A Scientific Guide to Summoning Your Creative Juices

Does this happen to you?

It’s Friday, and you’re sitting in an all-hands-on-deck staff meeting. The boss needs creative ideas for next quarter.
“Concentrate!” you’re told. “Be creative!”

You concentrate with all your might, but you’ve got nothing.

The next day, you’re outside cutting the grass. There’s the steady hum of the lawn mower and the rhythmic predictability of the mowing pattern. Your mind slows down. Wanders. Drifts off. But suddenly . . . light bulb.

Some creative idea nearly knocks you over. It’s brilliant. Where was that kind of thinking when you needed it in yesterday’s meeting?

The answer has to do with our creative juices and the science behind them. And although “creative juices” isn’t exactly a scientific term, there’s plenty of science behind what we understand to be creative juices.

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Unlock Intrinsic Motivation to Inspire Your Salespeople

motivation at work
Featured image of the "intrinsic motivation" blog

If your best tried-and-true motivational techniques don’t seem to be working on the otherwise talented members of your sales team, you might want to try appealing to their intrinsic motivations.

According to a recent survey, 95% of managers think money is the most motivating factor for employees. In fact, an adjacent survey of 12,000 employees found that emotional rewards led to greater performance.

Not every salesperson is motivated by promotions and money, and using the same old motivations may unexpectedly fail. That doesn’t mean it’s time to look for a new hire — it means you’ll have to break out a different tool from your managerial toolbox.

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Asynchronous Communication Is The Future Of Work

Asynchronous Communication Telephone exchange Montreal

Whether you fear its impersonal nature or thinks its the best thing since streaming television, asynchronous communication is here to stay

Remote work is rising and online education is becoming more accepted and commonplace, both due to changing attitudes and the pandemic. These factors are only going to increase the use of asynchronous communication to keep business, schools, and other organizations running smoothly when they no longer share the same space 100% of the time

But what is asynchronous communication, and is it really better than synchronous communication?

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How To Solve The 8 Causes Of Workplace Conflict

Workplace Conflict Cover
The workplace is for work. You’re here to get things done, grow the business, improve the world and get better at whatever it is that you do.

It’s not a place for squabbling with coworkers, managers and subordinates. But that’s what seems to happen. Workplace conflict is everywhere, eating up productivity and taking precious time away from the things that really matter.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The causes of workplace conflict are recognizable. In separate articles on workplace conflict, psychologists Art Bell and Brett Hart identified eight common causes of conflict in the workplace. Think about the conflicts you’ve had in the workplace. You’d be hard-pressed to find on you can’t trace back to one of these root causes.
It’s important to see workplace conflict this way, as a symptom of a great structural problem.

That argument with the boss over coming in on Saturday isn’t really about coming in on Saturday. It’s about the misaligned expectations, structural problems, and poor communication that led you to have to come in on Saturday. In other words, the problem is bigger than the problem.

At best, it’s a symptom of a greater failure.

Thankfully, smart and innovative companies are changing the way we work — and eradicating the causes of workplace conflict at the source. Here’s a look at the eight causes and what great companies are doing about them.

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The 38 Best Productivity Software Tools of 2019


Productivity apps continue to pop up right, left, and center. If you’re trying to stay up-to-date, it can quickly begin to feel like you’re wasting time looking for the perfect software rather than actually working efficiently. At I Done This, we continue to improve our done lists and integrations to eliminate the need for meetings — but we realize that there are many more ways that you and your team can get more done in less time.

To spare you hours of Internet sifting, we’ve updated our collection of the 35 best productivity software tools for the New Year.

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Quiz: What Productivity Personality Are You? How to Maximize Your Productivity in 2019

A habit is something you’ve learned, through repetition, to do without thinking. You know your personal habits—whether you do the dishes right away, or if you throw your clothes on the floor—but you aren’t always the same person at home and at work.

productivity quiz

We put together this Productivity Quiz to help you identify what your work habits are. At the end of the quiz, you’ll see your Productivity Personality, which gives you personalized tips on how to be more productive by capitalizing on your good habits and eliminating your bad ones. Simply tally up the number of As, Bs, Cs, and Ds you answer and we’ll decipher your productivity paragon.

Whether you schedule every minute or go with the flow, you’ll leave with actionable feedback on how to make the most of your workday.

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The Science of Stress Management: Your Brain on Cortisol

This post was originally published in 2017, and we’ve since updated it with new research and examples. 

You’re swamped with a huge project when your boss suddenly asks you to complete another urgent assignment that’s due tomorrow. Your heart’s beating a mile a minute, and you’re wondering how you’re going to get this all done. But, somehow, you’re going to try to make it work.

Too much stress will overwhelm you, but too little stress leaves you bored and unmotivated. The right amount of stress motivates you to succeed instead of making you crack under pressure.

Your tendency to thrive or choke under pressure is ultimately based on the Yerkes-Dodson Law: Moderate stress up to a certain point can actually improve your performance. But beyond that point, your performance suffers.

Stress management is built into your brain’s chemistry. Here’s the science behind your body’s stress levels, so you can maximize your productivity.

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16 of the Best Task Management Tools for Getting More Done

We’ve all got things to do. Tasks are a part of life — both at work and at home — and while to-do lists and day planners may work for some of us, they’re not a good fit for everyone, especially when it comes to managing tasks as part of a team.

Task management tools are everywhere these days, and they can be as simple as a pencil and notebook or as advanced as downloadable apps and project management software. There’s no shortage of options available to help you and your team work more efficiently and get more done, but the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming.

To make things simple, check out our top picks to find the productivity tool that’s the right fit for you as well as one that’ll help your team work together successfully.

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25 Jason Fried Quotes That Will Make You More Productive

There’s a lot of people out there trying to sell you simple solutions to productivity, as well as their advice, usually involving their latest book, podcast, or video series. They might not be millionaires, but they’ve found the secret to making millions — order now!

Jason Fried, CEO of Basecamp — a company that makes project management and communication software — is different. Fried is honest about what it takes to get work done and keep your sanity while doing it. He’s the author of several books, including It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work; Rework; and Remote: Office Not Required.

Fried has earned the trust of many because of his straightforward takes on productivity and the unhealthy sacrifices some people make in an attempt to get more done. If you want to work smarter, not harder, listen to Jason Fried.

Here are 25 of his best quotes on productivity, focus, and decision-making.


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How Distractions Ruin The Most Important Thing You Can Be Doing At Work


Editor’s note: This post was first published in 2015. We’ve updated this post with new research and additional tips.

We live in the most distracting time in history. When else did people have access to so much information with so little effort?

It’s a phenomenon that can be both beautiful and terrible. You can easily stumble upon a new favorite song or a link to a book that changes your life. You can take personalized Portuguese lessons with a native speaker without leaving your house. Or . . .

Cats. So many cats. One click on a Facebook link can send you down the rabbit hole of lost time and missed productivity. Who knows how many hours and dollars you’re costing yourself in the long run.

Even worse, we’re most susceptible to these kinds of distractions at work, where our attention and energy are at their most vulnerable.

Distraction is taking away your time, and it’s taking away your money. But worse than that, it’s taking away the most valuable, important thing you can be doing at work: It’s taking away your flow.

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