Fun is so much more efficient than efficiency

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We tend to do things we find pleasurable and avoid things we find painful. But we often forget the obvious as we try to push to get things done. Efficiency, it turns out, is the enemy of fun.

Sometimes we get in our own way.Like when we procrastinate on something challenging, something important, perhaps without even knowing why, pushing it off, letting other things take its place.It’s where most of us fail.And yet it’s the lone bridge across which ideas become accomplishments.We need to follow through, to strongly and diplomatically manage ourselves and other people, so nothing prevents us from accomplishing and becoming all that we can.Write and Speak About My Ideas.But it’s hard work, with somewhat flexible deadlines, and tempting to push off for more urgent, easier tasks.In other words, it’s a lot easier to decide that writing is important than it is to actually spend time writing.In reality, my writing time is fragile.This is a struggle that many of us experience all the time.We don’t follow through.So now, whenever I can, I schedule my writing to start somewhere between five and six in the morning.At that time, there’s little to distract me and I can spend three to four hours writing before the official business day starts.The best ideas are useless if we can’t get started, don’t follow through, or get disrupted.Mastering Your InitiativeTo get anything done, we need the traction to initiate movement from a standstill.In many ways, getting started is the hardest part.Not that eating and cleaning and email aren’t worthwhile.And often, procrastination’s strongest influence is at the beginning of a project.The surprising thing is that many times the task I’m avoiding is actually one I enjoy.And once I get started, I find it hard to stop.But if the task is big and challenging, requiring deep thought and effort, it can feel daunting and I frequently find myself reluctant to start.We’ll start by exploring an interesting technique to get things done without needing motivation at all.Then we’ll see how, when we do need motivation, we need only a little bit, fun can be a great booster, fear can be a useful kick in the pants, and our thoughts lead the way.First, let’s start by looking at one way to skirt the need for motivation completely.Aren’t we lucky the lion is out, I mused to the ranger on the train with us.He’s always out there, sitting on that rock, he responded.How do you get him to stay in that exact spot?The ranger just smiled.Several years ago, I lived in Savannah, Georgia.We moved there from New York City for a variety of reasons, one of which was to enjoy more relaxed outdoor living.Our kitchen had French doors that opened onto a deck that was about six feet square.At the far end of the deck were four steps that led down to a patio garden.Our plan was to eat every meal there.But our plan failed.Somehow, though, we always chose to eat in the kitchen, where all the food, drinks, plates, and utensils were.The idea of eating outside was alluring.But the reality was, apparently, too much effort.Until one day I had a brainstorm.It was an experiment more than anything.The difference was about ten feet and four steps.After that, we ate every single meal outside.On a certain level, this may seem obvious.Parents tell teens not to drink.Schools tell teens not to drink.Television ads tell teens not to drink.The law prohibits teens from drinking and prohibits liquor stores from selling to teens.Because, to a larger extent than you probably realize, your environment dictates your actions.Brian did a series of fascinating studies that suggest the reasons we eat have little to do with hunger and a tremendous amount to do with the subtle cues that drive us.For example, if you use a big spoon, you’ll eat more.If you serve yourself on a big plate, you’ll eat more.If you move the small bowl of chocolates on your desk six feet away, you’ll eat half as much.If you have a bowl of soup that never gets less than half full, you’ll eat more.And the more people you eat with, the more you’ll eat.In the case of food, using a salad

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