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How The Pope Does Mindfulness
Can a 500-year-old, 5-minute technique help you manage your day (Catholicism not required)?
Chris Lowney, who went from being a Jesuit seminarian to a managing director at JP Morgan, writes about the practice for HBR. It’s simple enough: You just make five minutes in the middle of your day and again at the end for a quick check-in with yourself. Lowney describes the practice in three steps: 
First, remind yourself why you are grateful as a human being.
Second, lift your horizon for a moment. Call to mind some crucial personal objective, or your deepest sense of purpose, or the values you stand for.
Third, mentally review the last few hours and extract some insight that might help in the next few hours. If you were agitated, what was going on inside you? If you were distracted and unproductive, why?
Read more here.

How The Pope Does Mindfulness

Can a 500-year-old, 5-minute technique help you manage your day (Catholicism not required)?

Chris Lowney, who went from being a Jesuit seminarian to a managing director at JP Morgan, writes about the practice for HBR. It’s simple enough: You just make five minutes in the middle of your day and again at the end for a quick check-in with yourself. Lowney describes the practice in three steps: 

  • First, remind yourself why you are grateful as a human being.
  • Second, lift your horizon for a moment. Call to mind some crucial personal objective, or your deepest sense of purpose, or the values you stand for.
  • Third, mentally review the last few hours and extract some insight that might help in the next few hours. If you were agitated, what was going on inside you? If you were distracted and unproductive, why?

Read more here.

7 Ways To Get More Time To Think Today
There are little pockets of solitude in any schedule. You just have to know how to find them.
As Nate Silver describes in The Signal and the Noise, there’s a difference between knowledge and information. Knowledge is a verifiable, articulated signal, while information is ambiguous, coarse noise. And if we’re going to make wise decisions and awesome products, we need the signal, the knowledge.
But you don’t need to be Nate Silver to know that a key to processing signal versus noise in your own head is by having enough space and time to think. And as Ben Casnocha notes on LinkedIn, even us Twitter-addled technorati can find a little headspace. It’s not that you need to pull a Rodin and put your fist in your forehead—though style points if you do—instead, he says, you want to “obliquely engage” in two kinds of thought jogging—directed and undirected thinking.
Directed Thinking
Directed thinking is what happens when you take that monkey mind of yours and give it a job to do, like understand itself.
Undirected thinking
Do something with a minor mental load and let your mind creatively wander.
Read the full story here. 
Want more?
How Busy People Find Time to Think Deeply

7 Ways To Get More Time To Think Today

There are little pockets of solitude in any schedule. You just have to know how to find them.

As Nate Silver describes in 
The Signal and the Noise
, there’s a difference between knowledge and information. Knowledge is a verifiable, articulated signal, while information is ambiguous, coarse noise. And if we’re going to make wise decisions and awesome products, we need the signal, the knowledge.

But you don’t need to be Nate Silver to know that a key to processing signal versus noise in your own head is by having enough space and time to think. And as Ben Casnocha notes on LinkedIn, even us Twitter-addled technorati can find a little headspace. It’s not that you need to pull a Rodin and put your fist in your forehead—though style points if you do—instead, he says, you want to “obliquely engage” in two kinds of thought jogging—directed and undirected thinking.

Directed Thinking

Directed thinking is what happens when you take that monkey mind of yours and give it a job to do, like understand itself.

Undirected thinking

Do something with a minor mental load and let your mind creatively wander.

Read the full story here. 

Want more?

How Busy People Find Time to Think Deeply

5 Ways To Get More Productive Today
Want to get more done in the next hour? Take 5 minutes to read this.
There might be some productivity-minded part of you that scoffs at the whole idea of reading about how to be more productive. After all, why would you read about doingwhen you could do?
Well, you can tell that part of you to stop being so addicted to being right and acknowledge that you can work smarter, not just harder. And when you can tap a multitude of perspectives of how to work smarter, you can get extremely productive.
Alice Boyes at Psychology Today has done that by gathering the productivity insights of a range of psychologists. Let’s unpack a few here.
Walk away
"Without realizing it, I spent years trying to be productive in the most unproductive way," says Susan Newman, “sitting at a desk for hours.”
Now she de-tethers by getting away from the office. She finds that moving around—be it to grab a cup of coffee, water a planet, or take a walk, makes her sharper. While it runs against what Anne Marie Slaughter calls “time macho” culture—“a relentless competition to work harder, stay later, pull more all-nighters, travel around the world and bill the extra hours that the international date line affords you”—more and more research shows that if you spend less time doing, you can get more done.
Close your door
L. Kevin Chapman starts his productivity quest by closing the door to his office. While he likes to welcome colleagues and students, closing the door ensures that he stays on task. The next move: scheduling the tasks he wants to avoid. If he puts the put-off tasks into his schedule (and sets reminders on all devices), he is sure to tackle what needs to get done. “Action precedes motivation,” Chapman says. “These small steps facilitate more action and lead to me feeling accomplished.” And apps can help, too.
Get some exercise
"Plan exercise breaks," advises Craig Malkin. “Stress leads to binary (either/or) thinking, distractability, and procrastination.”
We know at least one company that’s putting that into practice. Why does stress relief help you get better work done? You’ll stay sharp, Malkin says, and you’ll boost your capacity for creative problem solving. That’s because creativity is a mammalian trait—and the protective parts of you won’t let it come out unless you feel safe.
Condition yourself
We’ve discussed how where you work affects the work that you do, like how if you’re cold, you’re being physically distracted from the task at hand. Similarly, what you associate with your environment affects what happens there.
That’s why you should work in a place you associate with work, says Amy Przeworski, like an office building, library, cafe, or maybe a coworking space. If you need to keep your attention on something for a long time, it’s going to be hard to do so in a place you usually relax in—ever notice how you can’t work as well in the family room?
"Your surroundings set the stage for your focus," Przeworski says. "If they are associated with work, you will focus on work."
The space can also make your work a pleasure—that’s how Susan Cain sidesteps writer’s block. The Quiet author trained herself to love writing by “always writing in a beautiful cafe while drinking a latte and eating a chocolate chip cookie”—that’s one sweet way to love your work.
The biggest motivator? Passion
Kristine Anthis says that while you can’t always decide what projects you take on, when you do—like your college major or if your boss lets you select from a range of assignments—go after what you’re most interested in. It worked for her.
"Being passionate about what I do means that juggling the demands of teaching, writing, mentoring students, conducting research, and serving on committees is not necessarily always effortless," she says, "but certainly gratifying."
It’s also how you know if you have a career—or just a job.
15 Psychology Experts Share Their Best Productivity Tips
Drake Baer covers leadership for Fast Company. You can follow him on Twitter.
[Image: Flickr user botterli]

5 Ways To Get More Productive Today

Want to get more done in the next hour? Take 5 minutes to read this.

There might be some productivity-minded part of you that scoffs at the whole idea of reading about how to be more productive. After all, why would you read about doingwhen you could do?

Well, you can tell that part of you to stop being so addicted to being right and acknowledge that you can work smarter, not just harder. And when you can tap a multitude of perspectives of how to work smarter, you can get extremely productive.

Alice Boyes at Psychology Today has done that by gathering the productivity insights of a range of psychologists. Let’s unpack a few here.

Walk away

"Without realizing it, I spent years trying to be productive in the most unproductive way," says Susan Newman, “sitting at a desk for hours.”

Now she de-tethers by getting away from the office. She finds that moving around—be it to grab a cup of coffee, water a planet, or take a walk, makes her sharper. While it runs against what Anne Marie Slaughter calls “time macho” culture—“a relentless competition to work harder, stay later, pull more all-nighters, travel around the world and bill the extra hours that the international date line affords you”—more and more research shows that if you spend less time doing, you can get more done.

Close your door

L. Kevin Chapman starts his productivity quest by closing the door to his office. While he likes to welcome colleagues and students, closing the door ensures that he stays on task. The next move: scheduling the tasks he wants to avoid. If he puts the put-off tasks into his schedule (and sets reminders on all devices), he is sure to tackle what needs to get done. “Action precedes motivation,” Chapman says. “These small steps facilitate more action and lead to me feeling accomplished.” And apps can help, too.

Get some exercise

"Plan exercise breaks," advises Craig Malkin. “Stress leads to binary (either/or) thinking, distractability, and procrastination.”

We know at least one company that’s putting that into practice. Why does stress relief help you get better work done? You’ll stay sharp, Malkin says, and you’ll boost your capacity for creative problem solving. That’s because creativity is a mammalian trait—and the protective parts of you won’t let it come out unless you feel safe.

Condition yourself

We’ve discussed how where you work affects the work that you do, like how if you’re cold, you’re being physically distracted from the task at hand. Similarly, what you associate with your environment affects what happens there.

That’s why you should work in a place you associate with work, says Amy Przeworski, like an office building, library, cafe, or maybe a coworking space. If you need to keep your attention on something for a long time, it’s going to be hard to do so in a place you usually relax in—ever notice how you can’t work as well in the family room?

"Your surroundings set the stage for your focus," Przeworski says. "If they are associated with work, you will focus on work."

The space can also make your work a pleasure—that’s how Susan Cain sidesteps writer’s blockThe Quiet author trained herself to love writing by “always writing in a beautiful cafe while drinking a latte and eating a chocolate chip cookie”—that’s one sweet way to love your work.

The biggest motivator? Passion

Kristine Anthis says that while you can’t always decide what projects you take on, when you do—like your college major or if your boss lets you select from a range of assignments—go after what you’re most interested in. It worked for her.

"Being passionate about what I do means that juggling the demands of teaching, writing, mentoring students, conducting research, and serving on committees is not necessarily always effortless," she says, "but certainly gratifying."

It’s also how you know if you have a career—or just a job.

15 Psychology Experts Share Their Best Productivity Tips

Drake Baer covers leadership for Fast Company. You can follow him on Twitter.

[Image: Flickr user botterli]

How Arianna Huffington Defines Success
At the Wall Street Journal, Arianna Huffington writes that Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In has unleashed a range of conversations—including what world, exactly, is being leaned into.
To Huffington, we’re failing to understand the nature of success.

"This is a great moment…to acknowledge that the current male-dominated model of success isn’t working for women," she writes, "and it’s not working for men, either."

What’s that world look like?
Arianna Huffington
Pretty tightly wound. Huffington notes that self-reported stress has gone up for both sexes in the past 30 years—18 percent for women, 25 percent for men. A recent Harvard Medical School study estimated that U.S. companies lose $63.2 billion to sleep deprivation every year. And women, Huffington notes, are more likely to feel stressed at work.
With our current “time macho” culture, we’ve got stressed-out leaders in politics, business, and media making awful decisions.
"What they lack is not smarts but wisdom," she says. "And it’s much harder to tap into your wisdom, recognizing the icebergs before they hit the Titanic—a big part of leadership—when you’re running on empty."
Learning how to lean back
Huffington calls upon a lovely French phrase: reculer pour mieux sauter, which loosely translates as lean back to jump higher. Or in other words,relax and you’ll be more productive.
For Huffington, what’s missing is measurement:

We need a third metric, based on our well-being, our health, our ability to unplug and recharge and renew ourselves, and to find joy in both our job and the rest of our life. Ultimately, success is not about money or position, but about living the life you want, not just the life you settle for.

Who are the early adopters?
The happiest companies, who, by way, are making more money. Examples: Google has invested in its People Operations, General Mills practices mindfulness, and Square has adirector of experience.
And as Leslie Perlow notes, workaholics aren’t addicted to work—they’re need addicted to validation. So let’s change the validation structure.
Huffington on Sandberg: To Lean In, First Lean Back
[Image by Flickr user Penn State/Patrick Mansell]

How Arianna Huffington Defines Success

At the Wall Street Journal, Arianna Huffington writes that Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In has unleashed a range of conversations—including what world, exactly, is being leaned into.

To Huffington, we’re failing to understand the nature of success.

"This is a great moment…to acknowledge that the current male-dominated model of success isn’t working for women," she writes, "and it’s not working for men, either."

What’s that world look like?

Arianna Huffington

Pretty tightly wound. Huffington notes that self-reported stress has gone up for both sexes in the past 30 years—18 percent for women, 25 percent for men. A recent Harvard Medical School study estimated that U.S. companies lose $63.2 billion to sleep deprivation every year. And women, Huffington notes, are more likely to feel stressed at work.

With our current “time macho” culture, we’ve got stressed-out leaders in politics, business, and media making awful decisions.

"What they lack is not smarts but wisdom," she says. "And it’s much harder to tap into your wisdom, recognizing the icebergs before they hit the Titanic—a big part of leadership—when you’re running on empty."

Learning how to lean back

Huffington calls upon a lovely French phrase: reculer pour mieux sauter, which loosely translates as lean back to jump higher. Or in other words,relax and you’ll be more productive.

For Huffington, what’s missing is measurement:

We need a third metric, based on our well-being, our health, our ability to unplug and recharge and renew ourselves, and to find joy in both our job and the rest of our life. Ultimately, success is not about money or position, but about living the life you want, not just the life you settle for.

Who are the early adopters?

The happiest companies, who, by way, are making more money. Examples: Google has invested in its People Operations, General Mills practices mindfulness, and Square has adirector of experience.

And as Leslie Perlow notes, workaholics aren’t addicted to work—they’re need addicted to validation. So let’s change the validation structure.

Huffington on Sandberg: To Lean In, First Lean Back

[Image by Flickr user Penn State/Patrick Mansell]

Interview Tips For When Someone Asks, “What Questions Do You Have For Us?”
When the interviewer asks if you have any questions for them, it’s your opportunity to show them how much insight, moxie, and knowledge you have stored up. Here’s your playbook.
If I started tomorrow, what’s the first project you’d want me to tackle?
Beyond showing how you’d hit the ground running—and helping the interviewer to picture you doing so—this question will preview what the working state of the gig is like.
What are the must-have personality traits for this position?
This question will help you further fill in your forecast: Self-starting might mean you have little guidance; collaborative may mean you’ll be mired in meetings. Also, Gregorio notes, ask this will help the interviewer crack his or her robo-scanning and see you as a whole person.
What would you like to see more from in this position?
Ask this and you’ll learn why the last guy lost the gig—plus get a fuller picture of what your potential employer counts as success. (Then, when you get the job, make those goals happen.)
Do you like it here?
"This question might take interviewers back a bit," Gregorio says, "but their answer will be telling." If they respond with an automatic yes! then you’re probably entering into a positive culture (or talking to someone in denial), and if they look askance and search for meaning, chances are there’s a storm a-brewing beneath the interview-y sheen.
Why would I not be a fit for this job?
Inviting a critique shows you can handle feedback, Gregorio says, and it lets the interviewers give voice to any worries they might have about you.
For comments and more, check out the full story here.

What else should you ask during an interview? Let us know in the comments.
[Image: Flickr user John Morgan]

Interview Tips For When Someone Asks, “What Questions Do You Have For Us?”

When the interviewer asks if you have any questions for them, it’s your opportunity to show them how much insight, moxie, and knowledge you have stored up. Here’s your playbook.

If I started tomorrow, what’s the first project you’d want me to tackle?

Beyond showing how you’d hit the ground running—and helping the interviewer to picture you doing so—this question will preview what the working state of the gig is like.

What are the must-have personality traits for this position?

This question will help you further fill in your forecast: Self-starting might mean you have little guidance; collaborative may mean you’ll be mired in meetings. Also, Gregorio notes, ask this will help the interviewer crack his or her robo-scanning and see you as a whole person.

What would you like to see more from in this position?

Ask this and you’ll learn why the last guy lost the gig—plus get a fuller picture of what your potential employer counts as success. (Then, when you get the job, make those goals happen.)

Do you like it here?

"This question might take interviewers back a bit," Gregorio says, "but their answer will be telling." If they respond with an automatic yes! then you’re probably entering into a positive culture (or talking to someone in denial), and if they look askance and search for meaning, chances are there’s a storm a-brewing beneath the interview-y sheen.

Why would I not be a fit for this job?

Inviting a critique shows you can handle feedback, Gregorio says, and it lets the interviewers give voice to any worries they might have about you.

For comments and more, check out the full story here.

What else should you ask during an interview? Let us know in the comments.

[Image: Flickr user John Morgan]

For Happier Employees, Learn To Give More Gratitude Than “Thx”
We all know happier companies make more money—and nothing makes for happier employees than learning how to show real gratitude for what they do. Here are some pointers to get you started today.
How to really say thank you
Goulston lays out three steps for getting good at giving gratitude: 
Be precise: Thank the person specifically for their exceptional actions: Tell them what they’re doing awesome.
Acknowledge the effort: Note the personal cost of their getting it done. If they work through the weekend, appreciate the social and family costs.
Share your stakeholdership: Make a point of how their great work helps your work, show how you’re in this together.
Developing a sense of how to show gratitude is a leadership key—one that can help you (and your employees) reach their potential.
Here’s the full story. Want more? 
How To Give A Meaningful “Thank You”

For Happier Employees, Learn To Give More Gratitude Than “Thx”

We all know happier companies make more money—and nothing makes for happier employees than learning how to show real gratitude for what they do. Here are some pointers to get you started today.

How to really say thank you

Goulston lays out three steps for getting good at giving gratitude: 

  1. Be precise: Thank the person specifically for their exceptional actions: Tell them what they’re doing awesome.
  2. Acknowledge the effort: Note the personal cost of their getting it done. If they work through the weekend, appreciate the social and family costs.
  3. Share your stakeholdership: Make a point of how their great work helps your work, show how you’re in this together.

Developing a sense of how to show gratitude is a leadership key—one that can help you (and your employees) reach their potential.

Here’s the full story. Want more? 

How To Give A Meaningful “Thank You”

Invaluable—And Simple—Advice For Succeeding At Your First Job

"Your first job is not only about showing that you can get the job done," Thorin Klosowski writes at Lifehacker. After the thrill of the hire and the trial of negotiation, the maiden voyage begins—one in which you’ll need all the connections and tricks of the trade that you can develop from the beginning.

Relish the grunt-work

When you’re starting out at a new gig, you’re naturally going to be doing low-level work for you employers—meaning that your dazzling gifts are going to be muted for a minute. The best way you can differentiate yourself from the rest of the entry-level gaggle is by hustling harder than anybody else—and rejoicing in it.

Be on point at all points

It’s all about those little trust-building details that will be foundational to your working relationships and your personal brand: you need to always be on time (or early) and make all your deadlines, enabled by the subtle arts of organization. Keeping your desk clean—literally and metaphorically—will signal that you’re dependable.

Get to know the people

Meet everyone. Have lunch. Make friends. Form bonds. Gain trust.

Ask questions

The best thing you can do for yourself is to get the job done right the first time—and you can do that by asking process questions as set out on the task. 

Here’s the full story.
[Image: Flickr user Namelas Frade]

Invaluable—And Simple—Advice For Succeeding At Your First Job

"Your first job is not only about showing that you can get the job done," Thorin Klosowski writes at Lifehacker. After the thrill of the hire and the trial of negotiation, the maiden voyage begins—one in which you’ll need all the connections and tricks of the trade that you can develop from the beginning.

Relish the grunt-work

When you’re starting out at a new gig, you’re naturally going to be doing low-level work for you employers—meaning that your dazzling gifts are going to be muted for a minute. The best way you can differentiate yourself from the rest of the entry-level gaggle is by hustling harder than anybody else—and rejoicing in it.

Be on point at all points

It’s all about those little trust-building details that will be foundational to your working relationships and your personal brand: you need to always be on time (or early) and make all your deadlines, enabled by the subtle arts of organization. Keeping your desk clean—literally and metaphorically—will signal that you’re dependable.

Get to know the people

Meet everyone. Have lunch. Make friends. Form bonds. Gain trust.

Ask questions

The best thing you can do for yourself is to get the job done right the first time—and you can do that by asking process questions as set out on the task. 

Here’s the full story.

[Image: Flickr user Namelas Frade]