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To-do list stickiness is a common problem … First, one of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard about to-do lists is to be honest about how much you can get done within a given day.

Productivity expert Drake Baer is answering your work/productivity questions live right now. Ask your questions here

When you work an insane number of hours, you’re going to get fatigued—for your neurons can only handle so much effort until they get worn out.

What’s happening here? Psychologists call it decision fatigue: the phenomenon where the more decisions you make, the worse at deciding you get. It’s part of the reason why judges give harsher rulings late in the day and hiring managers prefer the people they interview in the morning. Additionally, if you’re tired, you’re more likely to make unethical decisions—which suck and are to be avoided.

The Many Reasons Long Hours Are Awful For You, Your Work, And Your Clients

  • Left: Joanna Coles, editor in chief of Cosmopolitan, takes time for analog tasks like reading the paper at her treadmill desk. “It mitigates the exercise panic that sets in around 4:30.”

  • Right: New Yorker writer Susan Orlean is a devotee of the treadmill desk. “I’m not sitting down at all any more to write.”

Some incredibly productive people have treadmill desks. Should you?

1) Your mind-set makes you smarter: Carol Dweck, the Stanford psychologist, has identified two mind-sets that shape, well, our minds. There’s the fixed mind-set, in which you think your thinking abilities can’t change. Then there’s the growth mind-set, in which your thinking abilities can be developed.

"These beliefs matter," Paul observes, "because they influence how we think about our own abilities, how we perceive the world around us, and how we act when faced with a challenge or with adversity."

The question, then, is how to own our development—which is a matter of deliberate practice.

2) Your concentration makes you smarter: If we consider intelligence to be our ability to solve complex tasks, then we need to appreciate how to deal with complexity—namely, with sustained focus, since that’s the only way we can load difficult problems into our heads.

Keep reading

Perhaps you’ve heard: Sitting is the new smoking. For years, a growing body of research has shown sitting for extended periods of time, the way most of us do for50 to 70 percent of our lives, can cause a host of issues from lower back pain to diabetes to an increased risk of death.

The Stir Kinetic Desk automatically and strategically adjusts between sitting and standing positions based on data it collects about your habits over time. The Stir Kinetic Desk is simple to operate, because all of its controls are packed into a little built-in touchscreen on the desk’s bottom left-hand corner. After you initially store your preferred sitting and standing heights, double-tapping on the touchscreen will cause the desk to move up or down. 

We got to try one out at the office. Watch.

Fast Company’s executive editor, Noah Robischon, swapped desks with Tina Roth Eisenberg, the founder of Swissmiss design studio. He says the desk swap completely changed how he worked:

"During a catered lunch with the Studiomates, I polled the group to find out how many of them had worked in a more traditional office setting. Eight of the dozen people at the table had. None of them think they will ever go back. Offices, a couple of people agreed, were built to create barriers to new ideas and getting things done.

…The collaborative atmosphere energized me (the cold brew coffee helped, too). And it got me thinking about how to apply some of their techniques to my own office.”

More: How spending the day at someone else’s desk changed my work