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10 Videos That Will Increase Your Productivity

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1. First, let’s start with the science behind productivity.

2. Getting things done is sometimes about saying, “NO!” thinks Steve Jobs.

3. Eddie Obeng tells us productivity is about…failure

4. To be productive, focus on happiness.

5. Productivity may mean ending you social life.

6. Merlin Mann tells Google how to get things done.

7. To be productive, master the “Pomodoro Technique.”

8. Tim Ferris of 4-Hour Workweek fame discusses productivity and introduces the 4 hour day.

9. Take advice from Nick Cave’s creative process and productive work habits.

10. Ray Bradbury’s persistence boosts productivity.

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How Georges Simenon Wrote Nearly 200 Books

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Georges Simenon wrote nearly 200 books and is the creator of Jules Maigret, the world’s second most famous pipe-smoking detective. Each of Simenon’s books are not only critical successes, but they remain popular and in print.

But how did Simenon do it? Follows are Simeon’s productivity strategies that we can all learn from.

1. Build Momentum

“On the eve of the first day I know what will happen in the first chapter. Then, day after day, chapter after chapter, I find what comes later,” says Simenon. “After I have started a novel I write a chapter each day, without ever missing a day. Because it is a strain, I have to keep pace with the novel. If, for example, I am ill for forty-eight hours, I have to throw away the previous chapters. And I never return to that novel.” If the momentum is lost the energy and creativity of an idea may be drained. Build momentum for projects; don’t start and stop them.

2. Work in Bursts

Simenon cannot maintain his work rate for weeks at a time. “It’s almost unbearable after five or six days [of writing],” Simenon says. “That is one of the reasons my novels are so short; after eleven days I can’t—it’s impossible…it’s physical. I am too tired.”

After six to eleven days of writing Simenon would spend “three days to a week” editing and cutting down.

He elaborates, “Five or six times a year, at the very most, I retire into my own shell for eight days and, at the end of that time, a novel emerges.”

3. Eliminate Distractions

When asked about his impressive output, Simenon says, “My literary colleagues: they live in Paris, they lead quite worldly lives, and they pursue the manifold activities of men of letters. They give lectures, they write articles, they give innumerable interviews…. But I don’t do any of those things. I live tucked away with my family.” By eliminating all other distraction Simenon can focus on one thing.

4. Don’t Listen to Critics

“All the critics for twenty years have said the same thing: ‘It is time for Simenon to give us a big novel, a novel with twenty or thirty characters.’ They do not understand. I will never write a big novel.” Simeon didn’t let the opinion of critics change is writing style or creative output. He continued to do what he did best.

5. Passion

Simenon, of course, was able to produce so much as a result of pure passion. In one interview he says, “I need to write. If someone gave me the biggest fortune in the world tomorrow, it would make me miserable and physically sick if it served to prevent me from writing.”

Simeon wrote not as a hobby, but as a physical compulsion.

6. Use a Simple Outline 

I know nothing about the events when I begin the novel,” says Simenon. Instead, Simenon simply decides on an atmosphere and, “On [a] envelope I put only the names of the characters, their ages, their families. I know nothing whatever about the events that will occur later. Otherwise it would not be interesting to me.”

Explore problems without working toward a set goal. Let creativity and playfulness yield results.


If you want to increase your productivity, it takes some planning and hard work–and a focus on things that are important to you. Even if your goal isn’t to write detective novels, you can still take a page from Georges Simenon.

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How to Stay Humble

As discussed in a previous article, Don’t Let Hubris Be Your Downfall, arrogance and overconfidence can lead to the demise of many leaders. So what should leaders do if they start to go down the wrong path and feel they are losing touch with their humility? Following a few pieces of key advice can make all the difference between a leader who is disliked and must worry about maintaining authority and one who thrives with employees’ admiration and respect.

1. Stay in touch with employees in all levels of the company.

Staying in touch with employees at different levels of the company is really important as it showcases well-rounded involvement with the company and enhances presence. It is also a direct way to detect real problems that are happening throughout the company early. To implement, it can be as simple as regularly visiting other office floors and sites.

2. Go into nature

Many classic poets and novelists knew this secret. Nature can have a powerful humbling effect on the mind. When leaders spend a great deal of time reigning over their man-made kingdom, it helps to get out and see the parts of nature that are more powerful than what they have created. One can take a weekend hiking trip or catch views of a powerful waterfall.

3. Spend time with family and people who like you for you

Along with success comes the presence of opportunists. Sometimes it’s hard to stay grounded when surrounded by people who just want to flatter and praise in order to extract something. It is really important to spend time with family, pets, friends from college, or any people who are more interested in quality time than what you can do for them.

4. Do some hands-on philanthropy

Many leaders are generous and supportive of a multitude of causes. Going out and doing real philanthropy hands-on is another experience. Even if the monetary donation is not high, hands-on charity work has a powerful humbling effect and allows one to appreciate all that one has.

5. Consider moving your office location

Several CEOs have described the benefits of moving their offices to more centralized and accessible locations. Like staying in touch with all employees by moving around, central office locations increase visibility and give other employees the feeling that the leader is directly involved in all company matters.

6. Create systems of checks and balances

One of the best ways to stay humble is to keep your opinions in check. A leader can do this by surrounding himself with people who maintain company values. Limit absolute powers so that several knowledgeable people are involved in making important decisions.

7. Encourage dissent

Maybe it sounds good to hear everyone agree with your views, but how many novel solutions are you really going to come up with if you do not encourage employees to digress? A humble leader knows that having a great idea is not an exclusive act. Besides, ideas are usually enhanced when everyone is encouraged to speak up.

8. Admit and fix mistakes

There is nothing wrong with admitting that you made a mistake. In fact, admitting that as a leader, you still make mistakes is admitting that you are human and real. It is one of the best ways to stay humble as proud leaders are less likely to ever admit that they were wrong.

9. Treat everyone with respect

It is easy to blame people when they make mistakes and ignore achievements of different employees. It is much more fruitful to forgive people for their mistakes, and provide mentorship and motivation so they fix their own errors. Forgiveness and respect go a long way in making you well-liked.

10. Don’t lose the traits that got you there in the first place

Many leaders change their working style once they attain a certain position. However, if the skills that led to your success include things like the ability to collaborate, then it does not make much sense to suddenly become a one-person act. Remember which traits directly contributed to your success, then work on honing those skills, not abandoning them.

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How Important Is Natural Talent?

In a recent article written in the Wall Street Journal, author Heidi Grant Halvorson tries to dispel the “Success Myth.”

So what is this myth about? According to her research, it is about how people attribute success and high accomplishments to innate ability or inborn talent. In other words, because most of us believe that there are things we are naturally better at than others, we tend to invest our time in those things that come easily to us and divest our time from things that require more effort.

The problem with this approach is that Halvorson does not buy into the idea that success is really about innate ability in the first place. As a Ph.D. in motivational psychology and an author who essentially studies achievement for a living, she repeatedly finds that measures of “ability” such as intelligence, creativity, and IQ are quite poor predictors of future success.

According to her findings, the real predictor of success is strategizing. Strategies like being committed, recognizing temptations, planning ahead, monitoring progress, and persisting when the going gets tough, are amongst those that she claims make all the difference between success and failure.

Thinking that success is contingent on innate ability can lead down a slippery slope and unnecessarily become a self-fulfilling prophecy!

Buy into her theory? If so, read about in her own words: “The Success Myth

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Is Charisma Enough?

Last week Professor Samuel Bacharach wrote Charisma Is Not Enough. Great Leaders Execute for Inc.’s online blog.

Leadership isn’t about vision, personality, or bright ideas. As the article illustrates–it’s about execution and getting things done. Here’s an excerpt:

“As an entrepreneur, as a leader, as a person with drive and ambition, what you care about is moving from potential to execution and that means moving an agenda. Charisma and vision may get you in the door, they may even get you elected, but in  the final analysis, leadership is about execution.”