5 Top Secrets to Getting More Done


TIME

1) Be a Machine

The secret to getting more done is to make things automatic. Decisions exhaust you:

The counterintuitive secret to getting things done is to make them more automatic, so they require less energy.

It turns out we each have one reservoir of will and discipline, and it gets progressively depleted by any act of conscious self-regulation. In other words, if you spend energy trying to resist a fragrant chocolate chip cookie, you’ll have less energy left over to solve a difficult problem. Will and discipline decline inexorably as the day wears on.

Build routines and habits so that you’re not deciding, you’re just doing. When you first learn to drive it’s 1000 activities like steering, shifting, checking mirrors, braking — but with practice you turned it into autopilot and it’s no stress at all.

2) Sleep is king

Get enough sleep:

All told, by the…

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Why do we language?


neuroecology

Aeon has an article on how the genetics that contribute to language are actually part of a much larger system:

But over the years, it became clear that the truth about language origins was not quite as simple as a “language gene” or well-defined language module. Further study revealed that the FOXP2gene is relevant to multiple mental abilities and is not strictly a language gene at all. In a 2009 paper, for example, Max Planck Institute geneticist Wolfgang Enard exploited the fact that just three amino acids distinguish the human version of the FOXP2 protein from that of mice. When he engineered the FOXP2 genes of mice to produce proteins with the two human FOXP2 amino acids, it resulted in functional differences in brain areas critical for carrying out fine motor tasks and controlling muscle movements, as well as altered function in regions involved in sending and receiving reward…

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What 5 Things Can Make Sure You Never Stop Growing and Learning?


TIME

1) Keep Trying New Things

Having lots of hobbies is one of the secrets of the most creative people.

Via Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation:

Legendary innovators like Franklin, Snow, and Darwin all possess some common intellectual qualities— a certain quickness of mind, unbounded curiosity— but they also share one other defining attribute. They have a lot of hobbies…

Matt Cutts gives a great talk about how trying new things for 30 days not only helped him learn new skills but also changed him as a person.

2) Don’t Fear Failure

In Eric Ries’ acclaimed bestseller The Lean Startup he makes it clear that little bets, or “experiments”, are critical to moving a business forward in a safe fashion:

…if you cannot fail, you cannot learn.

Getting it wrong helps you get it right. Making mistakes is vital to improvement.

Via Where Good Ideas…

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6 Things the Most Organized People Do Every Day


TIME

Your life is busy. Work/life balance is a challenge. You feel like you’re spreading yourself so thin that you’re starting to disappear.

Most of us feel that way. But not all of us. The most organized people don’t.

As NYT bestselling author and neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explains, the VIP’s he’s met don’t seem scattered and frantic.

They’re calm, cool and “in the moment”, not juggling nine things and worried about being done by 7PM.

It’s not hard to figure out why: they have help — aides and assistants to take care of these things so the VIP can be “in the moment.”

Via The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload:

In the course of my work as a scientific researcher, I’ve had the chance to meet governors, cabinet members, music celebrities, and the heads of Fortune 500 companies. Their skills and accomplishments vary, but…

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