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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How To Be More Efficient At Work

So now I’m procrastinating on the Internet. But the deeper problem remains: Why can't I force myself to work efficiently anymore? 

Let’s focus. Here’s the trick: Take your current project and narrow it down to one aspect that you can accomplish each day. Thin-slice it. Jane Austen’s most famous quote about her writing is that she worked on a "little bit"—two inches wide—"of ivory." Kill expectation. Eliminate the extraneous bull hockey, chew gum (it boosts brain power—and your metabolism by 20 percent), and fixate. When you compress things down to a human level, you can nerd out with joy.
And when I say "focus" I don’t mean strapping your garters to the chair. Text your new friends and procrastinate a little—procrastinating is a way of brainstorming— but no multitasking. Ninety-eight percent of people perform worse on projects when they’re multitasking, according to Garth Sundem’s entrancing book Brain Trust. And when you take a break? Walk outside and look at a tree. It helps restore your attention.
P.S. As reported by Gareth Cook in The Boston Globe, recent experiments by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Norton, who worked with colleagues at Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, show that if you spend a little time doing "something for someone else," you’ll feel less pressed for time later. Professor Norton theorizes that "doing something for someone else" shows us "that we can get things done" and "makes us feel in control of our lives.

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