Smarter useful information on improving productivity in our

Smarter
Faster Better by Charles Duhigg discovers eight different concepts and how they
affect to our daily life. These concepts include motivation, teamwork, focus,
goal setting, managing others, making decisions, innovation and absorbing data.
Upon finishing this book I gained a lot of useful information on improving
productivity in our routine life and also in business by, first of all, reading
the theory behind improvement of productivity even though most of them are already
familiar to me, and, secondly, most importantly, analyzing the examples that
happened in a real life. In this essay, I will give brief and most important information
of each concept.

1.     
Motivation

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Since,
nowadays, large companies prefer freelance jobs to lifelong employment,
understanding motivation become significantly important. Therefore, it is necessary
to know how to set goals, prioritize tasks, and make choices about which
projects to pursue. There is a phrase in the book that really affected to me: Motivation
is more like a skill, akin to reading or writing that can be learned or honed
1. There are several factors that can affect to our motivation: control,
making choices and emotional numbness.

From
some research works it was observed that prerequisite to motivation is taking
into control our actions and surroundings. When people believe that they are in
control, they start to work harder and push themselves more because they;
consequently, they become more confident and overcome setbacks faster.

The
most efficient way to show that we are in control is by making decisions, which
is second factor of successful motivation. Each choice, no matter whether it is
small or important decision, reinforces the perception of control. However, it
is not enough to self-motivate ourselves by making decisions only for
expressing our self-control, it is also necessary to approve our values and
goal, i.e. prove ourselves that our choices are meaningful.

Some
studies concluded that emotional numbness is one of the reasons of feeling no
motivation. One of the situations is that some people has forgotten the feeling
of making good choices while other situation is that some people never learned
what it feels to be self-determined. It is very essential to show self-motivation
from our childhood by applauding a child who shows defiant, self-righteous stubbornness.

2.     
Teams

This
chapter can be concluded by the following sentence: “How teams work matters, in
a lot of ways, more than who is on them” 1. Now let’s discuss this phrase. It
does not matter whether there are average or well-educated people in your team,
if you teach them to interact in proper way, they will be able to complete
every difficult task. In addition to that, it is important to consider opinions
of each member of a team, so that they can feel like they have a voice. There
five key norms mentioned in this book:

·        
Teams need to believe that their work is
important;

·        
They need to feel their work is personally
meaningful;

·        
Teams need clear goals and defined roles;

·        
Members need to know they can depend on one
another;

·        
But, most important, teams need
psychological safety 1.

There
are many factors that affect in creating psychological safety and all of them
is dependent on leader. These factors designed by Google which include:

·        
Not interrupting teammates during
conversation;

·        
Listening every member by summarizing what
they said;

·        
Staying at the meeting until all team
members have spoken at least once;

·        
Encouraging people who are upset to express
their frustrations;

·        
Admitting when not knowing something;

·        
Calling out intergroup conflicts and
resolve them through open discussion 1.

 

3.     
Focus

Nowadays,
knowing how to manage our focus is becoming more critical since automation has
been widely used in almost every aspect of our lives and all human being rely
on cognitive automations which allows us to multitask; as a result, there is a
possibility that our attention spans will fail. In order to become more
productive, it is necessary to take control of our attention by, for example, visualizing
our day before going to work or by forcing yourself to anticipate what is next.

 

One
of the ways of improving our focus is reactive thinking which includes building
habits, making to-do lists and calendar alerts. Rather than thinking about what
to do next, we can properly use our reactive instincts and automatically
proceed. However, main limitation of reactive thinking is that habits and
reactions can become so automatic they overpower our judgement.

4.     
Goal
Setting

In
this chapter author mentions about Stretch goals and Smart goals which means
having a large ambition and a system for converting this ambition into a
concrete and realistic plan. One of the methods of fulfilling your ambitions is
to construct to-do list and properly use it. The main problem that most of the
people is facing when creating to-do list is writing a series of short-term
objectives without asking if it is the right aim; as a result, allowing our
brains to seize on the sense of satisfaction that each task will deliver.

However,
creating to-do list with only far-reaching objectives is also not preferable since
it can discourage people from achieving this goal and turn away. Therefore, it
is necessary to combine stretch goals (long-term) and smart goals. First of
all, it is better to make a list of biggest ambitions and then start breaking it
into short-term, concrete steps (for example, daily or monthly progress of
achieving these goals). As an example let’s take running marathon and construct
goal flow chart for this:

1)      Stretch
goal: Run marathon

2)      Specific:
Run 10 kilometers without stopping

3)      Measurable:
Run three times around the territory of the Nazarbayev University without
walking

4)      Achievable:
Run three times a week

5)      Realistic:
Wake up early on Monday, Wednesday and Friday

6)      Timeline:
Run 5 kilometers this week, 7 next week and 10 next.

 

5.     
Managing
Others

The
author of this book mentioned about the study that was conducted by Stanford
professors Baron and Hannan where they compared four different types of
workplace culture which are: Engineering culture, Bureaucratic culture,
Autocratic culture and Commitment culture. The study concluded that a
commitment culture outperformed every other type of management style in almost
every meaningful way. The reason behind of this success is that the CEOs of
commitment companies considers that getting the culture right is more important
than designing the best product; therefore, they choose employees slowly, so
that they have time to find people who surpass at self-direction 1. Another
possible reason is that there was a sense of trust emerged between all workers,
no matter whether he/she was ordinary worker or manager or customer; as a
result, everyone is willing to work harder and stick together through the setbacks,
which resulted in creating and developing teamwork and loyalty of the workers to
the company.