Then read the following statement: Why don’t oysters ever donate to charity? Because they are shellfish! Now, take the same pen and hold it in your teeth.  Now read: Where is the English Channel? I’m not sure. We don’t...
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Play isn´t the opposite of work

Play has little place in most modern organisations. Unless you work in Silicon Valley or for a wacky design agency with play dens and fireman’s poles, it just isn’t the norm at work. As young children, any distinction between play and work is meaningless; they do everything through play. As we grow, we learn how...
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The madness of creativity

Writers and artists are 8 – 10 times more likely to suffer mood disorders than the general public. Does this show what many have long believed: that truly creative people are a bit odd? Maybe, but I think is has more to say about the importance of mood on creativity. So what does it take...
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Go away! You’re making me nervous!

Where’s the K?  Why is it so much harder to do some things when we’re being watched?  I’m not a touch typer, but I’m reasonably fast and fluent on a keyboard…unless there’s someone at my shoulder.  If I’m being observed, suddenly consonants start hiding! The mere presence of people has been known to affect performance...
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This blog will change how you judge

How do you make judgements? Would you be surprised if I told you that many of your judgements had little to do with the facts at all? Consider even the most rational of all choices: what company to invest in. How would you choose to invest your hard-earned money: a review of their trading record,...
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Remote control your creativity

On many evenings, power in our house is defined as being the one holding the TV remote. As we flop down into the sofa, chores done, one of us casually reaches for the controlshalf buried under cushions… Now imagine a TV without controls. A TV that gets stuck on channels – often the wrong channel...
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You’re using the wrong arguments to influence people

You have been hired as a consultant to write a card to be left in all of a hotel’s rooms. The purpose of this card is to encourage more people to recycle their towels. What would you write? I have asked this question of many groups, and their answers show huge creativity in style and...
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Unforgettable presentations

Imagine you never forgot anything. How great would that be? Wrong. A perfect recall would be akin to madness. Forgetting is one of the most useful things the brain does. In a world where we are bombarded by so much information, so many experiences, forgetting is one of our best ways of filtering the useful...
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I don’t like buffets

Buffets give me loads of choice, provide instant gratification and save me time. All good, surely. The problem isn’t the buffet, it’s me. When faced with an abundance of options I can’t help loading my plate up too high with a weird assortment of flavors and textures. A selection no self-respecting chef would ever place...
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Why did you stop skipping?

I was walking down the street recently with my 7 year old son, for no apparent reason he started skipping. I think he might have been humming too. I was struck by this spontaneous expression of joy. It got me thinking about why I stopped skipping? Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Laureate for his work on...
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Pro-Creation

Homo erectus made the same type of hand axe for 1 million years. Not very inventive. Tools in those days changed slower than skeletons. Matt Ridely, in his brilliant TED talk ‘When ideas have sex’ explains that innovation accelerated when homo sapien came on the scene. He believes this was because of exchange, which allows...
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Think or do. It’s one or the other

We’re simple creatures. Drawing a house-fly in a urinal reduces spillage by 80%; it gives men something to aim at. A deli taster counter with six choices of jam leads to a 30% purchase rate. When the number of jams is increased to 24, the number of purchases reduces to 3%....
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Why are you so busy?

‘How are you?’ If you answered ‘Busy’ (or words to that effect) you’d be part of the majority. Everywhere we look, be it our colleagues, our friends, or our family, they are all busy. There are some very good, objective reasons for this Busy-ness.  In addition, however, Busy can be thought of a lifestyle choice.  I am here...
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Why Good Intentions Fail

Let’s say you have just had a heart attack. It came out of nowhere and has really shaken you: heart attacks happen to other people. As you recover in hospital, your doctor comes to you with a blunt message: change your lifestyle or you will die. How do you rate your chances of making that...
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