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An equation to ensure America survives the age of AI
April 10, 2019 | Financial Times | Elizabeth Cobbs.

Alexander Hamilton, Horace Mann and Frances Perkins are linked by their emphasis on the importance of human learning.

In more and more industries, the low-skilled suffer declining pay and hours. McKinsey estimates that 60 per cent of occupations are at risk of partial or total automation. Workers spy disaster. Whether the middle class shrinks in the age of artificial intelligence depends less on machine learning than on human learning. Historical precedents help, especially...... the Hamilton-Mann-Perkins equation: innovation plus education, plus a social safety net, equals the sum of prosperity.

(1) Alexander Hamilton.
US founding father Alexander Hamilton was first to understand the relationship between: (a) the US's founding coincided with the industrial revolution and the need to grapple with technological disruption (In 1776, James Watts sold his first steam engine when the ink was still wet on the Declaration of Independence)-- Steam remade the world economically; and (b), America’s decolonisation remade the world politically......Hamilton believed that Fledgling countries needed robust economies. New technologies gave them an edge. Hamilton noted that England owed its progress to the mechanization of textile production.......Thomas Jefferson,on the other hand, argued that the US should remain pastoral: a free, virtuous nation exchanged raw materials for foreign goods. Farmers were “the chosen people”; factories promoted dependence and vice.....Hamilton disagreed. He thought colonies shouldn’t overpay foreigners for things they could produce themselves. Government should incentivise innovation, said his 1791 Report on the Subject of Manufactures. Otherwise citizens would resist change even when jobs ceased to provide sufficient income, deterred from making a “spontaneous transition to new pursuits”.......the U.S. Constitution empowered Congress to grant patents to anyone with a qualified application. America became a nation of tinkerers...Cyrus McCormick, son of a farmer, patented a mechanical reaper in 1834 that reduced the hands needed in farming. The US soared to become the world’s largest economy by 1890. Hamilton’s constant: nurture innovation.

(2) Horace Mann
America’s success gave rise to the idea that a free country needed free schools. The reformer Horace Mann, who never had more than six weeks of schooling in a year, started the Common School Movement, calling public schools “the greatest discovery made by man”.....Grammar schools spread across the US between the 1830s and 1880s. Reading, writing and arithmetic were the tools for success in industrialising economies. Towns offered children a no-cost education.......Americans achieved the world’s highest per capita income just as they became the world’s best-educated people. Mann’s constant: prioritise education.

(3) Frances Perkins
Jefferson was correct that industrial economies made people more interdependent. By 1920, more Americans lived in towns earning wages than on farms growing their own food. When the Great Depression drove unemployment to 25 per cent, the state took a third role....FDR recruited Frances Perkins, the longest serving labour secretary in US history, to rescue workers. Perkins led campaigns that established a minimum wage and maximum workweek. Most importantly, she chaired the committee that wrote the 1935 Social Security Act, creating a federal pension system and state unemployment insurance. Her achievements did not end the depression, but helped democracy weather it. Perkins’s constant: knit a safety net.

The world has ridden three swells of industrialisation occasioned by the harnessing of steam, electricity and computers. The next wave, brought to us by AI, towers over us. History shows that innovation, education and safety nets point the ship of state into the wave.

Progress is a variable. Hamilton, Mann and Perkins would each urge us to mind the constants in the historical equation.
adaptability  Alexander_Hamilton  artificial_intelligence  automation  diadaptability  constitutions  disruption  downward_mobility  education  FDR  Founding_Fathers  Frances_Perkins  gig_economy  historical_precedents  hollowing_out  Horace_Mann  Industrial_Revolution  innovation  innovation_policies  James_Watts  job_destruction  job_displacement  job_loss  life_long_learning  low-skilled  McKinsey  middle_class  priorities  productivity  public_education  public_schools  safety_nets  slavery  steam_engine  the_Great_Depression  Thomas_Jefferson  tinkerers 
5 weeks ago by jerryking
Productivity Isn’t About Time Management. It’s About Attention Management.
March 28, 2019| The New York Times | By Adam Grant.

The better option is attention management: Prioritize the people and projects that matter, and it won’t matter how long anything takes.

Attention management is the art of focusing on getting things done for the right reasons, in the right places and at the right moments........E.B. White once wrote: “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” But in my research, I’ve found that productive people don’t agonize about which desire to pursue. They go after both simultaneously, gravitating toward projects that are personally interesting and socially meaningful........instead of focusing on how quickly I wanted to finish this article, I asked why I agreed to write it in the first place: I might learn something new when synthesizing the research; I’d finally have somewhere to point people when they ask about productivity; and it might help some of those people......productivity struggles are caused not by a lack of efficiency, but a lack of motivation. Productivity isn’t a virtue. It’s a means to an end. It’s only virtuous if the end is worthy. If productivity is your goal, you have to rely on willpower to push yourself to get a task done. If you pay attention to why you’re excited about the project and who will benefit from it, you’ll be naturally pulled into it by intrinsic motivation.

But how do I stay on task if I’m not worried about time?
Attention management also involves noticing where you get things done.....a series of studies led by Julia Lee (now at Michigan) show that bad weather is good for productivity because we’re less likely to be distracted by the thought of going outside....My favorite part of attention management is the when. Most of our productivity challenges are with tasks that we don’t want to do but that we need to do. ....there's something called attention residue: Your mind keeps wandering back to the interesting task, disrupting your focus on the boring task. ...if you’re trying to power through a boring task, do it after a moderately interesting one, and save your most exciting task as a reward for afterward. It’s not about time; it’s about timing.

Of makers and managers
If the goal is not just to be more productive — but also to be creative, then the stumbling block is that productivity and creativity demand opposite attention management strategies. Productivity is fueled by raising attentional filters to keep unrelated or distracting thoughts out. But creativity is fueled by lowering attentional filters to let those thoughts in.

How do you get the best of both worlds? In his book “When,” Dan Pink cites your circadian rhythm as help to schedule the right time to do your productive and creative work. If you’re a morning person, do your analytical work early when you’re at peak alertness; your routine tasks around lunchtime in your trough; and your creative work in the late afternoon or evening when you’re more likely to do nonlinear thinking. If you’re more of a night owl, you might be better off flipping creative projects to your fuzzy mornings and analytical tasks to your clearest-eyed late afternoon and evening moments. It’s not time management, because you might spend the same amount of time on the tasks even after you rearrange your schedule. It’s attention management: You’re noticing the order of tasks that works for you and adjusting accordingly
Adam_Grant  attention  attention_spans  circadian_rhythms  Dan_Pink  intrinsically_motivated  motivations  priorities  productivity  sequencing  time-management  timing  willpower 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
Why the cult of the early riser still captivates
March 26, 2019 | Financial Times | by Jo Ellison

Will getting up before the sun has cracked its first rays make you a better, more brilliant person? In his book, The 5am Club: Own Your Morning, Elevate your Life, “leadership guru” Robin Sharma argues the case. The book is the 13th publication in an oeuvre that also includes the titles Who Will Cry When You Die? and The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, which has sold more than three million copies to date......club members must get up as soon as the alarm goes off at 4.45am before launching into “The Victory Hour”, which breaks down into 20 minutes of movement and hard physical exercise, 20 minutes of “reflection”, such as prayer, meditation or journal writing, followed by 20 minutes of “growth”, during which you might listen to “a podcast about leadership” or “consume an audiobook”.

This magical hour of solitude, contemplation and sweat allows one to focus on one’s goals and optimise one’s schedule for the day ahead, which is then split into 60- and 90-minute bursts of intensely focused work, with 10-minute intervals for mental growth, during which time the brain should roam freely. Sharma saves the afternoons for meetings and “lower value work” before going home to enjoy a “portfolio of joyful pursuits”, family time and/or nature walks.
adaptability  books  buffering  early_risers  GTD  gurus  habits  productivity  slack_time 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
This Thriving City—and Many Others—Could Soon Be Disrupted by Robots - WSJ
Feb. 9, 2019 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims.

In and around the city of Lakeland, Florida you’ll find operations from Amazon, DHL (for Ikea), Walmart , Rooms to Go, Medline and Publix, a huge Geico call center, the world’s largest wine-and-spirits distribution warehouse and local factories that produce natural and artificial flavors and, of all things, glitter.

Yet a recent report by the Brookings Institution, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and McKinsey & Co., argues that the economic good times for Lakeland could rapidly come to an end. Brookings placed it third on its list of metros that are most at risk of losing jobs because of the very same automation and artificial intelligence that make its factories, warehouses and offices so productive......As technology drives people out of the middle class, economists say, it’s pushing them in one of two directions. Those with the right skills or education graduate into a new technological elite. Everyone else falls into the ranks of the “precariat”—the precariously employed, a workforce in low-wage jobs with few benefits or protections, where roles change frequently as technology transforms the nature of work......One step in Southern Glazer’s warehouse still requires a significant number of low-skill workers: the final “pick” station where individual bottles are moved from bins to shipping containers. This machine-assisted, human-accomplished step is common to high-tech warehouses of every kind, whether they’re operated by Amazon or Alibaba. Which means that for millions of warehouse workers across the globe, the one thing standing between them and technological unemployment is their manual dexterity, not their minds.... “I think there will be a time when we have a ‘lights out’ warehouse, and cases will come in off trucks and nobody sees them again until they’re ready to be shipped to the customer,” says Mr. Flanary. “The technology is there. It’s just not quite cost-effective yet.”
artificial_intelligence  automation  Christopher_Mims  disruption  distribution_centres  Florida  manual_dexterity  precarious  productivity  robotics  warehouses  cities  clusters  geographic_concentration  hyper-concentrations 
february 2019 by jerryking
I’ve Interviewed 300 High Achievers About Their Morning Routines. Here’s What I’ve Learned. - The New York Times
By Benjamin Spall
Oct. 21, 2018
Experiment with your wake-up time
While the majority of the people I’ve interviewed tend to get up early — the average wake-up time for everyone I’ve talked to is 6:27 a.m. — successful people like to experiment to find the sweet spot that works for them.......Make time for whatever energizes you
Most successful people carve out time in their morning to commit to things that make them feel relaxed, energized and motivated. That can mean working out, reading, meditating or just spending time with your loved ones.....
Get enough sleep
The quality of your sleep the night before directly impacts your ability to perform the next day and, indeed, your ability to enjoy your day. Your morning routine means nothing without a good night’s sleep behind it. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, and might even decrease the effectiveness of your immune system.

Don’t become complacent about how much sleep you need; most people require between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. If you’re constantly trying to get by on less than seven hours of sleep, it will catch up with you, likely sooner rather than later......Adapt your routine to different situations
While it might not always be possible to keep your full morning routine in place when you’re away from home, it is possible to have a travel-ready routine that is always there when you need it.....Don’t beat yourself up
Nearly everyone I’ve talked to said they don’t consider one, two or even three missed days of their morning routine a failure, so long as they get back to it as soon as they can.
early_risers  GTD  productivity  routines  lessons_learned  adaptability  best_practices  choices  serenity  sleep  high-achieving 
october 2018 by jerryking
How One Silicon Valley C.E.O. Masters Work-Life Balance - The New York Times
By Bee Shapiro
Aug. 24, 2018

Daily Lists
I have a tomorrow list that I make the night before. I write down the three things I have to accomplish the next day. I try to wait until I get to the office before I’ll crack that open. I used to have a more organic approach, and my system just broke. With the complexities of the C.E.O. life — board calls, meetings, traveling and trying to be there for your family — you need a system.

Work Philosophies
This guy Tony Schwartz wrote a book that said: Time is a finite resource and energy is renewable. This was profound for me. For example, I enjoy the act of staying fit. It feels good, and the results are palpable. If I’m not getting exercise and seven hours of sleep, I’m not as good, so I view it as essential.

I also set themes throughout the week. I borrowed this from Jack Dorsey. It helps me and the people on my team minimize the content twitching that goes on. So if Monday is themed for business matters, and Thursday is more for recruiting, everyone knows. Content twitching is one of the reasons we feel overwhelmed and maybe not as productive. We’re constantly content twitching between apps and topics.
CEOs  Evernote  exercise  focus  Jack_Dorsey  productivity  routines  Silicon_Valley  to-do  lists  finite_resources  Tony_Schwartz  work_life_balance  GTD  think_threes  personal_energy  overwhelmed  squirrel-like_behaviour 
august 2018 by jerryking
10,000 Hours with Reid Hoffman: What I Learned | Ben Casnocha
16 Lessons Learned (Among Many!)
1. People are complicated and flawed. Root for their better angels.
2. The best way to get a busy person’s attention: Help them.
3. Keep it simple and move fast w...
lessons_learned  advice  entrepreneurship  culture  psychology  productivity  self-deception  self-delusions  success  thought_experiments  networking  career  via:enochko  Reid_Hoffman  Ben_Casnocha 
august 2018 by jerryking
Reading with intention can change your life — Quartz
WRITTEN BY
Jory Mackay
May 03, 2016

Often we're ok with the why of reading, but what about the how? Too often we get through a book, flip the last page, sit back, and think, “What the hell did I just read?” Reading and being able to use what you’ve read are completely different things......
Having a clear question in mind or a topic you’re focusing on can make all the difference in helping you to remember and recall information. While this can be as easy as defining a subject to look into beforehand, if time is no object here’s how to effectively “hack” your brain into being impressed with the subject matter:

Before reading
Ruin the ending. Read reviews and summaries of the work. You’re trying to learn why something happened, so the what is secondary. Frame your reading with knowledge around the subject and perspective of what’s being said and how it relates to the larger topic.

During reading
As you read, have a specific purpose in mind and stick to it. Don’t let your mind be the river that sweeps your thoughts away as you read. Be a ruthless notetaker. Your librarian might kill you for this, but using a technique such as marginalia (writing notes in the margin and marking up key patterns for follow ups), will make you a more active reader and help lock information in your memory.

After reading
Engage with the material. Write a summary or analysis of the main ideas you want to recall or use, research supporting topics and ideas noting how they connect with what you’ve read, and then present, discuss, or write about your final ideas.

Make associations with what you already know
Repeat, revisit, and re-engage
reading  intentionality  hacks  howto  tips  productivity  purpose  high-impact  note_taking  cross-pollination 
may 2018 by jerryking
9 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Times Subscription - The New York Times
By THE NEW YORK TIMES APRIL 3, 2017

Continue reading the main storyShare This Page
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reading  productivity  NYT 
may 2018 by jerryking
How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
Reading alone isn't enough to improve your knowledge. Learning something insightful requires work. You have to read something above your current level. You need to find writers who are more knowledgeable on a particular subject than yourself. This is how you get smarter.

Reading for understanding narrows the gap between reader and writer.

The Four Levels of Reading
Mortimer Adler literally wrote the book on reading. In his book, How to Read a Book, he identifies four levels of reading:

Elementary
Inspectional
Analytical
Syntopical
The goal of reading determines how you read.

**********************************************
Become a Demanding Reader
Reading is all about asking the right questions in the right order and seeking answers.

There are four main questions you need to ask of every book:

What is this book about?
What is being said in detail and how?
Is this book true in whole or in part?
What of it?
If all of this sounds like hard work, you’re right. Most people won’t do it. That’s what sets you apart.
advice  asking_the_right_questions  books  critical_thinking  effectiveness  efficiencies  GTD  hard_work  howto  metacognition  productivity  reading  smart_people 
may 2018 by jerryking
Why can’t we all be as productive as Picasso?
MARCH 28, 2018 | FT | Jo Ellison.

The year 1932 was a landmark moment for Picasso both personally and professionally. Having recently turned 50, the artist found himself feverishly experimenting with new styles and subjects as he reflected on his own contemporaneity and relevance. It was the year his marriage to Olga broke down, and the year in which a group of Paris dealers would mount his first ever retrospective.

Picasso’s “year of wonders” is obviously a cause for celebration — even if only for his astonishing output.
......As the New Yorker writer and critic Malcolm Gladwell so deftly pointed out in his 2008 book, Outliers, those who are blessed with the talent of a genius only become so after 10,000 hours of practice: the “magic number of greatness”. Debate has raged ever since as to the precise number at which the merely good become gifted, but Gladwell’s theory has always held a beguiling allure. If only I weren’t so appallingly lazy, I too might write a bestselling novel, or win a gold medal for figure skating, or fulfil my life-long dream of becoming a lead soprano in a West End musical. It’s always served as a peculiar comfort to know that the only obstacle to my success has been feckless indolence — and possibly the invention of the iPhone.

Which is why the Picasso exhibition was so grim. It wasn’t so much that he worked extremely hard to become the world’s most famous artist. Anyone could, technically, slave away in a studio for hours crafting their genius. It’s that he still found time to finesse such a gloriously well-rounded and fulsome life in the spaces he found in between.
Pablo_Picasso  Malcolm_Gladwell  artists  reflections  aging  genius  prolificacy  productivity  midlife  well-rounded  interstitial  personal_accomplishments 
april 2018 by jerryking
Like great coffee, good ideas take time to percolate
Tim Harford FEBRUARY 2, 2018.

why do some obviously good idea take so long to spread?

Even if you don’t much care about London’s coffee scene, this is an important question. William Gibson, science fiction author, observed that the future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed....Researchers at the OECD have concluded that within most sectors (for example, coal mining or food retail) there is a large and rising gap in productivity between the typical business and the 100 leading companies in the sector. The leading businesses are nearly 15 times more productive per worker, and almost five times more productive even after adjusting for their use of capital such as buildings, computers and machinery......If there were some way to help good ideas to spread more quickly, more people would have good coffee and much else besides....good ideas can be slow to spread, even when they are straightforward to grasp. In his classic textbook, The Diffusion of Innovations, Everett Rogers points out that many inventions have to cross a cultural divide: the person preaching the good idea is often quite different to the person being preached to. Rogers would probably not have been surprised to see that “not invented here” was a barrier to good practice.....good advice can work, but even good advice wears off. And we can all be resistant to new ideas. The status quo is comfortable, especially for the people who get to call the shots.....An extreme example of resistance to change lies behind the quip that “science advances one funeral at a time”, based on an observation from the physicist Max Planck. A team of economists has studied the evidence from data on academic citations, and found that Planck seems to have been right: the premature death of a star scientist opens up his or her field to productive contributions from outsiders in other domains. People can be so slow to change their minds that we literally have to wait for them to die.

There is an analogy in the marketplace: sometimes old businesses have to die before productivity improves, although that can mean desperate hardship for the workers involved...there is evidence that US industry is becoming less dynamic: there are fewer shocks, and companies respond less to them. The OECD research, too, suggests that the productivity laggards tend to be further behind in markets that are over-regulated or otherwise shielded from competition.

All too often, we don’t pick up good ideas willingly. We grasp for them, in desperation, only when we have no choice (for example, when were facing a crisis, man-made or natural).
ideas  science_fiction  virality  Tim_Harford  coffee  productivity  William_Gibson  ideaviruses  not-invented-here  status_quo  inventions  books  cultural_divides  crisis  desperation  barriers_to_adoption  customer_adoption 
february 2018 by jerryking
Do less this year but do it better
January 7, 2018 | FT| Andrew Hill.

Accumulating multiple commitments poses other risks, too. If you try to do more than one thing, you will not be as efficient as if you concentrated on a single task. A 2001 paper found that people toggling between tasks took longer to solve complex maths problems than those who concentrated on one job.....Doing less “comes with this harsh requirement that . . . you have to obsess [about what you choose to do],”.........people who pursued a strategy of “do less, then obsess” ranked 25 percentage points higher than those who did not embrace the practice. ....Beware the danger of collaborating too little — or too much.....Sometimes achieving more requires more than individual effort. Managers can play a role in helping thier employees exercise self-discipline. Too often, organizations measure success by volume of work done — the law firm’s billable hours, say — or try to match the size of a team to the perceived importance of the project. Sometimes, though, the best approach may be to simplify a process, cut the size of a team, or impose a new strategic focus. How can you and your team achieve more this year? Try taking something away: impose constraints.
self-discipline  constraints  teams  productivity  commitments  South_Pole  Antartica  resolutions  busyness  Roald_Amundsen  obsessions 
january 2018 by jerryking
Novartis’s new chief sets sights on ‘productivity revolution’
SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 | Financial Times | Sarah Neville and Ralph Atkins.

The incoming chief executive of Novartis, Vas Narasimhan, has vowed to slash drug development costs, eyeing savings of up to 25 per cent on multibillion-dollar clinical trials as part of a “productivity revolution” at the Swiss drugmaker.

The time and cost of taking a medicine from discovery to market has long been seen as the biggest drag on the pharmaceutical industry’s performance, with the process typically taking up to 14 years and costing at least $2.5bn.

In his first interview as CEO-designate, Dr Narasimhan says analysts have estimated between 10 and 25 per cent could be cut from the cost of trials if digital technology were used to carry them out more efficiently. The company has 200 drug development projects under way and is running 500 trials, so “that will have a big effect if we can do it at scale”.......Dr Narasimhan plans to partner with, or acquire, artificial intelligence and data analytics companies, to supplement Novartis’s strong but “scattered” data science capability.....“I really think of our future as a medicines and data science company, centred on innovation and access.”

He must now decide where Novartis has the capability “to really create unique value . . . and where is the adjacency too far?”.....Does he need the cash pile that would be generated by selling off these parts of the business to realise his big data vision? He says: “Right now, on data science, I feel like it’s much more about building a culture and a talent base . . . ...Novartis has “a huge database of prior clinical trials and we know exactly where we have been successful in terms of centres around the world recruiting certain types of patients, and we’re able to now use advanced analytics to help us better predict where to go . . . to find specific types of patients.

“We’re finding that we’re able to significantly reduce the amount of time that it takes to execute a clinical trial and that’s huge . . . You could take huge cost out.”...Dr Narasimhan cites one inspiration as a visit to Disney World with his young children where he saw how efficiently people were moved around the park, constantly monitored by “an army of [Massachusetts Institute of Technology-]trained data scientists”.
He has now harnessed similar technology to overhaul the way Novartis conducts its global drug trials. His clinical operations teams no longer rely on Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint slides, but instead “bring up a screen that has a predictive algorithm that in real time is recalculating what is the likelihood our trials enrol, what is the quality of our clinical trials”.

“For our industry I think this is pretty far ahead,” he adds.

More broadly, he is realistic about the likely attrition rate. “We will fail at many of these experiments, but if we hit on a couple of big ones that are transformative, I think you can see a step change in productivity.”
algorithms  analytics  artificial_intelligence  attrition_rates  CEOs  data_driven  data_scientists  drug_development  failure  Indian-Americans  multiple_targets  Novartis  pharmaceutical_industry  predictive_analytics  productivity  productivity_payoffs  product_development  real-time  scaling  spreadsheets 
november 2017 by jerryking
To-Do List Apps: 5 Easy Tricks for Using Them Better
Oct. 12, 2017 | WSJ | By Chris Kornelis.

Evernote, an organizational app includes a myriad to-do list capabilities and allows the dispensing with conventional written lists.

Best practices:

* Empty Your Human Brain Into Your Digital Brain
“Your brain did not evolve to remember, remind and prioritize beyond about four things,” “Your head is for having ideas but not for holding them. So get all the ideas out, not just part of them. Otherwise, you won’t trust your head and you won’t trust your list.”

The Things 3 app is uniquely set up in this regard: The app, a complete overhaul of which was released last spring, has an “Inbox” specifically designed for a brain dump.

Put any idea or task into the Inbox—or even direct Siri to put a thought in the Inbox—and leave the item there. When you’re ready to get organized, mouse-click each Inbox idea or task and drag it to the specific list where it belongs, or schedule a time to complete the task.

* Detail the Whole Task
“Most people’s to-do lists don’t work very well because they don’t specify an action to be taken for each item. Put actionable items into your app—input “Make a reservation at The Cheesecake Factory for Mom’s birthday,” rather than something that requires even 10 seconds of analysis, such as “Mom’s Birthday.”

Trello, an app that allows users to drag-and-drop digital cards onto various vertical boards, makes it easy to visualize every one of your to-dos at a glance and make sure each is actionable. But the onus is on you to do so.

* Write Down When and Where You’re Going to Complete the Task
E.J. Masicampo, co-author of a paper exuberantly titled “Consider It Done!: Plan Making Can Eliminate the Cognitive Effects of Unfulfilled Goals,” says one of the biggest to-do list mistakes people make is failing to commit to a time frame to accomplish each of the tasks on their lists. “If your strategy is to go to the list and pick something to do,” he said, “eventually your list becomes a graveyard of things that you never felt like doing.

* Embrace Anxiety and Satisfaction
Merely writing down a to-do task can give you a feeling of having made progress. But Mr. Masicampo cautions against letting that give you a false sense of completion. “There’s a balance,” he said. “You want to have some anxiety, otherwise you won’t work at all.” And, of course, it’s far more satisfying to cross a finished task off a list.

* It Could Come to This: Delete the App
Some people are not ready to give up paper, and that’s OK: “I know a bunch of tech people who are going back to paper because there are fewer clicks. It’s easy input and output. You don’t need to slow yourself down too much to use it. Tech sort of pretends that it’s going to speed things up, but it doesn’t.”
To-Do  lists  GTD  productivity  mobile_applications  tips  Evernote  Trello  Things_3  David_Allen 
october 2017 by jerryking
For workers, challenge is all to easily ducked
July 2017 | Financial Times | Tim Harford

Cal Newport: Deep Work
Robert Twiggs : Micromastery

The modern knowledge worker — a programmer, a lawyer, a newspaper columnist — might appear inoculated from Adam Smith’s concern. We face not monotony but the temptations of endless variety, with the entire internet just a click away. All too easily, we can be pulled into the cycle of what slot-machine designers call a “ludic loop”, repeating the same actions again and again. Check email. Check Facebook. Check Instagram. Check Twitter. Check email. Repeat....what is a ludic loop but “performing a few simple operations, of which the effects, too, are perhaps always the same”?

Smith was concerned about jobs that provided no mental challenge: if problems or surprises never arose, then a worker “has no occasion to exert his understanding, or to exercise his invention, in . . . removing difficulties which never occur.”

For the modern knowledge worker, the problem is not that the work lacks challenge, but that the challenge is easily ducked. This point is powerfully made by computer scientist Cal Newport in his book Deep Work. Work that matters is often difficult. It can be absorbing in mid-flow and satisfying in retrospect, but it is intimidating and headache-inducing and full of false starts.

[Responding to ] Email is easier. And reading Newport’s book I realised that email posed a double temptation: not only is it an instant release from a hard task, but it even seems like work. Being an email ninja looks professional and seems professional — but all too often, it is displacement activity for the work that really matters.

A curious echo of Smith’s warning comes in Robert Twigger’s new book Micromastery. Mr Twigger sings the praises of mastering one small skill at a time: not how to cook, but how to make the perfect omelette; not how to build a log cabin, but how to chop a log. We go deep — as Newport demands — but these sharp spikes of skill are satisfying, not too hard to acquire and a path to true expertise.

They also provide variety. “Simply growing up in the premodern period guaranteed a polymathic background,” writes Twigger. To prosper in the premodern era required many different skills; a smart person would be able to see a problem from many angles. A craft-based, practical upbringing means creative thinking comes naturally. “It is only as we surge towards greater specialisation and mechanisation that we begin to talk about creativity and innovation.”

Three lessons:
(1) learning matters. Smith wanted schooling for all; Twigger urges us to keep schooling ourselves. Both are right.
(2) serious work requires real effort, and it can be tempting to duck that effort. Having the freedom to avoid strenuous thinking is a privilege I am glad to have — but I am happier when I don’t abuse that freedom. [Mavity says: “If you need to produce an idea, isolating yourself can be enormously beneficial.”......“How you do that in a big open-plan office with 100 other people trying to be creative at the same time?.......Solitude is in hopelessly short supply at a time when companies are captivated by the financial allure of the open-plan office and its evil twin, hot-desking. ]
(3) old-fashioned craft offered us something special. To Smith it was the challenge that came from solving unpredictable problems. To Twigger it is the variety of having to do many small things well. To Newport, it is the flow that comes from deep immersion in a skill that requires mastery. Perhaps all three mean the same thing.

Smith realised that the coming industrial age threatened these special joys of work. The post-industrial age threatens them too, in a rather different way. ....“The understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments,” wrote Smith. So whether at work or at play, let us take care that we employ ourselves wisely.
Adam_Smith  books  busywork  Cal_Newport  distractions  expertise  GTD  hard_work  industrial_age  lessons_learned  polymaths  premodern  procrastination  productivity  skills  solitude  thinking_deliberatively  Tim_Harford 
august 2017 by jerryking
The Coming Productivity Boom: Transforming the Physical Economy with Information
March 2017 | Michael Mandel and Bret Swanson.

DIGITAL INDUSTRIES VERSUS PHYSICAL INDUSTRIES

Physical Industries
Where the main output of the industry is
predominantly provided in physical form
All other industries, including agriculture;
mining; construction; manufacturing
(except computers and electronics); transportation
and warehousing; wholesale and
retail trade*; real estate; education; healthcare;
accommodations and food services;
recreation.

Digital Industries
Where the main output of the industry
can be easily provided in digital form
Computer and electronics production;
publishing; movies, music, television, and
other entertainment; telecom; Internet
search and social media; professional
and technical services (legal, accounting,
computer programming, scientific research,
management consulting, design, advertising);
finance and insurance; management of
companies and enterprises; administrative
and support services
atoms_&_bits  booming  digital_artifacts  digital_economy  e-commerce  knowledge_economy  paradoxes  physical_economy  productivity  productivity_payoffs  value_migration 
august 2017 by jerryking
We are still waiting for the robot revolution
2017 | Financial Times | Tim Harford.

“Our chief economic problem right now isn’t that the robots are taking our jobs, it’s that the robots are slacking off. “

Or at least — it should. Our chief economic problem right now isn’t that the robots are taking our jobs, it’s that the robots are slacking off. We suffer from slow productivity growth; the symptoms are not lay-offs but slow-growing economies and stagnant wages. In advanced economies, total factor productivity growth — a measure of how efficiently labour and capital are being used to produce goods and services — was around 2 per cent a year in the 1960s, when the ATM was introduced. Since then, it has averaged closer to 1 per cent a year; since the financial crisis it has been closer to zero. Labour productivity, too, has been low.

Plenty of jobs, but lousy productivity: imagine an economy that was the exact opposite of one where the robots took over, and it would look very much like ours. Why? Tempting as it may be to blame the banks, a recent working paper by John Fernald, Robert Hall and others argues that productivity growth stalled before the financial crisis, not afterwards: the promised benefits of the IT revolution petered out by around 2006. Perhaps the technology just isn’t good enough; perhaps we haven’t figured out how to use it. In any case, results have been disappointing.

There is always room for the view that the productivity boom is imminent. Michael Mandel and Bret Swanson, business economists, argue in their policy paper that we are starting to find digitally driven efficiencies in physical industries such as energy, construction, transport, and retail. If this happens, Silicon Valley-style innovation will ripple through the physical economy. If.
Tim_Harford  artificial_intelligence  productivity  automation  economists  efficiencies  energy  construction  transportation  retailers  robotics  physical_economy  data_driven 
august 2017 by jerryking
Why Deep Work Matters in a Distracted World
Posted by Taylor Pipes on 23 Feb 2017

Work accomplished = (time spent) x (intensity)

How to create meaningful work
Deep work does not have to be tedious. In fact, it can be enjoyable, creative, meditative, and thought-provoking. Here are some tactics to integrate the principles of deep work into your schedule:

Work deeply. It takes great patience and practice to get to the point where you can integrate long stretches of deep work into your schedule. Newport created an equation to explain the intensity required of deep work and compared it to students who pulled all-nighters in college.
Work accomplished = (time spent) x (intensity)

Work at a high level with dynamic and intense intervals that increase over time to produce a desirable outcome. Get in the zone for at least 90 minutes and build up to periods that last anywhere from two to four hours, or more.

Protect your time. Maintain a set of rituals and routines to ease deep work into your day more easily. Try implementing scheduling tactics into your workflow like:
Tallies – Keep a tally of the hours you spend working, or when you reach important milestones like pages read or words written.

Deep scheduling – Try scheduling deep work hours well in advance on a calendar, like two or four weeks ahead of time.

Scheduling and tracking time has a huge benefit of giving time back. Many academics, authors, and scientists have been able to produce ample amount of work while working normal hours and having time for personal pursuits or family on evenings and weekends.

Train your brain to do nothing. Try for a moment, to sit still and do nothing. How long do you find it takes until the social stimuli and buzzing signals of your mobile device prove too much? If you can embrace sitting quietly meditating or thinking, or even staring into space, then you can train your brain to spend more time in deeper work.
Quit swimming upstream. Decide for yourself what restrictions you can place on email and social media by removing it from your work week altogether, or by logging out and staying off for an entire day. Evaluate your personal and professional life and experiment where social fits and where it doesn’t. Your result may be a month-long digital detox, or completely cutting the cord on social.
Cut the shallow work. Endless meeting requests and instant email responses are turning knowledge workers into ‘human routers’ that create the shallow work that defines many of workplaces. We’ve been groomed to reply and respond because it feels like we’re accomplishing something, when in reality, we’re not.
attention  attention_spans  Cal_Newport  distractions  focus  GTD  hard_work  personal_accomplishments  productivity  thinking_deliberatively 
july 2017 by jerryking
Throwing away an old rule
February 12th, 2013 | Getting Rick Slowly | by El Nerdo.

GRS rule #3 says, “Spend less than you earn.” But why should we continue to do that always? Because of tradition? Because of authority? Because that’s what everyone else claims they are doing? To the guillotine with the old rules, I say. It’s time for revolution!

It’s time to turn the old laws upside down. It’s time to say something better. It’s time to declare a new rule #3:

“Earn more than you spend!”

Putting earnings first

“Earn more than you spend” places the emphasis on the earning end of the formula. We want to get rich slowly, not live poor comfortably. And for this we need to make enough money so that our surpluses can actually get us rich.

PF articles of recent years have tended to treat income as a fixed quantity, touting savings as the great challenge ahead. I’d like to make a different call to arms.

When we put earnings first, we task our intelligence and imagination with finding ways to make more money, instead of asking them to figure out 101 ways to squeeze blood from a stone.

Please understand that I don’t equate “making more money” with “spending 14 hours at the cubicle every day of the week and never seeing the kids.” Money is an expression of economic value. If we can manage to increase the value of what we give to the world (products, services, labor), then we can increase our income without excessive toil, and we can find time for family, and friends, and vacation, and all the good things in life.
personal_finance  rules_of_the_game  inspiration  productivity  personal_enrichment 
july 2017 by jerryking
What the history of the electric dynamo teaches about the future of the computer.
JUNE 9 2007 6:18 AM
By Tim Harford

David's research also suggests patience. New technology takes time to have a big economic impact. More importantly, businesses and society itself have to adapt before that will happen. Such change is always difficult and, perhaps mercifully, slower than the march of technology.

More recent research from MIT's Erik Brynjolfsson has shown that the history of the dynamo is repeating itself: Companies do not do well if they spend a lot of money on IT projects unless they also radically reorganize to take advantage of the technology. The rewards of success are huge, but the chance of failure is high. That may explain why big IT projects so often fail, and why companies nevertheless keep trying to introduce them.

Brynjolfsson recently commented that the technology currently available is enough to fuel a couple of decades of organizational improvements.
technology  Alfred_Chandler  historians  IT  productivity  productivity_payoffs  Erik_Brynjolfsson  organizational_improvements  organizational_change  organizational_structure  Tim_Harford 
may 2017 by jerryking
Bank of Canada warns automation will lead to job losses - The Globe and Mail
ANDY BLATCHFORD
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, Apr. 18, 2017

In a speech in Toronto, senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins said Tuesday innovations like artificial intelligence and robotics are expected to help re-energize underwhelming productivity in advanced economies like Canada. Over the longer haul, she added that new technologies should eventually create more jobs than they replace.

However, the fast-approaching changes come with concerns for Wilkins – from the challenging adjustment for the labour force, to the distribution of the new wealth......“Innovation is always a process of creative destruction, with some jobs being destroyed and, over time, even more jobs being created,” said Wilkins, who added that what will change is the type of workers in demand.

“We’ve seen this process in action throughout history.”.......Wilkins said the Bank of Canada has also taken steps to help it deal with the fast-approaching changes. It has created a new digital economy team with a focus on how automation affects the economy as well as its impacts on inflation and monetary policy
Bank_of_Canada  automation  productivity  artificial_intelligence  technological_change  robotics  layoffs  inflation  monetary_policy  digital_economy  creative_destruction  innovation  job_creation  job_destruction  job_displacement  rapid_change 
april 2017 by jerryking
Marginal gains matter but gamechangers transform
25 March/26 March 2017 | FT | by Tim Harford.

In the hunt for productivity, the revolutionary long shot is worth the cost and risk.

.............................As Olympic athletes have shown, marginal improvements accumulated over time can deliver world-beating performance,” said Andrew Haldane in a speech on Monday, which is quite true. Mr Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist
........The marginal gains philosophy tries to turn innovation into a predictable process: tweak your activities, gather data, embrace what works and repeat.......As Mr Haldane says, marginal improvements can add up.

But can they add up to productivity gains for the economy as a whole? The question matters. There is no economic topic more important than productivity, which in the long run determines whether living standards surge or stagnate.
........
The idea that developed economies can A/B test their way back to brisk productivity growth is a seductive one.

An alternative view is that what’s really lacking is a different kind of innovation: the long shot. Unlike marginal gains, long shots usually fail, but can pay off spectacularly enough to overlook 100 failures.
.....
These two types of innovation complement each other. Long shot innovations open up new territories; marginal improvements colonise them. The 1870s saw revolutionary breakthroughs in electricity generation and distribution but the dynamo didn’t make much impact on productivity until the 1920s. To take advantage of electric motors, manufacturers needed to rework production lines, redesign factories and retrain workers. Without these marginal improvements the technological breakthrough was of little use.
....Yet two questions remain. One is why so many businesses lag far behind the frontier. .......The culprit may be a lack of competition: vigorous competition tends to raise management quality by spurring improvements and by punishing incompetents with bankruptcy. ....
But the second question is why productivity growth has been so disappointing. A/B testing has never been easier or more fashionable, after all. The obvious answer is that the long shots matter, too.
.....In a data-driven world, it’s easy to fall back on a strategy of looking for marginal gains alone, avoiding the risky, unquantifiable research (jk: leaps of faith). Over time, the marginal gains will surely materialise. I’m not so sure that the long shots will take care of themselves.
adaptability  breakthroughs  compounded  economics  game_changers  incrementalism  innovation  leaps_of_faith  marginal_improvements  moonshots  nudge  organizational_change  organizational_improvements  organizational_structure  productivity  productivity_payoffs  slight_edge  taxonomy  thinking_big  Tim_Harford 
march 2017 by jerryking
How to start a business on the cheap - The Globe and Mail
DOUG STEINER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, May 31, 2012

No money? Here's how you can start a business without any money.

1) Think about how to save somebody money. What do I pay for that you can teach me to do for less or for free? (e.g. helping someone renegotiate their mobile and cable bills).

2) Don't waste time. Don't watch TV or surf the Net until you've exhausted all the work that needs to done. Time wasted is money wasted. Keep a detailed log of what you do every hour of the day. Cut out wasted time and replace it with activities that will make you richer or smarter. Do you get up early? Do somebody's shopping for them at an all-night grocery store and charge them.

3) Trade skills. (e.g. If you cut hair for a living and need a website designed, find a web designer who needs haircuts).

4) Use online information aggregators to identify opportunities and customers. Online word of mouth is a great thing. You can be in Nelson, B.C., Yellowknife or in your underwear in your basement in Corner Brook and start a page on a social network or place a classified ad on Kijiji to explain what you can do.

Or identify something they aren't doing yet but might want to do as they expand their own businesses. Barbara Edwards was an assistant in a Toronto fine art gallery who began approaching respected local artists to represent them in a new gallery that she hadn't actually opened. After she got a small space, she wrote to the estate managers of several big-name deceased U.S. artists, asking if she could represent them in Canada. After meeting her, a couple

Ten years ago, I had lots of ideas and knew some stuff about business. I wrote several articles online for free and then sent them to editors at this paper. They gave me a try. Now I get paid to give advice.

Write me at dsteiner@globeandmail.com and tell me your no-money-to-success story. I'll convince my editor to let me write about you. He'll pay me and you'll get free publicity. You get it now? Once you start hustling using your brain, and see the fruits of your labour, you'll never stop.
self-discipline  productivity  howto  hustle  Doug_Steiner  bootstrapping  barter  proactivity  eat_what_you_kill  GTD  charge_for_something  side_hustles 
march 2017 by jerryking
Empty talk on innovation is killing Canada’s economic prosperity
Mar. 19, 2017 | Globe & Mail | by JIM BALSILLIE.

Immigration, traditional infrastructure such as roads and bridges, tax policy, stable banking regulation and traditional trade agreements are all 19th- and 20th-century economic levers that advance Canada’s traditional industries, but they have little impact on 21st-century productivity.

The outdated economic orthodoxy behind our discourse on innovation is causing the steady erosion of our national prosperity.

Over the past 30 years, commercialization of intellectual property (IP) became the primary driver of new wealth. The structure of the 21st-century company shifted and IP became the most valuable corporate asset. IP is an intangible good that requires policy infrastructure that’s completely different than the infrastructure required to get traditional tangible goods to market. IP relies on a tightly designed ecosystem of highly technical interlocking policies focused on scaling companies, which are “agents” of innovation outputs.....Canada doesn’t have valuable IP to sell to the world so we continue exporting low-margin resource and agricultural goods while importing high-margin IP. If our leaders want to create sustainable economic growth, Canada’s growth strategy must focus on creating high-margin IP-based exports that the world wants and must pay for.........IP ownership is the competitive driver in the new global economy, not exchange rates that adjust production costs. That’s why despite the strong U.S. dollar, U.S. company valuations and exports are soaring – IP-intensive industries added $6.6-trillion (U.S.) to the U.S. economy in 2014. So what is Canada’s strategy to increase our ownership of valuable IP assets and commercialize them globally? Supply chains in the innovation economy are different than in traditional economies because IP operates on a winner-take-all economic principle with zero marginal production costs. IP is traded differently than tangible goods because IP moves across borders on the principle of restriction, not free trade. Trade liberalization increases competition and reduces prices, but increased IP protection does the exact opposite. The economy for intangible goods is fundamentally different than the one for tangible goods. Productivity in the global innovation economy is driven by new ideas that generate new revenue for new markets. What Canada needs is a strategy to turn its new ideas into new revenue.....The Growth Council missed our overriding priority for growth: a national strategy to generate IP that Canadian companies can commercialize to scale globally.

We urgently need sophisticated strategies to drive the commercialization of Canadian ideas through our most innovative companies.
innovation  Jim_Balsillie  happy_talk  intellectual_property  scaling  tax_codes  winner-take-all  productivity  intangibles  digital_economy  ideas  self-deception  patents  commercialization  national_strategies  global_economy  property_rights  protocols  borderless 
march 2017 by jerryking
Dumping a Bad App? Tips for a Painless Breakup - The New York Times
By BRIAN X. CHEN JAN. 25, 2017.

When to Call It Quits

No app is perfect, but you have to draw the line somewhere. The problem is, you may be in such a rut that you can’t recognize the warning signs.

(1) An obvious one is when an app stops working reliably in a way that affects your life.
(2) dump an app when it has stopped improving.
(3) when you have nobody to talk to... . If an app’s audience is a ghost town — like Yahoo’s photo-sharing app, Flickr, which sank in popularity after mobile photo-sharing services like Instagram emerged — then it’s probably time to leave.

Getting Out

The hardest part of breaking up with an app is moving your data. So as a rule of thumb, save a backup copy of your data so that you can export it into a new app. Then carefully search for a better app to suit your needs.

As a safety measure before changing apps, you should always keep extra copies of your data somewhere, whether it be in the cloud with a service like Dropbox or on a physical hard drive. When companies don’t provide convenient tools to export your data, look elsewhere by doing a quick web search for solutions. There are plenty of people in the same boat as you, and chances are they have written scripts, or lightweight programs, to automatically pull out your data for you.

If there is no convenient way to export your data, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to just take out what is most important to you. Perhaps you don’t need five-year-old notes from Evernote anymore, so you could just manually paste your latest memos and get a fresh start with a different app.

Finding a New App

On the bright side, you can learn a lot from a tough breakup with an app — which can be especially useful when looking for a replacement.

The biggest lessons: Pick a tool that supports a wide array of formats instead of proprietary ones. And before you commit to a new app, make sure it is as easy to get out as it is to get in.

Fantastical 2 for iPhone

The fast and friendly calendar and reminders app, packed full of features to make you even more productive.
mobile_applications  exits  howto  productivity  warning_signs  breakups 
february 2017 by jerryking
Beware of linearity: The shortest distance to your future may not be a straight line - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Dec. 09, 2016

linearity – dominates our thinking as we tackle problems. “Western thinkers are so habituated to thinking in terms of linear models that we allow them to inform not just what we think, but the fundamentals of how we think....Linearity is a critical and – apparently – inherent part of our cultural DNA....It’s not easy to forsake linearity...it’s essential to guard against slavishly following its tantalizing direction. Start by reading trade journals from another industry or studying a topic you have no interest in. Look for the less obvious interconnections around you. Think like a songwriter: Choruses and bridges signal a break with the preceding verse or the patterns that come before. But a true bridge, unlike a chorus, never repeats. They urge you to look for bridge moments rather than assume past is prologue.
=========================
Leaders are supposed to tell people the truth rather than what they want to hear. But fact checkers found Mr. Trump consistently at odds with the truth. And his supporters didn’t seem to care, assuming leaders lie anyway. TV host Stephen Colbert used the term “truthiness” to cover believing something that feels true even if it isn’t supported by fact. Says Fowler: “I wonder if truth-telling matters when people are interested in bigger issues?”
=========================
One of the highly touted productivity approaches is to tackle your most important thing (MIT) at the start of the day. Get it done before the chaos of the day overwhelms you.

But productivity writer Cal Newport, a Georgetown University computer science professor, feels the approach is insufficient – calling it “amateur ball” while the professionals play a more textured game.

The problem is that it implicitly concedes that most of your day is out of your control. But someone who plans every minute of their day and every day of their week will inevitably accomplish far more high-value work than someone who identifies only a single daily objective. The key, he feels, is to put enough buffers in your day to handle the unplanned stuff that hits you. With those slices of times and a spirit of adaptability you will find your work life not as unpredictable as you assume.
early_risers  linearity  Harvey_Schachter  thinking  humility  Donald_Trump  unplanned  unforeseen  buffering  GTD  productivity  discontinuities  nonlinear_systems  randomness  interconnections  Jim_Collins  truthiness  truth-telling  slack_time  adaptability  overwhelmed  time-management  unexpected  Cal_Newport  straight-lines  bridging  non-obvious 
december 2016 by jerryking
Why this economist thinks government intervention is a good thing - The Globe and Mail
PAUL WALDIE
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Nov. 28, 2016

Many governments are moving away from austerity and toward stimulating economic growth by spending on infrastructure projects. Is that the right approach?

This is not about the panacea of infrastructure. It’s ridiculous if you think about it. All these smart, smart people in the IMF—once they finally admit that austerity was shit and it was very damaging, what’s their solution? Infrastructure. (3) These people have PhDs. Can they not come up with something more interesting than spend a bunch on bridges and roads?

What do you think about Brexit?

A massive, massive disaster. I just can’t believe that the people who engineered it haven’t been put in prison. It’s so obvious now that they were lying. Think of it: If Coca-Cola lied with advertising campaigns like that, they’d be in prison. All these civil servants are going to be spending decades unravelling something that was not the problem. The real problem in the U.K. is low productivity, very high inequality and a lack of serious planning around industrial and innovation policy. That had nothing to do with Europe. Brexit is just going to take away huge amounts of government resources that could have been spent thinking about what it really means to increase productivity. As well, it just really makes things complicated.
Paul_Waldie  economists  Brexit  industrial_policies  innovation_policies  innovation  iPhone  Mariana_Mazzucato  infrastructure  austerity  government_intervention  PhDs  IMF  productivity  income_inequality 
december 2016 by jerryking
Silicon Valley Has an Empathy Vacuum - The New Yorker
By Om Malik , NOVEMBER 28, 2016

Whether self-driving cars and trucks, drones, privatization of civic services like transportation, or dynamic pricing, all these developments embrace automation and efficiency, and abhor friction and waste. As Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, told MIT Technology Review, “Productivity is at record levels, innovation has never been faster, and yet at the same time, we have a falling median income and we have fewer jobs. People are falling behind because technology is advancing so fast and our skills and organizations aren’t keeping up.” It is, he said, “the great paradox of our era.”
empathy  technology  Silicon_Valley  Donald_Trump  Campaign_2016  efficiencies  empathy_vacuum  automation  Om_Malik  Erik_Brynjolfsson  productivity  paradoxes 
december 2016 by jerryking
Overcoming the three objections to hiring you - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Sep. 02, 2016
there are three reasons an employer won’t hire you: pay, experience, and fit.
The method is simple, shared by James Clear recently on his blog:

1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write more than six tasks.

2. Prioritize those six items in order of importance.

3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second.

4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.

5. Repeat this process every working day.

Mr. Clear says the Ivy Lea method is effective because it’s simple, it forces you to make tough decisions about priorities, it removes the friction of getting started by dictating what you should be doing, and forces you to ‘single task’ rather than multitask. “Do the most important thing first every day. It’s the only productivity trick you need,” he concludes.
hard_choices  Harvey_Schachter  productivity  GTD  hiring  priorities  monotasking  think_threes 
september 2016 by jerryking
Want to save time? Write longer e-mails - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jun. 03, 2016

nstead of just suggesting getting together – or responding to such a suggestion with “sure” – come up with a process that gets you and your correspondent to that goal while keeping messages to the minimum. Also, explain what you are doing, so the recipient understands.

So if a request comes in, he says, the reply should go something along these lines:

I propose we meet at the Starbucks on campus. Below I have listed four dates and times over the next two weeks. If any of these work for you, let me know and I will consider your reply confirmation that the meeting is set. If none of these times work, then call me or text me on my cell (<number>) Tuesday or Thursday from 12:30 to 1:30, when I’m sure to be around, and we’ll find something that works.
e-mail  productivity  Harvey_Schachter  time-management 
june 2016 by jerryking
How to Scale Yourself and Get More Done Than You Thought Possible
Understand Effectiveness Versus Efficiency

"Effectiveness is goal orientation. This is picking something to do. This is doing right things—picking a goal and doing that goal," Hanselman says. "Efficiency is doing things in an economical way, process-oriented.

"So phrased differently: Effectiveness is doing the right things, but efficiency is doing things right. That means effectiveness is picking a direction and efficiency is running really fast in that direction," he says.

"Effectiveness is doing the right things, but efficiency is doing things right."- Scott Hanselman

"When you realize those two things are different, it becomes an extremely powerful tool that you can use."
advice  productivity  effectiveness  GTD  efficiencies  goal-orientation  howto  process-orientation  scaling 
march 2016 by jerryking
Too much stuff, with no one to buy it: Is this the future economy? - The Globe and Mail
Scott Barlow
Too much stuff, with no one to buy it: Is this the future economy?
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Feb. 02, 2016

University of California professor Brad DeLong’s “Economics and the Age of Abundance” highlighted the new economic study of global production growth – a new-ish school of thought that attributes much of the economic malaise in the developed world to a technology-driven “too much of everything.....The economic challenges of abundance, however, go far beyond commodities. There’s too many mutual funds, television channels, cereal brands, auto companies (China hasn’t even started exporting cars and trucks yet), land-line telephones, clothing brands, taxis, department stores and, if we’re being honest, journalism. Technology and its ability to increase productivity are to blame for virtually any major market sector beset with poor profit margins and layoffs. ....... The larger problem, and I suspect Mr. DeLong would agree, is that technology increases efficiencies and reduces the need for labour. A dystopian future in which anything can be produced quickly and cheaply, except everyone’s unemployed with no money to spend, is easy to envisage without considerable structural change in the economy.

Unemployment is the most severe outgrowth of abundance and low profitability ....... ......
abundance  economics  economists  Colleges_&_Universities  structural_change  developed_countries  dystopian_future  oversupply  technology  commodities  over_investment  scarcity  innovation  China  productivity  deflation  manufacturers  outsourcing  unemployment  job_destruction  job_displacement  downward_mobility  hollowing_out  books  developing_countries 
february 2016 by jerryking
Jeffrey Simpson: Slow growth now, no growth later - The Globe and Mail
JEFFREY SIMPSON
Slow growth now, no growth later
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jan. 13,2016

The population is aging. Commodity prices are low. Oil and natural gas prices are hitting rock-bottom. The Canadian dollar has plummeted. Most governments are in deficit, or heading into deficit (read Ottawa). Innovation and the commercialization of research lag that of other countries. Productivity, the country’s long-term bugbear, remains sluggish....all the green traffic signals have turned to yellow or red. Yet this slow-growth economy, which might persist for a long time, is wrapped in a political culture that seems to favour slow or no growth, or seems to think that government infrastructure programs, useful in themselves, will solve the long-run problems.....Everywhere, projects are blocked or delayed, because environmentalists, aboriginal people, non-governmental organizations or even provincial governments oppose them....Many of these blocked or delayed projects with large-scale economic spinoffs are natural resource projects, which the federal government says might be saved with more “robust” oversight. The government is kidding itself in this belief, since the opponents don’t care what the regulatory process is. They oppose development pure, simple and always.

Far beyond natural resource constipation, the contradiction arises between slow growth and the huge desire of citizens for more government services, without higher taxes. Of special concern is Canada’s persistent low productivity, to which no easy answer exists, except that a slow-growth mentality doesn’t help.

...Don Drummond, working with Evan Capeluck, recently explained the challenge in a paper for the Centre for the Study of Living Standards, which looked at productivity trends in all provinces. Projecting these trends forward, they said most provinces and territories will not be able to balance revenue growth with new spending demands (especially for health care) without higher taxes or spending cuts.

Put another way, unless long-term growth can be improved – a trend that will require productivity improvements – Canada is heading for a poorer future with fewer programs and/or higher taxes.
growth  Jeffrey_Simpson  economic_downturn  anti-development  natural_resources  economic_stagnation  megaprojects  productivity  Don_Drummond  slow_growth  low_growth  weak_dollar  signals 
january 2016 by jerryking
Successful people act quickly when things go wrong - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Aug. 02, 2015

Productivity

Pivot quickly to maximize success
Airplanes are off course 90 per cent of the time but incessantly correct their direction, . Similarly, successful people correct their course quickly when off-kilter. They also set short timelines, have small daily to-do lists and drop stuff that isn’t working. Lifehack.org

Branding

Learn from but don’t live in the past
It’s great to know your company history but senseless to live in the past,Your company’s history is valuable only if customers and prospective clients believe it defines your brand and success, and differentiates you from competitors. If it doesn’t, build a new history.

Leadership

Pre-empt attacks with regular audits
To pre-empt an activist investor’s attack, eliminate financial and operational underperformance. Conduct regular vulnerability audits, looking at factors such as how earnings per share, profit and price-to-earnings ratios in the past 18 months compare with peers. If necessary, create an aggressive turnaround plan. ChiefExecutive.net

Human resources

Ask potential hires where they’ll go next
It sounds weird, but LinkedIn asks potential employees what job they want to have next after they leave the company. Founder Reid Hoffman says it signals the intent to have a huge impact on the individual’s career, helping to develop them for whatever they choose, and invites honesty. Vox.com

Tech tip

Use phone’s camera as portable copier
Productivity blogger Mark Shead recommends using your phone’s camera as a portable copy machine/scanner when on the road, photographing paperwork, train schedules or other information. Many new camera phones have the resolution to provide readable copies. Productivity 501.com
branding  productivity  human_resources  leadership  Harvey_Schachter  character_traits  habits  pre-emption  course_correction  Reid_Hoffman  career_paths  beforemath  overachievers  affirmations  pivots  audits  signals  vulnerabilities  hiring  interviews  high-achieving 
august 2015 by jerryking
Eleven things ultra-productive people do differently - The Globe and Mail
Jul. 31, 2015 | Entrepreneur.com | TRAVIS BRADBERRY.

1. They Never Touch Things Twice
2. They Get Ready for Tomorrow. Before they leave the office, productive people end each day by preparing for the next. It only takes a few minutes and it’s a great way to end your workday.
3. They Eat Frogs “Eating a frog” is the best antidote for procrastination, and ultra-productive people start each morning with this tasty treat. In other words, they do the least appetizing, most dreaded item on their to-do list before they do anything else. After that, they’re freed up to tackle the stuff that excites and inspires them.
4. They Fight The Tyranny Of The Urgent
5. They Stick to the Schedule During Meetings
6. They Say No. [jk...be conservative, be discerning, be picky, be selective, say "no"]
7. They Only Check E-mail At Designated Times.
8. They Don’t Multitask!
9. They Go off The Grid. This strategy is a bulletproof way to complete high-priority projects.
10. They Delegate
11. They Put Technology to Work for Them Investigate apps like IFTTT, which sets up contingencies on your smart phone and alerts you when something important happens.
productivity  GTD  habits  mobile_applications  delegation  discipline  preparation  multitasking  technology  off-grid  focus  say_"no"  monotasking  lists  affirmations 
august 2015 by jerryking
Hasta la vista, employment - The Globe and Mail
DOUG SAUNDERS
The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, May. 02 2015

Next week, right on time, will see the publication of Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, by the Silicon Valley software guru Martin Ford. It doesn’t mention Mr. Rifkin, but it argues that new, even smarter technology is now impinging on the medical and educational work forces.

Our era “will be defined by a fundamental shift in the relationship between workers and machines,” Mr. Ford writes. “That shift will ultimately challenge one of our most basic assumptions about technology: That machines are tools that increase the productivity of workers. Instead, machines themselves are turning into workers, and the line between the capability of labour and capital is blurring as never before.” As a result, he concludes in a déjà vu-inducing passage, “the virtuous feedback loop between productivity, rising wages and increasing consumer spending will collapse.”
Doug_Saunders  unemployment  middle_class  productivity  consumer_spending  books  joblessness  automation  robotics  artificial_intelligence 
may 2015 by jerryking
After Data Breaches, Attackers Return for More - The CIO Report - WSJ
April 22, 2015| WSJ | By RACHAEL KING.

Companies often talk about data breaches as if they were discrete events. But, the reality is that once a company is breached and the attackers have been booted off the corporate network, they keep coming back...Attackers typically know what they want from companies, whether that’s credit card data, intellectual property or something else. And if they don’t get it the first time, they come to work the next day and try again, said Mr. Alperovitch.

“They’ve got objectives and goals and they get measured on things, whether it’s a nation-state or a criminal, said Todd Inskeep, global security assessments vice president at Samsung.
CIOs  data_breaches  cyber_security  productivity  measurements  malware 
april 2015 by jerryking
Economic stagnation is here to stay - The Globe and Mail
LAWRENCE MARTIN
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Apr. 14 2015

The bleak economic predicament hasn’t received much attention. Seems we’re living under an illusion that we’re doing reasonably well, the reason being that until the recent oil price plunge the Conservatives pushed out a lot of feel-good messaging about Canada faring better in the wake of the global financial crisis than other major economies. But doing better than some rivals doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing well yourself.

Over and above the energy price fall, experts cite a range of causes for the inertia. A major one is productivity. “On that, we’re doing terribly relative to our own historic rate,” said economist Don Drummond, “and we’re doing terrible relative to the rate of almost every developed country.”

Our business class, he added, is neither aggressive nor entrepreneurial, consumer demand is inhibited by high household debt and we have an aging labour force that is only going to grow at about 1 per cent a year. The small increase will come from immigrants, who make lower wages.

“I don’t look for growth to be above 2 per cent on an average basis, I’d say, for the next 10 years,” Mr. Drummond said.
economics  Lawrence_Martin  economic_stagnation  slow_growth  Don_Drummond  productivity  economists  Christopher_Ragan  the_Great_Decoupling 
april 2015 by jerryking
How to De-Clutter Your Magazine Pile - WSJ
By SUE SHELLENBARGER
Updated March 10, 2015.

Consciously filter your reading load, limiting your Facebook visits for industry news to once a week. When I travels, practice ignoring the Wi-Fi on planes and immerses myself in reading. I can also consumes more news and books in audio form, listening in subways or cabs or while walking....Other timesavers include reading synopses of books, rather than the whole thing. Executive book summaries can be found at Summary.com. Another site, NextIssue.com, offers access to 140 magazines via a single subscription.
reading  GTD  productivity  scanning  digital_life  Sue_Shellenbarger  mobile_applications  information_overload  decluttering  Evernote  digitalization 
march 2015 by jerryking
Seven ways to be a better mentor - The Globe and Mail
BHAVIN PARIKH
Young Entrepreneur Council
Published Wednesday, Feb. 25 2015
mentoring  productivity 
february 2015 by jerryking
A billionaire’s guide to productivity - The Globe and Mail
FRED MOUAWAD
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Feb. 11 2015

1. Prioritize. Rank the level of importance of family, me time, and work. Think about the areas of life that need nurturing in order to feel more fulfilled. It is essential to strike a balance to lead both a happy and productive life.

2. Allocate time to maximize impact (leverage or return on effort). Forewarned is forearmed. Plan ahead how you will use your time – after all, knowing your schedule is half the battle.

3. Know your natural penchants. If you find that the time spent on these activities does not give you a high level of return, consider allocating your time more thoughtfully.

4. Reduce uncertainty, increase accountability. A lack of clarity is productivity’s greatest enemy.

5. Know when to be a lone wolf. It is important to know your strengths. What tasks are you better off performing on your own? What tasks can you delegate?

6. Establish a nurturing culture. Productivity is easier to achieve in the right environment.

7. Measurement gets results-- measure performance to make continuous improvements. But make sure that you measuring the right things.
time-management  time-allocation  return_on_effort  productivity  GTD  JCK  priorities  strengths  self-discipline  business_planning  reflections  work_life_balance  uncertainty  clarity  affirmations  self-awareness  ksfs  preparation  penchants  predilections  measurements  proclivities  willpower  high-impact 
february 2015 by jerryking
The best Pinboard app for iOS - The Sweet Setup
BY CHRIS GONZALES
After buying and testing far more Pinboard apps than any sane person should, I’ve concluded that Pinner is the best of the bunch. But believe me, it’s a close call these days.

Update December 30, 2014:
Pinboard  mobile_applications  productivity  iOS  iPhone 
february 2015 by jerryking
Author Helen Humphreys on why she wrote her new book, the best advice she’s received and more - The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Feb. 06 2015,

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Notice where you are and what it has to offer. Don’t force an agenda on people or places, but rather let yourself be open and receptive to what is already there. Also, to always do the important tasks of the day first thing in the morning, because a day will always get away from you. Both of these tips are good advice for life and writing equally.
writers  advice  GTD  tips  productivity  first90days  agendas 
february 2015 by jerryking
Seven habits that are sabotaging your productivity - The Globe and Mail
JOHN MEYER
Entrepreneur.com
Published Saturday, Jan. 31 2015

Here are seven habits you might want to skip:

1. Touching e-mails more than once.

2. Meeting just to meet. How many meetings do you attend in a week? Many companies will have staffers meet to meet because that's the way they have always gone about things. It's habitual and part of the weekly routine. Meetings are meant to solve problems.

3. Meeting without an agenda. Avoid meetings without a goal. Meetings are meant to solve problems and instigate action. When you're ready to meet, think about the ultimate goal you're hoping to achieve. With planning, direction and an established game plan, you'll be able to have a focused and productive meeting.

4. Repeating mistakes. You will at some point make a mistake. So get it out of your head that you can avoid errors. Making mistakes is part of being an entrepreneur. The bad habit is making the same mistake twice.

5. Using a phone as an alarm. Stop this habit now.

6. Allowing app notifications. Can you imagine what you could achieve in 60 minutes of uninterrupted time?

7. Being a chameleon. You're willing to be everything to everyone and adapt to please.

There's always room for improvement. Don't stop innovating and improving. It's the journey, not the destination. Stay hungry and always want to improve.
e-mail  habits  meetings  productivity  self-sabotage 
february 2015 by jerryking
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