Maniac Book Club: Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg
The maniac book club enjoyed bestselling author, Charles Duhigg’s first book, Power of Habit, so much that they excitedly jumped into his latest release, an exploration into the science of productivity. In Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Live and Business, he attempts to answer the question of how to get more done without giving up our most precious resource: time.
During an interesting brain study, people were asked to complete a simple number-choosing exercise on a computer, while activity in their brain was monitored. Half the time they were able to choose the answer and the other half of the time, the decision was automatically made by the computer. It was determined that there was more activity in the striatum, or part of the brain responsible for motivation, when the participants had a choice. In other words, simply by looking at your to-do list as a choice, rather than a chore, you can stimulate the part of the brain responsible for motivation. Most people think of organizing as a chore, which can make a cluttered closet feel more like a black hole that you would do anything to avoid. This approach, making chores into choices, may help change that and rewire your brain.
Knowing the Why
Duhigg also reminds us that it is critical to ask yourself why you are doing something. Why have you chosen to get more organized? Perhaps it is to save money for a vacation, or to spend more quality time with your family, or to get healthy by reducing stress and anxiety. When we focus on the reason behind our actions, science has proven that we become more motivated to follow through with it.
Setting the Right Goals
The book also does a great job of exploring actual goal setting. Duhigg suggests that we set “stretch” goals, which are goals that are so big, the path to attaining them is unknown. To be successful with stretch goals, you have to pair them with “SMART” goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. By matching the two together, you can exceed your own expectations, mapping a route to greater success.
Once we become motivated to actually do something, one thing is certain: We will face obstacles. In the book, we are given examples of how to make “mental models” ahead of time to overcome these challenges. Visualizing for 10 minutes a day can help us to think about our goals, situations that may obstruct us, and how we can successful get through them. This way you can avoid cognitive tunneling, which is what happens when we face a problem, and too much starts to go wrong and we focus on one thing and avoid seeing the big picture.
The maniac book club highly recommends Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Live and Business by Charles Duhigg for anyone who wants to become more organized or accomplish more in life.
Do you have a recommended read for the maniac book club? Comment below and let us know!