Donnerstag, 19. Juli 2018

"Three to four hours a day, five days a week, of uninterrupted and carefully directed concentration, it turns out, can produce a lot of valuable output."

Cal Newport

Traffic flow measured on 30 different 4-way junctions:


[h/t Charles]

Solitude

Cal Newport:

"Style aside, Lead Yourself First makes many interesting points, but there were two lessons in particular that struck me as relevant to the types of things we talk about here. So I thought I would share them:

Lesson #1: The right way to define “solitude” is as a subjective state in which you’re isolated from input from other minds.

When we think of solitude, we typically imagine physical isolation (a remote cabin or mountain top), making it a concept that we can easily push aside as romantic and impractical. But as this book makes clear, the real key to solitude is to step away from reacting to the output of other minds: be it listening to a podcast, scanning social media, reading a book, watching TV or holding an actual conversation. It’s time for your mind to be alone with your mind — regardless of what’s going on around you.

Lesson #2: Regular doses of solitude are crucial for the effective and resilient functioning of your brain.

Spending time isolated from other minds is what allows you to process and regulate complex emotions. It’s the only time you can refine the principles on which you can build a life of character. It’s what allows you to crack hard problems, and is often necessary for creative insight. If you avoid time alone with your brain your mental life will be much more fragile and much less productive."

Minimalism

Cal Newport:

"For some excellent examples of minimalism blogs, I recommend: The Minimalists, Leo Babauta, Joshua Becker, Tammy Strobel, the Frugalwoods and Mr. Money Moustache. See also Joshua and Ryan’s sharp documentary on the topic now streaming on Netflix."

>Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.<

>Digital minimalism is a philosophy that helps you question what digital communication tools (and behaviors surrounding these tools) add the most value to your life. It is motivated by the belief that intentionally and aggressively clearing away low-value digital noise, and optimizing your use of the tools that really matter, can significantly improve your life.<

Aufmerksamkeit

Gerhard Roth, Bildung braucht Persönlichkeit:

"Aufmerksamkeit ist eng mit zwei anderen Phänomenen verbunden, nämlich mit Bewusstsein und Gedächtnis. Im Allgemeinen können wir die Intensität von Aufmerksamkeit mit der Intensität bewussten Erlebens gleichsetzen, auch wenn es Bedingungen gibt, unter denen beide voneinander abweichen. Aufmerksamkeit in Form von Konzentration ist die vielleicht stärkste Form von Bewusstsein: Geschehnisse erscheinen dabei klarer, plastischer, deutlicher und können erheblich besser erinnert und beschrieben werden, und umgekehrt verschwindet etwas umso schneller aus unserem Gedächtnis, je weniger Aufmerksamkeit wir ihm schenken[.]"

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"[Psychologen sind der Ansicht], dass Aufmerksamkeit eine beschränkte Ressource ist, die einen Maximalwert besitzt. Das heißt am Beispiel des Scheinwerfers der Aufmerksamkeit: Ein Scheinwerfer kann eine maximale Lichtmenge abstrahlen, und je mehr Licht ich auf einen Gegenstand werfen will, damit ich ihn besser sehen kann, desto mehr muss ich den Lichtkegel bündeln, und je breiter ich ihn mache, desto schwächer ist die Beleuchtung pro Flächeneinheit. Dies gilt auch für die Zeitdauer der Aufmerksamkeit: Je intensiver ich mich auf ein Geschehen konzentriere, desto schneller sind meine Ressourcen erschöpft.
Das hat wichtige Folgen für das Lernen. Einer anspruchslosen Plauderei des Lehrers (meist handelt es sich um >Erzählungen aus dem eigenen Leben<) kann ich stundenlang zuhören, aber bei schwierigen Zusammenhängen, die hohe Konzentration erfordern, steht mir bald der Schweiß auf der Stirn. Psychologen haben herausgefunden, dass wir nur für wenige Minuten (meist 3-5) konzentriert einer schwierigen Darstellung folgen können, und dass man dass erst einmal eine >Pause< machen muss, weil der >Aufmerksamkeitsvorrat< verbraucht ist und sich >erholen< muss.
Diese Pause muss nicht in einem tatsächlichen Innehalten bestehen, sondern kann durch eine auflockernde Bemerkung, ein Witzchen, einen zusammenfassenden Satz oder eine Verständnisfrage erreicht werden. Es gehört zur hohen Kunst guter Lehrender diesen Umstand in Rechnung zu stellen."

Mittwoch, 18. Juli 2018

Alternative Productivity’s Tenants

The Alternative Productivity Manifesto:

“Productivity” is an Industrial Era economics term that applies to factories, machines, and economies. When applied to people it often has a dehumanizing effect and negates both individual differences and unique talents.
If your productivity increases, but your pay stays the same, then you’re effectively taking a pay cut (same goes if you begin working longer hours for the same pay).
The 40-hour work week hasn’t changed since 1940 and is ridiculously outdated.
If you’re consistently having trouble focusing, it’s often because you’re focusing on the wrong things (i.e. things you’re not passionate about or things that aren’t best suited to your skillset).
Increased productivity should equal less time on the job. If you’re getting more done, you should get more vacation time.
Most best-selling productivity gurus are working in the interests of large corporations and often advocate values and approaches that are not in the best interests of individuals.
Increased productivity should result in greater carefree time, more vacations, and more time away from work. Most of the time, however, it does not.
We are living in a time and place that is more “productive” than ever before, but high levels of productivity aren’t making us any happier.
Productivity should be designed around our lives, not the other way around.
The workforce is laboring for more hours and for less pay, taking fewer vacations, and generally burning out.
The best way to increase productivity is often to quit a lot of things.
Productivity often poses as the self-development genre but it is not. Self-development and productivity are two very different things. What is best for us as individuals is often bad for productivity.
The societally scripted routes to success via productivity are failing us.
Products marketed towards busy people (e.g. “Productivity for Busy People,” “Cooking for Busy People,” etc.) only serve to reinforce the problem and often glamorize, excuse, and support the unnecessarily busy life and cult of hyperefficiency.

Hacks, tweaks, tricks, etc. have emerged from a productivity hobbyist culture, are largely insufficient at solving bigger life problems, and often do not increase productivity. These hacks etc. are vestiges of the largely “techie” demographic of the early (but self-reinforcing) blogosphere.
Early to bed, early to rise does not necessarily lead to greater productivity. Contrary to several blog posts advocating early rising as a means to greater productivity, the practice of early rising can actually be harmful.
More technology often leads to decreased productivity.
Hyperfocusing on productivity often gets in the way of the messy, circuitous, and discursive routes of personal development.
When most people speak of productivity in the office, they’re usually speaking about a specific kind of productivity: cubical-land, desk-job, information-worker productivity. The methods used to produce this kind of productivity often do not generalize to other contexts.
No productivity system can put you in a zen like, meditative, or mind like water state. A calm, focused, and meditative mind leads to greater productivity, but productivity systems cannot create a mind like water.
Too much productivity can turn you into a real tool.
Massive value creation often happens during times when no work is ostensibly being accomplished and productivity levels are ostensibly nil.
What makes people productive varies considerably from person to person.
Productivity is often a necessary evil: if you dislike your job, you’re going to need a water-tight productivity system in place to keep you on task.
Productivity should be designed around lives, not the other way around.

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[via Cal Newport]