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The Incrementalist

Author: Dyan Williams

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Welcome to The Incrementalist podcast! Hosted by Dyan Williams - productivity & purpose coach and solo lawyer - this show offers simple techniques and tools to focus on your top priorities and design a well-lived life. You will who learn how to use the Incrementalist approach to turn your ideas into action, maximize focus, and make time for what truly matters.

Website: www.dyanwilliams.com

18 Episodes
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Making time for what matters is hard when you're on the Busyness Wagon and stuck in the Infinity Pool.The Busyness Bandwagon is the culture of constant busyness. In the high tech, modern world, busyness is a status symbol – the busier you are, the more in demand you are, and the more successful you become. That’s the common belief. Infinity Pools are apps, services and products that have infinite content and are always on.  There’s social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter; video streaming like YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime, and web browsers like Safari, Google Chrome, and Bing, which give you 24/7 access to information around the world. You can dip back into Infinity Pools at any time to find fresh content. There’s always more water in the pool.In episode 18 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will learn: 1.  Why it's important to get off the Busyness Bandwagon and avoid Infinity Pools2.  Four steps to repeat daily to make time for what matters -  Highlight - choose your highlight of the day (i.e. identify the one big thing to do today, which ideally will take 60 to 90 minutes) Laser - beat distractions like social media, email and news feeds (i.e. find laser mode to focus on the big thing) Energize - build energy in your body and brain (i.e. have the energy to do the big thing) Reflect - decide which tactics you want to keep, drop or tweak (i.e. determine what worked and what didn't work in making time for the big thing) 3. Three strategies to choose your highlight -  Urgency - what’s the most pressing thing I have to do today?  Satisfaction - which highlight will bring me the most satisfaction?  Joy - when I reflect on today, what will bring me the most joy?  4. Tactics to build laser focus, recharge your body and brain, and reflect on your day to decide on what to do tomorrowResources cited:  Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky, Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day  The Incrementalist podcast, Ep. 16, Hack Back Email  Music by:Sebastian Brian MehrDyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
The main goal of smart note-taking is not to stay informed. It’s to increase understanding and build your knowledge base, which you can apply to your creative projects and productive work. You learn best when you connect ideas and evaluate the information. Does this confirm, contradict, or add to your existing knowledge? Have you mastered the subject enough to explain it or teach it to others through a presentation, an article, or a paper? How will your knowledge hold up in a test or in a real-world situation? In episode 17 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will learn:1) The difference between being familiar with a subject and actually knowing it2) Why writing is a core part of the thinking process, i.e. the medium in which you think and not the outcome of your thinking3) The Zettelkasten slip box method for smart note-taking, which was invented by Niklas Lumaan -- a German sociologist who published at least 58 books and nearly 400 scholarly articles on various topics4) The three types of notes to make -  Fleeting notes, e.g. highlighting and underlining text; jotting down quick notes Literature notes, e.g. writing notes in your own words for future projects Permanent notes, e.g. storing notes in the Zettlekasten for long-term knowledge 5) The "reference slip box" is for source citations and brief notes while the "main slip box" is for permanent notes6) The profound benefits of having an external system for note-taking and managing knowledge you have a standardized, process-oriented method for organizing ideas and retrieving them you create bottom-up work so you're not starting from scratch or with a blank slate you avoid the linear path to writing and instead pull from existing notes and ideas you learn more and apply more from your reading you become a more critical and original thinker Resources cited: Sönke Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing Learning and Thinking - for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers Music by:Sebastian Brian MehrDyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
Hack Back Email

Hack Back Email

2021-04-2818:10

When you’re being responsive and responsible, you can easily slip into reactive mode. You end up neglecting important work that is less urgent but brings more long-term value. With the rise in social media, texting, and messaging platforms like Slack, some might say email is dead. But email continues to be alive and well. In episode 16 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will learn:1. Internal triggers (e.g. boredom, anxiety, frustration) and external triggers (e.g. pings and dings) lead to distraction2. The critical question to ask in deciding whether an external trigger is helpful or not3. The opposite of distraction is traction4. Time spent on email = the number of messages received multiplied by the average time spent per message.  T = n x t5. Seven tips to hack back email - Stop the influx at its source. Process your email, instead of just check, scan or read your email. Block time for batch processing your email. Close out or shut down email when you’re doing focused work. And switch off auto-alerts. Take email off your phone or handheld device. Use proper email etiquette.   Improve your workflow to reduce back and forth communication.  6. A dysfunctional workplace – where you are always connected - is the real culprit. Tech overuse creates a vicious cycle of responsiveness, where you have less control over your time, think you need to be always available to get ahead, and set expectations to be always on. At indistractable organizations, leaders set examples for doing focused work and acknowledge the problems of 24/7 access.Resources cited:  Nir Eyal, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life The Incrementalist podcast, Ep. 2, Building Good Habits The Incrementalist podcast, Ep. 3, Breaking Bad Habits Music by:Sebastian Brian MehrDyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
Your shut-down sequence - before bedtime - creates the environment for you to rest, relax and sleep. Without a full rejuvenation overnight, it’s harder to take charge of your day.    In episode 15 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will learn:1. The importance of both productive tasks and restorative tasks in your evening routine. You need to review your day and plan for the next as well as relax and rest completely. If you wind down enough before your bedtime, you will have space for an effective evening routine. 2. The value of sleep and how the sleep cycle works - Stage 1 - alpha state Stage 2 - theta state Stages 3 and 4 - delta state REM sleep  3. Ways to create a sleep sanctuary to improve sleep quality and duration4.  Key things to avoid in your evening routine -  Screens (e.g. TV, computer, laptop, tablet, phone) in the 30 to 90-minute period before bedtime Dinner in the 2 to 3-hour period before bedtime  Vigorous exercise and full workout in the 4 to 6-hour period before bedtime Caffeine intake after 2 to 3 p.m. or in the 5 to 8-hour period before bedtime Alcohol consumption in the 3-hour period before bedtime 5. Key things to include in your evening routine - Productive tasks - Review your day and preview the next day Do prep work, e.g. pick out clothes and clean up your work space and living space Learn new information or practice a hobby Restorative tasks -  Journal Read fiction or other nonwork-related book Enjoy a teatime ritual with noncaffeinated herbal tea (e.g. camomile or Valerian root) about an hour before you go to bed  Do gentle movement or exercise Practice relaxing breathwork Pray or meditate or listen to mellow music 6. The advantage of a maintaining a consistent bedtime, synching with your circadian rhythm, and building good sleep habitsResources cited:  Shawn Stevenson, Sleep Smarter  The Incrementalist podcast, Ep. 8, How to Plan Your Ideal Week The Incrementalist podcast, Ep. 14, Morning Routines and Rituals to Start Your Day Music by:Sebastian Brian MehrDyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
Your start-up sequence - after you wake up - affects your mood and sets the tone for your day. While you can make shifts and practice good habits later in the day, it's better to get quick wins with your morning routine.In episode 14 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will learn: 1. A routine doesn’t have to be rigid. You could have different themes depending on your energy level, the focus of your day, the season of your life, or the season of the year. 2. A routine may include fixed tasks or variable tasks. A fixed task is what you do every morning; maybe it's drinking water or tea, or taking a walk. A variable task is what you can move or drop depending on the situation; maybe it's eating breakfast or going to the gym.  You decide what’s negotiable and what’s not.  3. The difference between a routine and a ritual. A routine is a sequence of behaviors and habits that you do in a certain order. They are things you do automatically and repeatedly without conscious thought.  A ritual requires focus and attention to the present moment.  Rituals are meaningful activities you do deliberately. 4. Key things to include in your morning routine -  Movement Sunlight Quick wins, e.g. make your bed, drink water 5. Key things to avoid in your morning routine -  Online activity, e.g. social media, news, emails The snooze button or multiple alarms Sugary foods 6. Hal Elrod's 6 steps to create a morning routine and save you from a life of unfulfilled potential. They are Life S.A.V.E.R.S Silence Affirmation Visualization Exercise Reading Scribing Resources cited:  Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning The Incrementalist podcast, Ep. 2, Building Good Habits The Incrementalist podcast, Ep. 3, Breaking Bad Habits Music by:Sebastian Brian MehrDyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
If you find yourself rushing through tasks, worrying about things you’re not doing, or having items linger for weeks or months, you might think that to-do lists don’t work. Your to-do list didn’t appear by itself. You made it. So maybe the answer is not to stop making to-do lists. Instead, you need to be more intentional and organize it around your real priority or priorities. In episode 13 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will learn 5 reasons why to-do lists might not work and what you can do to make them work better.Reason #1: You’re using too many mediums or the wrong medium.Solution: Choose one medium that’s right for you or use the lowest number of organizational task management systems that help you do the things you need to get done. Reason #2: You have too many things on your to-do list. Solution:  Keep it short and simple. Less is more. Use your weekly planning session to set your daily to-dos. Reason #3: Your to-do list doesn’t prioritize what really matters.Solution: Be more selective and intentional when you make your to-do list. If you’re not eager to do a task, ask yourself whether it’s vital for you to personally complete. If it is, stop procrastinating and take action. If it’s not, dump it from your list, delegate the task, or move it to your someday/maybe list.Reason #4: You define your items too broadly. Solution: Break down goals and projects into manageable action steps. Divide big tasks into smaller sub-tasks that are actionable. Reason #5: You have too many micro steps.Solution:  Switch to macro steps. Tasks like clean the office, write blog post, and prepare notes for podcast episode are macro. You don’t always need to break up projects into small steps. Even though it works to make big changes in small steps, you start with tiny only when it’s necessary to gain traction. When created without much thought, your to-do list can make it hard to execute on important tasks or steer you toward low leverage tasks. But when made with intention, your to-do list can help you stay on track, get organized around your priorities, channel your attention, and make steady progress on what matters.  Resources cited:  David Allen, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity The Incrementalist podcast, Ep. 8, How to Plan Your Ideal Week The Inrementalist podcast, Ep. 9, Why Weekly Planning Works Music by: Sebastian Brian MehrDyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
Linear thinking is the common, default mode when we work on projects and tackle problems. This includes making specific plans and listing action steps. It keeps us organized and on track. But linear thinking is not effective in addressing adaptive challenges with uncertain outcomes. To get unstuck and solve complex problems, you could blend Divergent Thinking and Convergent Thinking. This leads to creative problem solving, where you generate new, original ideas that are meaningful, valuable and practical. In 1956, American psychologist J.P. Guilford coined the terms Divergent Thinking and Convergent Thinking to describe two cognitive approaches to tackle problems and find innovative solutions. The interplay between these two contrasting styles of mental processing leads to optimal performance. Divergent thinking asks, “Why not?” Convergent thinking asks, “Why?” Divergent thinking generates different ideas and multiple solutions. You begin with a prompt and generate many solutions. Although the process is structured, you stay open-minded and open-ended as you brainstorm ideas and explore possibilities. There’s no analysis, no judgment, and no arguments being made.Convergent thinking narrows down multiple ideas into a single solution.  You begin with information and converge around a solution that works best. You organize your ideas, evaluate and analyze them, weigh the pros and cons, and make decisions. In episode 12 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will discover:1) The four steps in JP Guilford's model of creative thinking Define the problem you wish to solve Apply Divergent Thinking to spark ideas and create choices Use Convergent Thinking to evaluate ideas and make choices Finalize the solution and prepare to implement it 2) Why you need to keep the two modes of thinking separate from each other3) How to use Nominal Group Technique (NGT) for brainstorming sessions4) Creativity tactics to generate ideas and innovation  Work under a lofty ceiling Make noise Dim the lights Get a good night's sleep Take a nap Do yoga. Or meditate 5) Two examples of Divergent Thinking and Convergent Thinking working together to create a successful service or product: Twitter (social medial platform) and 3M's Post-it® Note (sticky note). Resources cited: Anne Manning, Divergent vs. Convergent Thinking: How to Strike a Balance (May 10, 2016, Harvard Extension School, Professional Development Blog) Donald M. Rattner, My Creative Space: How to Design Your Home to Stimulate Ideas and Spark Innovation Dyan Williams, Mind Mapping: A Mental Tool for Generating Ideas and Solving Problems, ABA Law Practice Today Music by:Sebastian Brian MehrStay creative & logical,Dyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
To solve problems, you must access and activate the neural networks in your brain.  There’s the task-positive network and the task-negative network. Task-positive is focused mode. And task-negative is diffused mode. You cannot use both at the same time. Instead, you move from one to the next to fully understand a problem and generate the best ideas to solve it. In episode 11 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will discover: The difference between the focused mode and the diffused mode of thinking The reasons you need both modes to learn new things and solve problems The limitations of the focused mode, e.g. Einstellung effect The limitations of the diffused mode, e.g. lack of deliberate practice Salvador Dali and Thomas Edison's use of micronaps (hypnagogia) to get unstuck and generate ideas How to activate each thinking mode and move from one mode to the other Why mind mapping is better than linear note taking for connecting ideas and seeing the big picture Resources cited:  Barbara Oakley, Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential Daniel Levitin, Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload Dyan Williams, Mind Mapping: A Mental Tool for Generating Ideas and Solving Problems, ABA Law Practice Today Music by:Sebastian Brian MehrStay focused & diffused,Dyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
Work and rest are not competitors; they are equal partners. Active rest is a skill that you integrate into your day. It’s not just the absence of work. In this episode, you will learn 6 tips to rest deliberately even when you're busy:  Tip 1: Try napping for 20 minutes, preferably after lunch when you're in the afternoon slump. If you're in an office setting where naps are not convenient, sit comfortably in a quiet space, close your eyes, and rest.   Tip 2: Participate in deep play that is physically engaging, but not too mentally taxing. Physical activity and creative hobbies are highly restorative. Tip 3: Savor a real break instead of mix it with work. After every 90 to 120 minutes of focused work, it's ideal to detach and rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Unplug and leave the digital devices behind.  Tip 4:  Take a vacation or sabbatical. You reach maximum restoration with 7 to 8 days of vacation. The benefits of a vacation can last for 2 months or so. Aim to take one every 2 to 3 months for peak performance. At the very least, have weekends when you switch completely off from work.  Tip 5: Set clear boundaries between work and rest. If you do remote work, you could create a fake commute to transition from home to office mode. Keep a start-up routine to transition into work and a shut-down routine to move out of it.  Tip 6: Consider workplace cultures, structural changes and societal dimensions of work. Law firms and consulting services, for example, might need to shift from time-based to project-based billing to encourage optimal work-to-rest ratios. Personal productivity can only go so far if your work environment or organizational culture doesn't support deep work and deep play. Resources cited: Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Shorter: Work Better, Smarter, and Less - Here's How  Music by: Sebastian Brian MehrCheers,Dyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
A Weekly Planning session gives you a broader perspective of what you need to get done. It also gives you more flexibility to get the right things done. It's often more essential than a daily to-do list or a daily action plan.In this episode, you'll learn about why weekly planning works, and how it creates more clarity, control, focus and flow:1. Clarity: Weekly planning reduces overwhelm and makes space for your best work with greater ease. It gives you more direction in how you will move forward on your high-level projects, while taking care of routine tasks and obligations to others.  The Five Projects Rule The four blocks to plan your days in each week: focus blocks, social blocks, admin blocks and recovery blocks 2.  Control: Weekly planning reduces stress and feelings of defeat because it puts you in control of the next 7 days. It not only gives you more flexibility, but also allows you to be more spontaneous.  You have a whole week, not just a day to accomplish key tasks.  The Eisenhower Matrix or Priority Matrix: important and urgent; important and not urgent; urgent and not important; not important and not urgent Do, defer (schedule), delegate, drop 3. Focus: Weekly planning gives you more freedom to focus. It makes daily planning easier because you can add, delete, and check tasks off as you move through the week. It puts you in proactive mode instead of just react to what comes up in the day or what’s coming up the next day.  Triage your calendar and task list Use weekly to-do list instead of a daily one 4. Flow: Weekly planning produces more flow, which is the optimal experience in which you’re so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. It's a key ingredient of a meaningful and happy life.  Synch with your natural rhythm Align with context and circumstances Consider the concept of state-dependent recall Resources cited:  Kate Northrup, Do Less: A Revolutionary Approach to Time and Energy Management for Ambitious Women Charlie Gilkey, Start Finishing: How to Go From Idea to Done Music by:Sebastian Brian MehrCheers,Dyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
What do you want to have done in the week? What are the big things you can do to call the week a success and make it great? Unexpected things will come up. Tasks will take longer than you expected. Distractions and interruptions will pull you away. But you’re more likely to accomplish what you must when you plan for it and begin with the end in mind. In this episode, I discuss achieving more by doing less in a week. You will learn: 1. How to consolidate by planning your Ideal Week  The concepts of batching and theming The categories of front stage, back stage, and off stage activities The use of color codes in your weekly plan or calendar to reflect focus areas 2. How to designate by prioritizing your tasks with the Weekly Review and Preview The best times to do a weekly review and preview The six steps in a weekly planning session: list your biggest wins; review the prior week; review your lists and notes; check goals, projects, events, meetings and deadlines; designate your Weekly Big 3 things to accomplish; and plan for self-care 3. How to streamline your to-do list The four areas to help you design your week and your weekly to-dos: body; mind; heart; and the cosmos.  The importance of margin or buffer time Resources cited:  Michael Hyatt, Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less Kate Northrup, Do Less: A Revolutionary Approach to Time and Energy Management for Ambitious Women Music by:Sebastian Brian MehrCheers,Dyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
Time Blocking helps you to get unstuck, stop procrastinating, and move forward on a project. It makes time and space for tasks that need attention. It’s a way to chunk projects into smaller parts so it’s easier to start and make steady progress. You set time blocks with a start time and end time to work on a specific activity. You could single focus on one difficult, high-leverage project like a strategic marketing plan, or batch process similar, low-level tasks like responding to emails and returning telephone calls. You can move around time blocks if true emergencies and unexpected delays come up. You can schedule new time blocks if you need more to finish the task. Scheduling a time block goes beyond making a to-do list. It tells you when exactly you will do a task, in what context and under what circumstances, and for how long. It encourages you to take deliberate action steps and to block out distractions and interruptions. Time Boxing helps you to stay within scope, avoid perfectionism, and finish and deliver a project on time. It puts time constraints on projects that tend to take too long to complete. It takes advantage of Parkinson's law, which states that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. Having a cut-off time to stop working on a task makes you more mindful of the value you bring, rather than the hours you put in.A timebox can be as short as 15 minutes to several months, depending on the activity or project. One project might take one or two steps, while another requires hundreds of steps. A timebox has project milestones, deadlines and deliverables. In this episode, I cover: The Pomodoro Technique, a popular method for time blocking How time blocks help you do deep work, improve your ability to focus, and make progress on the right things at the right pace for the relevant deadlines The core problem with the billable hour model How time boxes help you to be more efficient, intentional and results-oriented Resources cited:  Francesco Cirillo, The Pomodoro Technique: The Acclaimed Time-Management System That Has Transformed How We Work Cal Newport, Deep Work (Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World) Music by:Sebastian Brian MehrCheers,Dyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
It's a common belief that perfectionism is one of the main causes of procrastination. Does having high standards make it harder to start?  Many of my colleagues in the legal profession, for example, have perfectionist tendencies. Procrastination can get lawyers into trouble. It creates high stress and anxiety, and often leads to subpar work and serious errors. But as it turns out, there’s no strong link between perfectionism and procrastination, says Dr. Piers Steel. He’s a professor and leading researcher on the science of motivation and procrastination. He’s the author of the book, The Procrastination Equation.Dr. Steel has a mathematical formula that accounts for motivation and procrastination. It is [Expectancy (E) x Value (V)] divided by [Impulsiveness (I) x Delay (D)] = MotivationThe formula is based on 30 years of research and hundreds of studies. To have more motivation, and less procrastination, you want the numerators (E and V) to be high and the denominators (I & D) to be low. In this episode, I describe 4 ways to stop procrastinating and just start: (1) create success spirals; (2) practice mental contrasting; (3) get super-focused; and (4) set clear goals. Success spirals increase expectancy, mental contrasting raises value, super-focus reduces impulsiveness, and clear goals minimize delay. I review Dr. Gabriele Oettingen's WOOP method for incorporating If-Then statements into your plan for overcoming obstacles. WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan. I also explain Dr. Tim Pychyl's theory that procrastination is an emotion management problem, not a time management issue. We procrastinate because we’re thinking about all the things that might happen rather than just starting what we have to do. Procrastination is a coping strategy to deal with negative emotions like frustration and anxiety. It is based on assumptions that the task won’t feel good. When we procrastinate, we have less time to complete the project.  We sometimes tell ourselves we work better under pressure. But we just make more errors when we wait until the deadline is tomorrow. Whatever you have to do, just start now. Resources Cited:  Pierce Steel, The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done Gabriele Oettingen, Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation  Timothy A Pychyl, Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change Music by:Sebastian Brian MehrCheers,Dyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
To move in the desired direction, you need more flow in your life, says Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, renowned psychologist and author of the groundbreaking book, Flow. He defines flow as the optimal experience in which you’re so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. You enjoy it for its own sake and will keep at it even with great cost. Flow is a key ingredient of a meaningful and happy life. But amped up flow doesn’t lead to ongoing success. While flow is necessary for peak performance, it’s not enough to sustain it, says Steven Kotler. He’s the author of many neuroscience books, including The Art of Impossible. He’s a peak performance expert and Executive Director of Flow Research Collective. In this episode, I review the 5 intrinsic motivators, the 3 tiers of goal-setting, and the 6 levels of grit, and how they all come together to trigger flow.  I also discuss the 9 elements of flow, which means your biology is working for you to perform at your peak. You will learn how the flow cycle leads to reliable and repeatable results. Through compound interest, the minutes, hours, days, months and years of focus and effort add up to make the impossible possible.Resources cited:  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience Steven Kotler, The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer  Music by:Sebastian Brian MehrDyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
When we look at a clock – digital or analog – we see the seconds, minutes and hours passing. The day starts and end, regardless of what we do. The clock tells us we have 24 hours in a day.Of that, we need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep, 1 hour for a lunch break, and a few more hours for daily routines, errands and so on. We have distractions and interruptions. Also, we’re human: our energy and focus ebb and flow throughout the day. The maximum time you have for your Most Important Tasks is around 8 hours per day. Your MIT is your core work or your high-value, high-leverage activity. This contributes directly to your success. It helps you create the most important, desired results. In this episode, I discuss how to set your priorities, which starts with the Brain Dump, continues with the Priority Matrix (Eisenhower Complex), and ends with blocking time and matching your tasks with your energy and focus levels, your environment, and your circumstances. I cover Essentialism, which involves distinguishing the vital few from the trivial many, and making the necessary trade-offs to tackle what  truly matters. I explain why you need to align your actions with your One Thing, which is what you can do, such that by doing it, makes everything else easier or unnecessary. Resources Cited:  Greg McKeown - Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less  Gary Keller and Jay Papasan - The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results  Music by: Sebastian Brian MehrDyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
Breaking Bad Habits

Breaking Bad Habits

2021-01-1814:45

Like good habits, bad habits also give you a dopamine hit. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is often called the feel-good hormone. Dopamine fires when you get the thing you crave, and when you anticipate getting that thing. A dopamine hit is not the same as true happiness, say Dr. Jud Brewer, director of research and innovation at Brown University Mindfulness Center, a psychiatrist and an expert in mindfulness training for treating addictions. To break everyday addictions and bad habits, he recommends you step out of the reactive pattern and just be present with whatever comes up. Use your natural curiosity to learn about the habit loop while you're in it and become aware of the results of your actions. There are 4 laws of behavior change, says author, speaker and entrepreneur James Clear. If you want to build a habit, you make it Visible, Attractive, Easy and Satisfying. If you want to stop a habit, you invert the laws. You make it Invisible, Unattractive, Difficult and Unsatisfying. You might think you have to replace the habit with another to break it. But this is really a last resort. You can untangle the bad habit if you stay mindful, get curious, and invert the 4 laws of behavior change. "Learn how your mind works, so you can work with it." – Dr. Jud Brewer"You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems." – James Clear Resources Cited: Jud Brewer - The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love - Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits James Clear - Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones Music by:Sebastian Brian MehrHere's to breaking bad habits,Dyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
Building Good Habits

Building Good Habits

2021-01-1112:28

A habit starts with a conscious decision and becomes automatic through a 3-step loop (cue, behavior, reward). Building good habits allows you to make changes without relying on willpower and motivation. In this episode, I discuss how motivation, ability and prompts drive behavior, using Professor BJ Fogg's B=MAP formula. I also cover the ABC (Anchor, Behavior, Celebration) method to create new habits and sustain momentum.  Make the new behavior tiny with the starter step and by scaling back. Excellence comes from the actions you do habitually, consistently, repeatedly - not from once-in-a-while acts.  Being the best version of yourself and having self-mastery stem from your habits. Resources Cited: Charles Duhigg - The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business BJ Fogg - Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything David T. Neal, Wendy Wood, and Jeffrey M. Quinn, Duke University, Habits - A Repeat Performance, Current Directions in Psychological Science, Volume 15, Issue 4, August 1, 2006 Magic Weighted Blanket Music by:Sebastian Brian MehrHappy habit-building,Dyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
Welcome to The Incrementalist podcast! Hosted by Dyan Williams - a productivity & purpose coach and solo lawyer - this show offers simple techniques and tools to focus on your top priorities and design a well-lived life. You will learn how to use the Incrementalist approach to turn your ideas into action, maximize focus, and make time for what truly matters.  We'll cover practical ways to implement big changes or finish a big project in small steps. The change or project may relate to your work, your family, your relationships, a creative endeavor, or any other domain of life.  Stop using lack of time, energy, focus, skills, motivation and fear as an excuse. Tiny habits and small tweaks are enough to get you moving in the right direction. You can do great work, make great things, and stretch your limits, gradually and slowly. Incremental progress helps you gain control, master your craft and integrate all that matters to you.  Dyan WilliamsCheck out the book: The Incrementalist, A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small StepsVisit website: www.dyanwilliams.comSubscribe to productivity e-newsletter
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