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3 Ways Technology Can Make You Happy

3 Ways Technology Can Make You Happy

In a guest post for Nir And Far, Brendan Kane – who has built technology for MTV, paramount, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and the NHL throughout his career – recently shared three ways you can find happiness through technology:

We all have the power to change our lives. I know this because I found ways to reprogram my inner circuitry and change my perspective of the world. A few simple steps inserted into my daily routine dramatically improved my life. Surprisingly, many of my new rituals were made possible using the technology I carry with me every day.

THINK BIG

“Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.”

-Steve Jobs

I was trained to think small and seek comfort rather than risk. From an early age, many of us are told to think realistically and to leave the big audacious ideas to people with more experience and resources. But the truth is, as Steve Jobs said, ““Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”

We are all born with the same basic brain hardware and though there are variations in intelligence between people, the differences are relatively minor and show little correlation with life outcomes. However, what does make a difference  is how much we believe in ourselves and our capabilities. A much greater determinant of where we will end up in life is whether we have what Stanford researcher Carol Dweck calls a “fixed” or “growth mindset.”

I set out to remove the fixed mindset I had cultivated over the years. I did this through a daily practice of using my iPhone notes tool to brainstorm the biggest and craziest ideas I could think up. These ideas could be anything from starting a billion dollar business to designing a way to live on the moon. The practice of thinking big on a daily basis flexed my mind’s capacity to move past limitation and helped me become a more creative thinker.

USE GRATITUDE TO CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE

“Gratitude is the single most important ingredient to living a successful and fulfilled life.”

-Jack Canfield

One of the most impactful steps in reprogramming my brain was to take a daily inventory of everything I was grateful for. Before I go to sleep each night, I make a list of the positive things that came into my life that day. For example, I might jot down a few words to remember a particularly beautiful sunset, a compliment I received, or even a meeting that went well. I use a gratitude app on my phone to record these moments.

This routine sounds trivial but I found something strange happened when I adopted the practice. After about 30 days my perception of the world began to change. I became happier because I found myself more aware of the amazing things I had in my life. I would stop several times a day to smile in recognition and appreciation of the small things in life. The change also impacted my professional life. I started to attract more fulfilling business opportunities and more positive people to the projects I was working on.

CARRY YOUR DREAMS WITH YOU

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”

– Anais Nin

What would you do tomorrow if you won the lottery? What are 10 things that you would want to accomplish with the rest of your life? Most people can only list a few things that they would do and some people can’t list any. I asked myself what the point was of running so hard toward financial independence when I really had no idea what I was going to do once I got there. If I didn’t know what I wanted, how could I achieve it?

I discovered that one of the best ways to determine what I wanted was to create a dream book of images on my iPad that I could look at every morning and evening. I gathered a list of images that represented the things I wanted most in my life and I put images representing them on my iPad and iPhone.

I often listen to my favorite music while I play a slide show of the pictures I use to remind me of the things I want to achieve, places I want to go, people I want to meet. I imagine what it would feel like if I had each of those things in my life. This exercise created a thought sequence that helped me set new goals in life and provided a deliberate destination that I could envision working and striving for each day.

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PERCEPTION IS REALITY

Einstein said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”. Indeed, we are highly influenced by the way we see things. Changing the direction of our lives seems difficult because many of us have been conditioned to believe it is not possible.

But the truth is, changing our lives is as easy as changing the way we think. Changing my own life was a slow process, but I began to feel more joy and fulfillment by regularly incorporating these simple technology-facilitated habits.

Nir’s Note: This guest post comes from  Brendan Kane who has built technology for MTV, Paramount, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and the NHL. In this article, Brendan describes how he reprogramed the way he views the world using little more than his iPhone and iPad.

Nir Eyal writes about the intersection of psychology, technology and business at NirAndFar.com. He is the author of Hooked: A Guide to Building Habit Forming Technology. For more insights into how products change behavior, join his free newsletter.

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3 Ways To Use Technology For Happiness | NirAndFar

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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System

To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System

We are all about doing things faster and better around here at Lifehack. And part of doing things faster and better is having a solid personal productivity system that you use on a daily basis.

This system can be just about anything that helps you get through your mountain of projects or tasks, and helps you get closer to your goals in life. Whether it’s paper or pixels, it doesn’t really matter. But, since you are reading Lifehack I have to assume that pixels and technological devices are an important part of your workflow.

“Personal Productivity System” defined

A personal productivity system (at least the definition that this article will use) is a set of workflows and tools that allow an individual to optimally get their work done.

Workflows can be how you import and handle your photos from your camera, how you write and create blog posts, how you deploy compiled code to a server, etc.

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Tools are the things like planners, todo managers, calendars, development environments, applications, etc.

When automation is bad

You may be thinking that the more that we automate our systems, the more we will get done. This is mostly the case, but there is one very big “gotcha” when it comes to automation of anything.

Automation is a bad thing for your personal productivity system when you don’t inherently understand the process of something.

Let’s take paying your bills for example. This may seem very obvious, but if you can’t stick to a monthly budget and have trouble finding the money to make payments on time, then automating your bill payment every month is completely useless and can be dangerous for your personal finances.

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Another example is using a productivity tool to “tell you” what tasks are important and what to do next. If you haven’t taken a step back and figured out just how your productivity systems should work together, this type of automation will likely keep you from getting things done.

You can only automate something in your personal productivity system that have managed for a while. If you try to automate things that aren’t managed well already, you will probably feel a bit out of control and have a greater sense of overwhelm.

Another thing to remember is that some things should always be done by yourself, like responding to important emails and communicating with others. Automating these things can show your coworkers and colleagues that you don’t care enough to communicate yourself.

When automation is good

On the other hand, automation is a great thing for your personal productivity system when you understand the process of something and can then automatically get the steps done. When you know how to manage something effectively and understand the step-by-step process of a portion of your system, it’s probably a great time to automate it.

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I have several workflows that I have introduced in the last year that takes some of the “mindless” work from me so I can be more creative and not have to worry about the details of something.

On my Mac I use a combination of Automator workflows, TextExpander snippets, and now Keyboard Maestro shortcuts to do things like automatically touch-up photos imported from my iPhone 4S or open all the apps and websites needed for a weekly meeting to the forefront of my desktop by typing a few keys. Once you open yourself up to automating a few of your processes, you start to see other pieces of your system that can benefit from automation.

Once again; none of this works unless you understand your processes and know what tools you can use to get them done automatically.

The three steps to determine if something is “ripe” for automation

If your workflow passes these three steps, then automate away, baby:

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  1. You can do this process in your sleep and it doesn’t require your full, if any form of attention. It can (and has been) managed in some form prior to automating it.
  2. The process is time consuming.
  3. The process doesn’t require “human finesse” (ie. communicating and responding to something personally)

Automating your personal productivity systems can be a great for you in the long run if you are careful and mindful of what you are doing. You first need to understand the processes that you are trying to automate before automating them though. Don’t get stuck in thinking that anything and everything should be automated in your life, because it probably shouldn’t.

Pick and choose these processes wisely and you’ll find the ones that take up most of your time to be the best ones to automate. What have you automated in your personal productivity system?

Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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