Personal Productivity

Genius vs. Talent

The latest issue of Scientific American Mind, which I read during a vacation last week (yes, I’m an exciting guy), takes on the subject of genius. “Genius” is one of those freighted words, something we consider exceedingly rare and overwhelming innate. But after reading SciAm’s package of articles, one of my takeaways is that genius […]


The best 82-minute movie on mastery I’ve ever seen

I don’t get to see a lot of movies these days — and it’s almost unheard of that I’ll watch one twice. But this weekend marked my second viewing of the short documentary film, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. If you’re interested in the alluring, frustrating, asymptotic pursuit of mastery, this is movie is a must-see. […]


Word of the day: Bildungsurlaub

The Germans have a word for everything – usually a long, hard-to-pronounce word. Now the country that gave us Götterdämmerung, schadenfreude, and Fahrvergnügen brings us . . . “bildungsurlaub.” The ungainly word roughly translates as “training vacation” — and captures a concept that seems worth emulating or at least taking seriously. German law entitles workers to six […]


The 3 quotations I keep on my office wall

Some of you asked. Here’s the answer: “Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now.” – Viktor Frankl “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the […]


3 cheap and effective productivity apps

Need a life-hack fix? Got a couple bucks? Here are three cool iPhone apps that will help you track your journeys, value your time, and meet your goals: The first app is the delightfully named Wonderful Day. The idea is similar to Jerry Seinfeld’s ruthlessly elegant productivity tip. Set up your goal in Wonderful Day (I’ve […]


3 tips for TED speakers (and other talkers)

Okay, so yeah. TED is amazing. It’s a culture-shaping, era-defining, not entirely uncontroversial extravapalooza that has earned the mind share, eyeballs, and admiration of tens of millions of global citizens. I had a chance to do a TED Talk a few years ago. And last year, my pal Bruno Giussani, one of TED’s impresarios, asked […]


Can a tomato make you more productive?

My quest to get more and better work done is endless — but not nearly as endless as my willingness to blab about that quest with anyone who’ll listen. In the last few months, a few wise souls who’ve counseled me have leaned in, Mr. McGuire-like, and whispered in my ear a single word: Pomodoro. […]


How to say No . . . especially to things you want to do

Last night, I had a breakthrough: I realized that personal productivity is the new dieting. (Like all evening epiphanies, this one is subject to future revision, refinement, and rejection.) Here’s what I mean. A century ago, America didn’t have much of a weight loss industry. Why?  Lack of demand. Back then, calories were generally scarce and […]


The power of an hourly beep

Peter Bregman is a strategy consultant who advises some of North America’s top CEO’s and writes widely-read blog for the Harvard Business Review. Last month he published his second book, 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done, which is packed with smart, practical advice for boosting individual performance. (Buy it at Amazon, BN.com, Indie […]


A cool new (free!) productivity tool

At the heart of most organizations is a disconnect. Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer have shown that making progress on meaningful work is the single most motivating aspect of any job. But . . . many people don’t know what kind of progress they’re making – because their main source of workplace feedback comes only […]