The question prodding us to increased productivity is almost never, “How do I fit more work into my day?” That question leads to productivity “hacks,” an exhausting pace of work, and endless to-do lists that never completely get done because there are only so many hours in the day. A better question to ask, instead, […]
Three years ago I boarded a crowded, somewhat dirty bus and set off for Wat Suan Mokkh, a Thai forest monastery. The grounds featured giant monitor lizards and bats that would fly low at dusk, almost touching you with their wings. Though the bat-filled evenings were a highlight of my trip, they were not my […]
“Are you tired, run down, listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular? The answer to all of your problems are in this little bottle!” This quote, from Lucille Ball on I Love Lucy, is both hilarious and timeless. Her Vitameatavegamin bottle made some pretty large promises that only required an alcohol content of […]
Time management is about scarcity, because time is fixed. You only have 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, 8,760 hours in a year (tack on an extra 24 for leap years). Until someone invents a time-stretching machine, that’s all we’ve got. The thing that you can actually manage is your energy. […]
In life and in business, there are a lot of distractions. It can be fun to run down those rabbit trails, but it’s easy to lose track, and hard to get back to doing the most important things for the time that we have. I am a husband and father of 12 children. I am […]
The idea that working ever harder and longer leads to better results is as American as apple pie, despite all evidence to the contrary. Chronic overwork is unproductive, unhealthy, and destructive of a balanced life. Yet against the evidence—and against the advice of incredibly successful people such as Henry David Thoreau and Henry Ford—overwork remains […]
In the 2007 film “Music and Lyrics,” an absent-minded lyricist played by Drew Barrymore drives her high-strung musical partner a little crazy by insisting that they take breaks throughout the day. Each time they take a walk or run out for food, however, the lyrics come to her as if by magic. Sometimes, as an […]
I’ve always done my best to keep up with the latest research in goal achievement. I not only want to learn from it myself, I also want to distill the lessons for fellow leaders. But the tricky thing about science is that it often causes us to reevaluate our assumptions. That reevaluation can be uncomfortable, […]
I have a hard time saying “no.” Perhaps you do, too. I think it is more common than we think, especially for those who are empathetic or nurturing. Here are five reasons why we must get better.
From the day Steve Jobs first introduced the iPad in 2010, I was hooked—at least in theory. The promise of a small, ultraportable tablet was a dream come true. I saw the potential immediately. Unfortunately, it never worked out for me in practice. I bought every iPad ever produced (with the exception of the iPad […]
One of the most important lessons I have learned about productivity is this: It’s less about managing time and more about managing energy. Why? Because time is fixed, but our energy can flex. Most people get this exactly backward. They cram their day with tasks, thinking they can get it all done. Instead, they end […]
Everyone’s heard of a to-do list. But what about a not to-do list? I know of no better way to reduce your workload than this simple tool.