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    The power of ritual

    Not too long ago, I read Mason Curry’s Daily Rituals — How Artists Work. It’s a fascinating book. Literally. I could hardly put it down. And yet, I hesitate to recommend it. The reason for my hesitation has more to do with the book’s reception than with the book itself. Oliver Burkman, writing for the Guardian describes how he was inspired by Curry’s book to change his own daily habits and rituals — rising early like Hemingway, drinking strong coffee like Beethoven, and walking outdoors like Franklin. He goes on to produce (a perhaps tongue-in-cheek) listicle based on Curry’s book, eplaining to readers, amongst other things, that practicing strategic substance abuse and…

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    Use your brain’s processing power wisely

    Back in the day it was common to charge by the hour for time on a computer. I suppose that dying institution, the cyber café, still does this, and of course in research facilities and university departments across the globe, time on a mainframe or supercomputer is still allocated on a chargeable basis. Computer scientists break down complicated things (like showing you cat video on your phone) into individual calculations. Each design of computer processor can figure out a certain number of these calculations per cycle, and it cycles a certain number of times per hour. It takes a certain amount of work (let’s define that as processing power multiplied…

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    5 ways procrastination can happen and what to do about them

    All of us procrastinate at some point. Some of us do it quite a bit. Quite a few of us do it so much that it seriously gets in the way of us achieving our goals and getting what we want in life. Here’s a quick run-down of some of the ways you’ll spot procrastination, and my ideas on beating them. Many of the solutions are in fact interchangeable because procrastination has only a couple of underlying causes, but these pairings up of procrastination type and solution seem to be the ones my students have best luck with. (Obviously these are things I’ve seen in other people, not myself. I’m perfect.)…

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    How to bring creative thinking into your work — become playful

    Unless you’re an artist, you may not often think about creativity as being important for your work (or your life), but unless you work on a factory production line with a particularly autocratic boss, creativity matters. At its core, creativity is nothing more than coming up with new ways of doing things, and it’s the keystone of interesting work. You might think of progress itself as nothing more than the creativity that stuck around. When we feel stuck on a project, the sense of dissatisfaction comes from the fact that we have a problem to solve and none of the solutions currently on the table feel quite adequate. We need alternative…