Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity


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And in the spirit of the artists concerned with industrialism a century ago — but with an eye toward more scientific advances — we spent more than a year investigating the subject.


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Truly sweet problems may require the creation of radically new concepts and tools before they can be solved. Sign in , buy as a PDF or create an account. For the impact of work-space design, information technology and organizational factors on knowledge-work processes, see T. Harvard Business School Press, Autonomy has long been viewed as a critical variable in job satisfaction for many types of workers.

See, for example, J. Addison-Wesley, ; and B. Two studies show the impact of work relationships on the development of new ideas: This phenomenon has been widely documented in articles such as R. He began his career at Bell Telephone Labs, birthplace of the laser and transistor, and later became an expert in managing complex software projects, a field notorious for spiralling costs, missed deadlines, and clashing egos.

But then, in the s, he committed heresy: What was needed, he had come to realise, was not an increased focus on using time efficiently. It was the opposite: But it was never a constant.

Why time management is ruining our lives

You need people to be able to sit back, put their feet up, and think. But good ideas do not emerge more rapidly when people feel under the gun — if anything, the good ideas dry up. Part of the problem is simply that thinking about time encourages clockwatching, which has been repeatedly shown in studies to undermine the quality of work. In one representative experiment from , US researchers asked people to complete the Iowa gambling task, a venerable decision-making test that involves selecting playing cards in order to win a modest amount of cash.

All participants were given the same time in which to complete the task — but some were told that time would probably be sufficient, while others were warned it would be tight. Contrary to an intuition cherished especially among journalists — that the pressure of deadlines is what forces them to produce high-quality work — the second group performed far less well.

The mere awareness of their limited time triggered anxious emotions that got in the way of performance.

But worse perils await. DeMarco points out that any increase in efficiency, in an organisation or an individual life, necessitates a trade-off: A visit to your family doctor provides an obvious example. The more efficiently they manage their time, the fuller their schedule will be — and the more likely it is that you will be kept sitting in the waiting room when an earlier appointment overruns.

The Art & Science of Personal Productivity

For that kind of responsiveness, idle time must be built into the system. To use the available space more efficiently, you could always add a ninth tile to the empty square. No wonder we are so drawn to the problem of how to make better use of our days: To die with the sense of nothing left undone: If only we could find the right techniques and apply enough self-discipline, it suggests, we could know that we were fitting everything important in, and could feel happy at last. It is up to us — indeed, it is our obligation — to maximise our productivity.

Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity

This is a convenient ideology from the point of view of those who stand to profit from our working harder, and our increased capacity for consumer spending. But it also functions as a form of psychological avoidance. The more you can convince yourself that you need never make difficult choices — because there will be enough time for everything — the less you will feel obliged to ask yourself whether the life you are choosing is the right one.

Personal productivity presents itself as an antidote to busyness when it might better be understood as yet another form of busyness.

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And as such, it serves the same psychological role that busyness has always served: Which paths will you pursue, and which will you abandon? Which relationships will you prioritise, during your shockingly limited lifespan, and who will you resign yourself to disappointing? For Merlin Mann, consciously confronting these questions was a matter of realising that people would always be making more claims on his time — worthy claims, too, for the most part — than it would be possible for him to meet.


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  4. And that even the best, most efficient system for managing the emails they sent him was never going to provide a solution to that. This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. The links are powered by Skimlinks. By clicking on an affiliate link, you accept that Skimlinks cookies will be set. All of our efforts to be more productive backfire — and only make us feel even busier and more stressed by Oliver Burkeman.

    Pete Gamlen Thu 22 Dec Topics The long read. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Show 25 25 50 All.

    The Art & Science of Personal Productivity by iProcrastinate Podcast | Mixcloud

    Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Loading comments… Trouble loading? Practice your negotiating skills with this read and kill it in any professional or personal agreement with grace and poise. Sophia Amoruso is your gal. As the founder and CEO of a major fashion retailer, she knows a thing or two about finding your way to success, and her story will inspire just about anyone to make it big.

    If you have no idea what your passion is, you might want to check this out.

    The Mysterious Art and Science of Knowledge-Worker Performance

    This book will teach you what motivates people, and how to better instill drive in others. If you want to reach total and complete happiness, this book is a great start. Have a favorite career book and do you listen to it? She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker.

    Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity
    Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity
    Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity
    Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity
    Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity
    Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity
    Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity
    Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity
    Higher Process: The Art & Science of Personal Productivity

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