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Relativity Can Tell Us A Lot About Productivity

Relativity Can Tell Us A Lot About Productivity
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“Perhaps we’ve just forgotten that we are still pioneers. That we’ve barely begun. That our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us. That our destiny lies above us.”

Recently Interstellar (2014) has become quite popular. Like many people, its thought-provoking, ambitious plot may have inspired you. But maybe you’ve begun to question its relevance in your own life. If so, you’re on to something fairly significant.

Most people don’t know that Einstein’s theory of relativity can actually be applied to productivity.

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If we pull back the shades on his theory, you’ll see that it’s divided into two distinct parts: “special” and “general” relativity. Special relativity basically explains that motion is defined relative to an inert frame of reference like time and space — where there is no gravity. On the other hand, general relativity expands this notion by including gravity as a dependent variable in the equation.

Because everyone wants to be more productive, especially at the beginning of a new year, let’s take a closer look at key contributions from relativity that can help you to achieve greater productivity.

1. Reach for higher gravitational potential

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Like in the movie Interstellar, gravitational time dilation helps explain the notion that time flies when we are having fun, but drags when we are doing some mundane activity, like writing a history paper! If you want to guarantee your ability to produce more and faster, fix your sites on a higher gravitational plain by increasing optimistic thoughts and envisioning positive outcomes. This process helps release your “natural high” energy with godsends like serotonin and gets your feel-good juices flowing. You will be able to move through tasks with lightning speed and you’ll feel pretty unstoppable during the process, too.

2. Step into the black hole every now and again

Are you afraid of time standing still? What would happen if you could only do…nothing? A black hole — a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light cannot get out — offers the possibility of doing just that. Why would someone purposely choose to go into a black hole to increase productivity? Well, every now and again you need to step away from all the distractions and the noise — sometimes even your own mental noise — to gain fresh perspectives and return to your work renewed and ready to create at the highest level.

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3. Generate motion, then build momentum
Motion has the potential to build incredible momentum, especially when speed becomes part of the equation. Momentum, an important element of Einstein’s theory of relativity, explains that when you push a freely moving object it will naturally accelerate. Have you pushed yourself lately? If so, how effective were you in producing results? Challenge yourself to move — physically, mentally, and emotionally. Then, dial up the dynamism and increase your momentum. It’s about breaking free from apathy and inertia to get results.

4. Formulate a powerful perspective, enabling you reach for your inner-pioneer

Your ability to produce results is based on your perspective, your mental view, or outlook. Relativity advances this premise with the notion that the speed at which you progress through time varies with your frame of reference and relative motion vis a vis the object you are observing. Moreover, different observers experience time differently (perspective is everything!). Developing a powerful perspective will help you increase the speed at which you move through difficulties and generate the will and ingenuity to produce results.

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5. Connect the dots by embracing the power of the Tesseract

You can choose to flatline or live life in 3D, fully experiencing the visceral nature of all that it has to offer. But if you’re really ambitious and willing to raise the stakes on your productivity, reach for the power of the Tesseract and go all the way to the fourth dimension. The point is to use innovation and jettison convention to increase your results. Be bold. Be fearless. Think outside the box and let nothing stop you.

In case you were uncertain that you could become more productive this year, Einstein got it right and so can you. Think about how you can increase your productivity using these century old principles that can breathe life into your sluggish routine.

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Featured photo credit: space via google.com.hk

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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