Here’s some Monday inspiration from the story of Mark Lesek and his project to make a better, more affordable prosthetic arm to improve the lives of amputees. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a bike or an arm or a life. If you can take it apart, if you can understand it, you can make it better.”
Here's how to hack your happiness and productivity to get more done and enjoy it.
Arianna Huffington’s pro tip for productivity and happiness: get more sleep!
James Chin is a professional poker player living in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas.
As a professional poker player, creating and maintaining flow is of great importance. It’s often the difference between a winning hand and losing your shirt.
What is flow? To me, it’s the feeling of being perfectly adapted to my environment. My working environment is the poker table. Here’s how I do it.
Work is what we do by the hour. It begins and, if possible, we do it for money. Welding car bodies on an assembly line is work; washing dishes, computing taxes, walking the rounds in a psychiatric ward, picking asparagus—these are work. Labor, on the other hand, sets its own pace. We may get paid for it, but it’s harder to quantify… Writing a poem, raising a child, developing a new calculus, resolving a neurosis, invention in all forms — these are labors.
Work is an intended activity that is accomplished through the will. A labor can be intended but only to the extent of doing the groundwork, or of not doing things that would clearly prevent the labor. Beyond that, labor has its own schedule.
There is no technology, no time-saving device that can alter the rhythms of creative labor. When the worth of labor is expressed in terms of exchange value, therefore, creativity is automatically devalued every time there is an advance in the technology of work.
Lewis Hyde, The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World (via @the99percent)
You can’t measure creative labor. (But we’ll help you record it!)
“Getting up every morning and looking into the mirror, asking myself: ‘Do I like what I am doing?” After every full day, I do the same in the evening. Whilst I write my next day’s to do list, I reflect on my achievements. And by doing this, I also try to listen as good as I can how much fun and fulfillment I have gotten. If there are too many days in a row that I can’t answer with a loud ‘Yes’, something is up – I am not happy. And I aim to change things around sharply. Very sharply sometimes.”
– Steve Jobs
(Thanks to our blog reader, M. Kelley, who shared this excellent quote with us!)
In elementary school, I never showed my work on homework. I tried to impress the teacher by going straight to the right answer. On occasion — it’s embarrassing — I’d even erase my work and write the answer on top.
John Lennon’s to-do list varied from meeting guys with HBO, to buying marmalade, to errands around the house.
Even rockstars get stuff done! We wonder how he recorded his accomplishments.
Try small, sustainable changes for 30 days to make new habits stick. What do you want to accomplish in the next 30 days?
We probably didn’t need scientists to actually come up with a figure (80% failure rate!) to know that New Year’s resolutions don’t stick around. The key to change is not making some grand declaration of an ideal, that this is the year you’re going to lose x number of pounds, stop procrastinating, find Princess Charming, or any of these popular resolutions. Resolutions are often too abstract or unrealistic that they’re almost easy to ignore.
Instead, build a habit! Forming habits slowly can be much more effective. You can start with baby steps, like drinking water instead of soda, attaining small successes and rewards that will build up until voila, habit! The conscious creation of a habit also allows you to experiment to see what works best for you without feeling like you’ve failed the overall intention of, say, daily exercise if you find that running that extra quarter mile just isn’t for you.