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Postponing Things to Increase Productivity

https://effectiviology.com/napoleon/

effectiviology.com

Postponing Things to Increase Productivity

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The Napoleon technique

The Napoleon technique

This is a productivity technique that involves delaying dealing with something when there is a good chance that it will resolve without your immediate input.

When Napoleon was a general in Italy, he directed Bourrienne to only open letters that came by extraordinary couriers, and to leave all the other letters unopened for three weeks. He observed that a large part of the correspondence had disposed of itself and no longer required an answer.

The Napoleon technique's main benefit is that it allows you to conserve resources such as time and energy. By putting off replying to someone, this technique can help teach a person to be more thoughtful when asking for your help

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Implementing the Napoleon technique

The technique is useful in routine tasks (minor, non-urgent matters that you can afford to postpone with little risk). For example, delaying emails for one day is enough to allow most minor issues to resolve themselves.

When you decide to implement the Napoleon technique consider both the positive and negative outcomes and the possibility of these outcomes.

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Common pitfalls of the Napoleon technique

  • The ostrich effect. It causes people to avoid situations they might perceive as negative. Don't use the Napoleon technique as an excuse to avoid seeing information you don't want to see even though you should.
  • Procrastination. When using the Napoleon technique, make sure you're doing it because you believe it will benefit you and not because you prefer to needlessly delay getting things done.
  • Parkinson's law states that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. When using the Napoleon technique, don't postpone things so that you take longer to complete them than you usually would.

When using the Napoleon technique, set clear deadlines for yourself to reduce the likelihood of postponing things unnecessarily.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Sagan Standard

The Sagan Standard

The Sagan standard is related to astronomer Carl Sagan, who stated that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” (a dictum abbreviated as ECREE).

This means t...

Ordinary And Extraordinary Claims

Based on the Sagan standard, if someone claims that they came across a unicorn during they commute, they would be expected to brig stronger evidence in order to verify that claim than if they claimed that they came across a horse.

This happens because there is significant evidence for the existence of horses, but no relevant evidence to support the existence of unicorns, which makes the latter claim extraordinary.

The Concept Of Extraordinary Claims

  • Instead of viewing claims as either ordinary or extraordinary, it’s better to view them as ranging between these two ends of the spectrum, based on how likely they are given everything that is known on the subject.
  • It can be difficult to define the exact threshold on the ordinary-extraordinary spectrum that a certain claim needs to cross before it’s considered extraordinary, it’s generally preferable to focus on how extraordinary a claim is instead, and to expect a stand of proof that matches that degree of extraordinariness.
  • A claim should generally not be viewed as extraordinary simply because it’s novel, but rather because it contradicts existing evidence.

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The Gish gallop

The Gish gallop

It is a rhetorical technique that involves overwhelming your opponent with numerous vague arguments, with no regard for accuracy, validity, or relevance of those arguments.

Examples of Gish gallops

A classic example is when a proponent of some pseudoscience bombards an expert with many weak arguments and start a new argument each time the expert successfully refute one of them.

But Gish gallops also appear in less formal contexts. E.g., someone who wants to support an unfounded stance on social media might post a huge list of irrelevant sources that they didn't actually read.

Arguments within a Gish gallop

When responding to specific arguments within a Gish gallop, you can use certain techniques to respond effectively to the flawed arguments.

  • When someone states there is support for their stance, you can ask your opponent to list the specific evidence they claim support their view.
  • When responding to generalised claims, show that they contradict the scientific consensus on the topic.

The empathy gap

The empathy gap

The empathy gap is a cognitive bias that causes people to struggle to understand mental states that are different from their own.

When someone is happy or angry, they ...

Examples of empathy gaps

The empathy gap causes us to misjudge our own emotions and behaviors. Examples include overestimating our ability to stay composed in a stressful event, overestimating the likelihood that we can control our desire for an addictive substance, such as coffee, or underestimating how much our feelings for someone affected our judgment in the past.

The empathy gap can cause people to be unprepared for situations and act differently to what they would ideally prefer.

Types of empathy gaps

  • Cold-to-hot empathy gaps. When someone is in a cold (emotionally neutral) state, they have trouble understanding someone in a hot (emotional state). A calm person might be unable to predict how they will act when they're upset.
  • Hot-to-cold empathy gaps. Someone in this state might be passionate about a topic but fail to understand how other people feel that are not passionate about it.
  • Intrapersonal bias. An interpersonal empathy gap occurs when someone struggles to consider their own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
  • Interpersonal bias. An interpersonal empathy gap occurs when people battle to consider someone else's thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
  • Retrospective bias. A retrospective empathy gap occurs when people fail to understand why they acted emotionally in the past.
  • A prospective bias. A prospective empathy gap occurs when people fail to predict the future behavior of someone who doesn't care about the same thing as much.
  • The outgroup empathy gap. This is a cognitive bias that causes people to be more empathic towards members of their ingroup than toward people in their outgroup.