in: Behavior, Character, Podcast

• Last updated: September 28, 2021

Podcast #196: The Science of Self-Motivation & Productivity

We all want to be more productive. We want to do more in less time so we can spend more time doing the things we actually want to do.

So we read blog posts and books on productivity, hoping to find the “one thing” that will unlock the secret of personal efficiency. But even after all that reading, we still find ourselves just spinning our wheels, getting more done, but not making any actual progress with our goals.

Or worse yet, we can’t even muster the self-motivation to get started doing the things we know we should be doing.

If any of those situations describe you, you’re going to love this podcast.

In today’s episode, I talk to Charles Duhigg about his new book Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and BusinessInstead of being filled with tired improvement platitudes, Smarter Faster Better highlights actual scientific research on how to live a more productive life.

On the podcast, Charles and I discuss the science of self-motivation and why being a self-starter is so important in today’s economy, how to set more effective goals, and why mental models are the key to managing your focus.

Show Highlights

  • How habits and thinking productively are different
  • What does it mean to be productive?
  • Why the definition of productive changes from situation to situation
  • Why autonomy is the key to motivation
  • How to motivate yourself to tackle the most boring of tasks
  • How a cancer researcher motivates himself to grade papers
  • Why self-motivation is a skill
  • How the Marines train new recruits for self-motivation
  • Why self-motivation is an increasingly important skill to have in today’s economy
  • Why the tools that are supposed to help us focus can actually distract us
  • The role of mental models in focus
  • How to set better goals
  • How to-do lists can make you less productive
  • How the Yom Kippur War is a perfect example of goal lock
  • Why you should re-write your to-do lists every day
  • Why our brain is designed to love being distracted and why you have to overcome that tendency
  • Why you need to create systems for thinking
  • The difference between productivity and efficiency
  • Why being productive is a struggle and why you have to embrace the struggle

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast

Smarter faster better book cover, by Charles Duhigg.

Smarter Faster Better has been one of the most useful books I’ve read this year. I’m working to implement many of the principles I’ve read in my own life and business. The chapter on self-motivation alone is worth the price of the book, as well as the chapter on working on teams.

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