Improvised Life » productivity http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:33:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 An Engineer’s Strategy for Getting Things Done http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/09/engineers-strategy-getting-things-done/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/09/engineers-strategy-getting-things-done/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 08:30:32 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45868

One of the great gifts of Improvised Life has been correspondence with readers, who are a mightily varied, creative and surprising group of people. Recently, Michigan-based engineer Kevin Neff, responding to the contest/challenge we published a few weeks ago,  has been advising me on how to rig my bed to stop it from transmitting the mysterious vibration that comes through the floor. In addition to the practical solutions — making or buying concrete bed legs of a certain, carefully-calculated weight, and sandwiching them with visco-elastic Sorbothane —he offered an excellent strategy for getting project done. (more…)

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Noticing Gratitude http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/23/noticing-gratitude/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/23/noticing-gratitude/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 07:48:08 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45635

Sybille Palmer

A message came in from a reader today that knocked us out. It was forwarded from our friend and frequent contributor Susan Dworski: (more…)

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Air Baths and Other Ways to Enhance Creativity http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/18/daily-rituals-artists-work/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/18/daily-rituals-artists-work/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:15:17 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45477

At Improvised life,  we’re always interested in ways to become more creative and productive. So when we came across Mason Currey’s latest book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work we were excited. Currey describes personal quirks and daily rituals developed by many of the world’s great artists, musicians and film makers.

From the bizarre right through to the strikingly simple – the book reminds us that we all work in individual and often improvised ways: (more…)

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Be Alert for Bad Productivity Advice http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/15/alert-bad-productivity-advice/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/15/alert-bad-productivity-advice/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:32:20 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45033

We are big fans of 99U and have found quite a few ideas that foster productivity. Some of their posts definitely do not. They got us thinking about all the “sure-fire advice” from supposed experts that we find on the internet, and how easy it is to think we’re doing things wrong.

Here’s an example:
“By waking up just 30 minutes early and jumping right into the work, we can block our mental editor from hindering the idea-generating process. “

(more…)

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Time to Take a Break…We’ll Be Back in September http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/12/time-take-break/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/12/time-take-break/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 07:25:52 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44935

Ernst Haas

If we had to sum up the past few months with a single image, it would be this one. We’ve been roping a wild horse — life — and trying our best to go with it as we launched our Friends with Benefits subscription service and Improvised Life’s Store, saw a dear friend through a major health crisis, and navigated a recent, unexpected crisis with another. Many challenges to be sure.

We’re deeply tired and need to recharge and regroup. We’ll be back full of beans just after Labor Day as we put into practice an essential principle of an improvised life: (more…)

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To Be Able To Say Yes, You Need to Be Able To Say No http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/05/able-say-yes-need-able-say/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/05/able-say-yes-need-able-say/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 23:00:14 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44821

Dominic Wilcox

We’ve come to love the word YES, and post it often as a reminder to embrace the opportunities that come along, and go with them.

But we realize that there is a very important other side to YES, and that is being able to say NO. (more…)

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The Time is Now…Stefan Sagmeister on Happiness http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/04/time-now/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/04/time-now/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 22:43:10 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44777

Stefan Sagmeister

When uber-designer Stefan Sagmeister was asked “If you were to give advice on happiness—and I acknowledge that this is a tough question—is there one thing you’d suggest?”

Write down 3 things that worked for you each evening, things you might be thankful for. I started an ical calendar that contains this and I just spend 5 minutes each night doing it. This is an exercise from Marty Seligman, the founder of positive psychology. It works.

We notice he didn’t say “Write down three things that made you happy” but rather “Write down 3 things that worked for you“: a bit different. “What worked (more...)]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/04/time-now/feed/ 0 Intuitive Method for Organizing Stuff http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/04/organize-little-stuff-cool-plastic-boxes/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/04/organize-little-stuff-cool-plastic-boxes/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:19:49 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44784

(Video link HERE.) I LOVE this video! Filmmaker/designer Casey Neistat describes his great Intuitive Categorization Method for organizing his tools and little stuff. I’m loving it especially because it showed up right on time, in time, this morning. (more…)

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Trees and Ideas (Why Not Plant One?) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/15/berkopecs-trees-plant-one/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/15/berkopecs-trees-plant-one/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 08:50:00 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43246

hedviggen.tumblr.com

About the time we saw this sign at Hedviggen, we stumbled on an image of a tree growing at an extreme angle by Jaci Berkopec, in the School of Visual Arts’ annual student photography portfolio. (more…)

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Motivational Passwords Are Your Daily Digital Mantra http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/14/tinypost-motivational-passwords-daily-digital-mantra/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/14/tinypost-motivational-passwords-daily-digital-mantra/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 08:21:19 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44082

Sally Schneider via Thich Nhat Hanh.

We often think of computer passwords as utilitarian, if we even think of them at all; they’re ugly, unwieldy little burdens that exist only to keep our information safe. Mauricio Estrella decided to shift his thinking and use his passwords as a message to himself that he must think about every day. (more…)

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“Do What You Love” Every Day in Small Doses… http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/03/love-everyday-small-doses/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/03/love-everyday-small-doses/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 08:49:01 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=42018

Recently, Sally showed me Gordon Marino’s NY Times article, “A Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love”. The gist: the oft-repeated 21st century American mantra of following your true passions — instead of dull but reliable career paths — is misguided. 

There’s a hint of naïve entitlement to making “Do What You Love” the be-all-end-all answer to the workday blues, just as suggesting “Just move!” when a friend’s neighborhood turns dangerous comes across as simplistic and dismissive. Sometimes, you just can’t. At the heart of the matter is devaluing other forms of dedication, labor, work. Must we passionately love everything that we give attention to? Why?
(more…)

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12 More Commandments Culled from Commencement Speeches http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/27/12-commandments-culled-commencement-speeches/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/27/12-commandments-culled-commencement-speeches/#comments Tue, 27 May 2014 08:11:56 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=41620

kottke.org

NPR’S searchable archive of the best commencement speeches has been making the rounds on the internet. When you take a look at the most popular themes or take-home messages in th speeches, you end up with a list that seem like great additions to the “commandments” we started compiling the other day. (more…)

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37 Signals on the Value of Constraints http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/20/thinking-inside-box-value-constraints/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/20/thinking-inside-box-value-constraints/#comments Tue, 20 May 2014 23:00:27 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=41358

S. Gross for The New Yorker

This New Yorker cartoon celebrates the benefits of constraints and limitations (even ordinary ones): those things that define a problem, that you have to work with in order to find a solution. We learned to LOVE them because they’ve usually led to our most creative explorations, as well as ordinary but useful solutions. We found some fine advice about constraints at 37 Signals’ (more…)

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Standards, a NON Digital Self Management System http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/01/standards-non-digital-self-management-system/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/01/standards-non-digital-self-management-system/#comments Thu, 01 May 2014 21:00:04 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=40740

Jake Lodwick created an online-customizable, free-print-out management system called Standards. According to Lodwick: In a matter of months, you'll be a high-performing, self-directed Überperson – guaranteed!" We're gonna try it! ]]>
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