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On Podcast: Charles Duhigg on Self-Motivation, Mental Models, and Getting Stuff Done – The Upgrade by Lifehacker

March 25th, 2017 No comments

Charles Duhigg on Self-Motivation, Mental Models, and Getting Stuff Done – The Upgrade by Lifehacker

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If anyone knows the difference between being busy and being productive it’s Charles Duhigg. The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times and author of The Power of Habit has made a name for himself plumbing the science of productivity, and this week he’s joining us on the podcast.

Charles is, by any measure, a very productive person—he wrote a bestseller while working full-time and raising a family. And even though success begat success, he started to feel like he was treading water and didn’t want to come home every day after work to spend another five hours answering emails.

So he started calling researchers who study productivity as well as very productive people he admired to learn why some people manage to do so much while others struggle to reach the inbox zero promised land. Those phone calls and conversations are what led to his second book, Smarter Better Faster.

In today’s show we talk about many of the key principles Charles detailed in his book, including how pilots used ‘mental models’ to land a severely damaged airplane, how the worst automotive manufacturing plant in the country turned itself around when new owners gave the workers more control, and what it means to be truly productive.

Categories: Business, Careers, Creativity, Education, Podcast Tags:

Noted: Podcast: The Assassins Of Creativity (and How To Spot Them)

March 22nd, 2017 No comments

On Podcast: In Our Time: Maths in the Early Islamic World from BBC Radio 4

February 20th, 2017 Comments off


Maths in the Early Islamic World
Released Feb 16, 2017

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the flourishing of maths in the early Islamic world, as thinkers from across the region developed ideas in places such as Baghdad’s House of Wisdom. Among them were the Persians Omar Khayyam, who worked on equations, and Al-Khwarizmi, latinised as Algoritmi and pictured above, who is credited as one of the fathers of algebra, and the Jewish scholar Al-Samawal, who converted to Islam and worked on mathematical induction. As well as the new ideas, there were many advances drawing on Indian, Babylonian and Greek work and, thanks to the recording or reworking by mathematicians in the Islamic world, that broad range of earlier maths was passed on to western Europe for further study.

With Colva Roney-Dougal
Reader in Pure Mathematics at the University of St Andrews

Peter Pormann
Professor of Classics & Graeco-Arabic Studies at the University of Manchester And

Jim Al-Khalili
Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Categories: Audio, Education, History, Podcast Tags:

Storm Timelapse, Los Angeles, California, February 17, 2017 [Video] (2:30)

February 19th, 2017 Comments off

On Podcast: Mary, Queen of Scots on In Our Time [Audio]

January 23rd, 2017 Comments off

I enjoyed this podcast and you might, too — Douglas

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Mary, Queen of Scots
In Our Time

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of Mary, Queen of Scots, who had potential to be one of the most powerful rulers in Europe, yet she was also one of the most vulnerable. In France, when she was the teenage bride to their future king, she was seen as rightful heir to the thrones of England and Ireland, as well as Queen of Scotland and one day of France, which would have been an extraordinary union. She was widowed too young, though and, a Catholic returning to Protestant Scotland, she struggled to overcome rivalries in her own country. She fled to Protestant England, where she was implicated in plots to overthrow Elizabeth, and it was Elizabeth herself who signed Mary’s death warrant.

With

David Forsyth
Principal Curator, Scottish Medieval-Early Modern Collections at National Museums Scotland

Anna Groundwater
Teaching Fellow in Historical Skills and Methods at the University of Edinburgh

And

John Guy
Fellow of Clare College, University of Cambridge

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Recommended Reading from In Our Time

Ian B. Cowan, The Enigma of Mary Stuart (Sphere, 1972)

Jane E. A. Dawson, Scotland Re-formed: 1488-1587 (Edinburgh University Press, 2007)

Gordon Donaldson, All the Queen’s Men: Power and Politics in Mary Stewart’s Scotland (Batsford Press, 1983)

Susan Doran, Mary Queen of Scots: An Illustrated Life (British Library Publishing Division, 2007)

Antonia Fraser, Mary, Queen of Scots (first published 1969; Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2009)

John Guy, My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots (Harper Perennial, 2004)

Rosalind K. Marshall, Queen of Scots (Mercat Press, 2000)

Alison Weir, Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley (Vintage, 2008)

Jenny Wormald, Mary Queen of Scots: A Study in Failure with a new foreword and afterward by Anna Groundwater (Birlinn, forthcoming June 2017)

Jenny Wormald, Mary, Queen of Scots: Politics, Passion and a Kingdom Lost (first published 1990; Tauris Parke, 2001)

Do It 2017!: #2 Make Space and Time for Your Making, Doing and Creating!

January 19th, 2017 Comments off

Do It 2017

#2 Make Space and Time for Your Making, Doing and Creating!

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One of the most important aspects of increasing your creativity and productivity in 2017 is allowing more space and more time in your life for your creative pursuits. Just like myself, I am sure you experience those days were the simple act of living takes up all your time. You eat breakfast, go to work (or do your work in the home office) and before you know it, it’s time to make dinner and the light outside is starting to fade. Sure, you got something done, but did you get anything done for yourself? Did you take some time to write a few lines? Did you pick up the paintbrush, the guitar, the loom, the knitting needles? Or, did time simply slip away as it does nearly every day?

Make It Easy: Reducing Friction

I have found over the years that the best way of insuring creativity in your life is to make it as easy as possible — as frictionless as possible — so that you are reminded of your need and desire to create each time you look up — each time you have a moment to think — each time you walk into a room.

One real world example of my own came when I started to learn how to play guitar. Breaking through the initial phase of sore fingers, memorizing chords and learning to strum takes consistent practice — at least once a day. Skip a day and your fingers hurt more, your memory fades and it feels like you are starting over at the beginning.

Guitar

Keeping the guitar in its case certainly offers more protection and keeps it dust free, but it also adds a layer of friction to your practice. If I wanted to spend a few minutes practicing, I would need to open the case, pull out the strap, tuner, picks etc. It may sound silly, but that tiny amount of friction means that, more often than not, you simply won’t bother. It only takes the smallest amount of work, the smallest excuse, the smallest impediment to push creativity out of your day.

How did I combat this? I made sure to buy a stand for my guitar. That stand then sat within arm’s reach of my office chair. Whenever I turned away from the computer for a moment — even just a few minutes — I could grab the guitar — practice some chords, practice my strumming — and then put it down and go back to work. You might be thinking, “Well, that’s no way to learn a musical instrument! You have to dedicate hours every day to practice, in the right environment, at the right time. Surely playing a few minutes here and there could never work.” Well, I am proof that a few minutes practice, a few times a day, can be just as effective as long sessions. In fact, for me, had I been forced to do my practice in long, intensive sessions, I probably wouldn’t have done it at all. Again, too much friction.

Now, sure, when I was practicing for a performance, I would often spend and hour or more running my songs exactly as I would when performing. This builds comfort with the material and the physical stamina to play a longer set — both of which you’ll need in performance. But, when it comes to basic learning and practice, you often need to fit it in around everything else in your life and simply putting it in your face works wonders.

So, with my example in mind, what can you do to make it easier for you to transition from other activities into your creative activities? Is the piano covered in junk or is it ready to sit down and immediately practice a few bars? Is your loom, spinning wheel, sewing machine, knitting supplies set up in a particular area, close at hand? Is it always ready for you to start creating something? If not, you are sabotaging your own creativity — your own productivity. You are making it difficult to start and enjoy your own creativity.

It may sound difficult, but find a space where you can set up your tools, your easel, your paintbrushes, your writing supplies whatever and leave them there, ready to use at a moment’s notice. Too many of us suffer from “dining room table” syndrome. We have to use an existing family space for our creative pursuits. This means we have to setup and teardown every time we want to do anything. What a perfect way to insure that we don’t create at all.

Sewing

If you are truly lacking any space, at least combine all your supplies in an easily portable container so that you can grab and go, no matter where you are or where you might be able to work. This is one thing that makes knitting and crocheting such a popular creative outlet. With a little preparation, you can take your creativity wherever you go — keeping the anti-creative friction at a bare minimum and creativity at a maximum.

The easier you make it to create, the more likely you will create. It is a simple formula. Reduce the friction and you will suddenly find time in your day — more time than you might have imagined — to create, make and do in your life!

Next time I’ll talk about how scheduling time for creativity can be another great way to move your projects forward.

Previously on Do It!:

Categories: Audio, Creativity, Do It!, Podcast, Show Tags:

Slow Motion Bubbles In My New Year’s Eve Prosecco [Video]

January 1st, 2017 Comments off
Categories: Drinks, Food, Podcast, Show, Video Tags:

Los Angeles Rain in Slow Motion [Video]

December 23rd, 2016 Comments off

Instagram Photography from November 2016 [Video]

December 5th, 2016 Comments off

Douglas E. Welch Talks Creativity and More on The Grantcast with Grant Baciocco [Audio] (33:50)

November 26th, 2016 Comments off

It was so much fun sitting down with Grant Baciocco to talk creativity this week. Grant is an old friend from the earliest days of podcasting (2004) and I am always watching his career and enjoying whatever work he us currently engaged in, including his own podcasts — like Grant’s Advent Calendar, which we watched religiously when Joseph was younger — and his in-theater and on-screen work with PuppetUp! and much more!

Check out everything he does on MrGrant.com and also over at Saturday Morning Media, where he is always creating great, kid-friendly content. —Douglas

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Douglas E. Welch Talks Creativity and More on The Grantcast with Grant Baciocco

 

15 Minutes With author and podcaster Douglas Welch – GrantCast EPISODE #101

Douglas Welch is an author, podcaster and new media and social media consultant.  

In this interview we discuss how he uses creativity in his work, plus discussion on his past int he world of theater, Walt Disney Imagineering and more.

Listen to 15 Minutes With author and podcaster Douglas Welch – GrantCast EPISODE #101

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