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In his book In Praise of Wasting Time , Alan Lightman relates a story from during his time at the the California Institute of Technology about a fellow student called Paul. Paul used to sit on a bench for hours, receiving disapproving looks from passing professors who wondered why he wasn’t studying. Well, the Paul of the story is Paul L. Schechter, now a famous astronomer and observational cosmologist, and recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship for Natural Sciences. How did he get his ideas? Yes, you guessed it: sitting on that benchs
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A few years ago, Professor Francesca Gino taught two classes at Harvard Business School in which she experimented with her footwear. For one class, she wore a conservative suit with dress shoes. For the next group, she paired her suit with her favorite pair of red Converse sneakers. She discovere...
Do the opposite. Sometimes, doing the opposite of what makes sense makes even more sense. When Nick got a new job in the east of London, his commute was going to take him on the packed tube. He knew that journey wasn’t going to provide the right frame of mind to set him up for th...
In everyday life, it’s easy to get sucked into the prevailing culture. We know what’s expected of us and what’s acceptable in our working life. Even when we are remote working, many of us still feel we can’t take time off for lunch, that we can’t go for a walk around the block when we need a brea...
Experiment with a “FriPlay” afternoon. Working from home can mean extended days, with often little segue from our desks to the family dinner table. Tasks creep into the weekend. Give yourself a break with a FriPlay afternoon. Every Friday (where I can), I’m clearing the decks around 3 p.m. to do ...
These office rules, real or self-imposed, are holding us back. They’re stopping us from doing our best work. When we don’t go and free-think by a lake—real or metaphorical—we are limiting our own achievements, and limiting our own success.
Subtract, not add. A paper in the academic journal Nature outlined a human tendency that often, when we’re asked to improve something, we add something. But many times, subtracting can be a better solution. It’s why people struggle to improve things ranging from organizational red tape to their o...
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