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7 марта 2019

Medium
1 год назад

The Hidden Dangers of Confusing Attention with Accomplishment

Here’s a fundamental truth about creating compelling work that many don’t get: attention and accomplishment are incredibly different animals, and confusing one for the other will cause you to delude yourself into thinking you’re making progress towards a goal.

You can do work that people naturally feel compelled to talk about. Or you can attempt to get people to talk about your work. The first is much harder than the second because it requires deep work and a focus on mastery instead of metrics. Unlike the latter, it doesn’t give you rapid feedback loops or instant applause. It forces you not to confuse attention with accomplishment.
Successful Creators Who Don’t Use Social Media

Some of the most well-known writers don’t use Twitter or Facebook. But people are talking about them on Facebook.

Seth Godin doesn’t use Facebook. But, lots of people share Seth’s content on Facebook even though he doesn’t use the platform.
Cal Newport doesn’t even have a social sharing plugin installed on his blog, yet it’s incredibly popular.
Michael Lewis has had a thriving career as an author, and he doesn’t use social media

When Tim Ferriss asked Seth how he deals with overwhelm, he didn’t offer a productivity hack. Instead, he shared his essential priorities. One of those priorities was to show up and write a blog post every single day. To honor that commitment, he doesn’t watch TV or use social media which gives him the time to do something rare and valuable. I think all of us who are fans of Seth can agree that we’d much rather have him write a blog post every day than be active on social media.
The Illusion of Productivity

Study after study has shown that all social media tools are designed to be addictive, thanks to variable rewards, and an endless fire hose of information and dopamine hits. But the hidden danger is the false sense of productivity we get from using these tools. It feels as if we’re getting something done, even when we’re not. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve been with my family over the last few years, claiming that I had “work to do,” even though I just was posting stuff on Facebook.

“Whenever you recognize a task or project as completed, your brain releases a load of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for generating feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction, and happiness. This release of dopamine not only makes you feel good but also motivates you to continue completing tasks and extend that pleasant feeling,” says Francisco Saez. “The same process occurs when you use social media, even though you’re not getting shit done.”
The Illusion of Accomplishment

The day I wrote a status update about my book deal, I got hundreds of likes and comments congratulating me. One of the things that Ryan Holiday said to me an interview was that he never talks about a book until it’s finished because you’re receiving congratulations for something you haven’t even done yet. This deludes you into thinking you’ve accomplished something when there are still hundreds of hours of work in front of you.

In his recent article on the two things you should be doing instead of social media, John P. Weiss said the following:

Social media success is a side effect of quality, not the cause. You can pretty your Instagram account all you want, and upload all kinds of lovely pictures on your Facebook page. None of that stuff, by itself, will make your art or business take off.

Weiss’s writing is exemplary of this. It’s likely you’ve read one of his articles because they frequently become popular. For a former police officer to become a skilled cartoonist requires deep work.

This doesn’t just happen to creatives. It happens to startup founders as well. They might get featured in TechCrunch because they raised a round of funding. But, that doesn’t mean they’ve accomplished anything. They still have a business to build. In his How to Start a Startup Podcast, Sam Altman warns founders not to get caught up in their press.
Satisfaction that Doesn’t Last

The two most popular things I’ve ever posted on Facebook were pictures of my finished books. For about a day, I was insanely popular on Facebook. But, the hundreds of likes and comments I received did almost nothing to move the needle on book sales. And 24 hours later, I was an afterthought.

Attention, instant applause, and the satisfaction they provide is always temporary. The only way to sustain it is to seek more. Post another selfie, compose another clever tweet, or craft another poetic status update. Satisfaction is an insatiable beast that you have to keep feeding.
Measuring Meaningless Metrics

I was recently having a conversation with my friend Mike about how much less time I’m spending on Facebook, and he asked: “Does using Facebook make you money?”. I knew it didn’t. It barely moves the needle on the most critical metrics in our business.

Confusing attention with accomplishment causes us to measure meaningless metrics. Likes, hearts, and comments don’t do shit for the bottom line of business. They don’t allow you to keep the lights on, put food on your table, or pay for things you need. Seven hundred dollars in your bank account is far more valuable than 700 likes on your Facebook post.

If you think a social media platform is necessary to sell your books as an author, don’t delude yourself. All you’re doing is feeding your ego with likes, hearts, and selfies with you holding your book.

The number one driver of book sales for any author that’s not already a celebrity is email. You could spend several thousand dollars on Facebook ads, however, you’d sell more books if you just bought thousands of dollars worth of books and gave them away.

Sometime this summer, when I was searching for a roommate, I met a girl who wanted to be a writer. She had a substantial presence on Instagram. Every one of her posts was getting 100’s of likes and comments when she posted a picture or video. And it’s precisely this kind of attention that is incredibly dangerous because it creates the illusion of progress towards her goal of becoming a writer. She’s not the only one who has done this. She just happens to be the one that came to mind as I was writing this.

Just because somebody is wildly popular on social media, it doesn’t mean they are rich or successful. This became quite clear to me when I was having breakfast at a dinner with my friend Brian, and he pointed out one of the waitresses who had a massive Instagram following. I’ve also heard stories about “social media celebrities” who are baristas at Starbucks. Don’t be fooled by the carefully edited and deliberately curated avatars of people. Remember, there’s a lot you don’t see.

The internet gives every one of us a microphone. We can either waste the potential of the internet by seeking instant applause and uploading selfies, or we can do something that matters.

One of the biggest reasons I dedicated an entire section in An Audience of One to eliminating digital distractions was so you could spend more time doing something that truly matters.
Self Obsession, Narcissism and a Toxic Psychological Environment

The most important book I’ve read in 2018 is Selfie: How We Became Obsessed With Ourselves and What It’s Doing To Us. Confusing attention with accomplishment gives us an over-inflated sense of self-importance.

People are so concerned with their image that the majority of pictures they posted were of themselves. The impact of this kind of narcissism should be deeply disturbing to all of us.

In her interview with Oprah, Julia Roberts mentioned that she’d recently joined Instagram. Her niece posted a picture of them hanging out on a Saturday morning. People commented on how bad she looked and how terribly she’d aged. Even as a 50-year-old woman who has had an incredibly successful career, she told Oprah that reading those comments hurt.
Endless Comparison and Decreased Happiness

What we see are studies that show social media is associated with diminished well being and lower life satisfaction because people are always looking at people with better lives” — Will Storr

Social media fuels anxiety, envy, and comparison. But we overlook the fact that we’re comparing ourselves to an illusion. We’re seeing nothing but the highlight reels of people’s lives. We judge our happiness on a relative scale, based on how we stack up compared to other people. Social media skews that scale because there’s always someone who has done something more impressive than you have.

A few days ago I was interviewing Jennifer Miller about her new book Mr. Nice Guy. She’s had a long career as a journalist and author of four books. When I asked her if she had ever felt envious of other authors who have sold more books, she said, “Yes, that’s why I quit social media.”

One of my friends suggested that I should explore the reasons why seeing other people’s achievements on social media triggers envy. Personally, I think a much better use of my and any another creative person’s time would be to eliminate the trigger and put that energy into deep work.
Unintended Consequences

It’s likely that we will see a mass exodus from social media over the next year. Between addictive productive design, mental health issues, behavior manipulation, filter bubbles, and long-term damage to our attention spans, and turning us into the cognitive equivalent of athletes who smoke, and it’s no surprise that Mark Manson referred to smartphones as the new cigarettes.

As someone who used to smoke when I drank, I’ve noticed how rare it is to see someone smoking a cigarette these days. I can’t help but think that a similar fate awaits many social media platforms, eventually becoming digital graveyards on the internet.

Social media may not cause cancer, but that doesn’t mean it’s harmless:

A Facebook group for the event I planned became a substantial source of drama; gossip eventually led to dozens of burnt bridges and the end of many friendships. When I asked Danielle LaPorte about Facebook in a recent interview, she called it a “playground for vitriol”.
The endless dopamine hits from talking with somebody I dated long distance sent me into a spiral of depression that derailed my life for more than a year and almost caused me to run my business into the ground.

Attention is the currency of achievement, and Mark Zuckerberg has become a billionaire by capturing yours and selling it to advertisers. It’s worth considering what you might accomplish if you stopped confusing attention with accomplishment.
Gain an Unfair Creative Advantage

I’ve created a swipe file of my best creative strategies. It includes a free assessment tool to audit the design of your environments. Follow it and you’ll kill your endless distractions, do more of what matters to you, in higher quality and less time. Get the swipe file here.

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Medium
1 год назад

How To Start Your Own Business Without Doing It Alone

In my early days of freelancing, I stayed sane by forming mini-partnerships with other business owners to combat the loneliness of solopreneurship. For years, I jokingly called my one-on-ones with founder friends our “Monthly Staff Meetings.” While we didn’t have big enough teams to hold actual staff meetings yet, we still needed the accountability and human contact. So we’d meet, debrief, talk about upcoming projects, and dissect what wasn’t working.

Finding these collaboration partners and setting up mini-masterminds was one of the keys to staying steady, consistent, and improving over time in the very early days of building our businesses.

Val Geisler, an email conversion strategist and copywriter who has worked on and behind-the-scenes with fast-growing companies like ConvertKit, Meet Edgar, and AccessAlly, says that having a business collaborator along the way has been integral to her success. “I’d credit my biz bestie to keeping me in business these last six years — that’s how crucial having one is,” she says.

Yet a lot of solo founders think they need to go heads down and do it alone. This is a mistake. The early days of solopreneurship can be lonely, and it’s your job to build in the networks, connections, and peer-to-peer learning as part of your business. Especially if you’re working from home, or carving out a side hustle, or just in the early freelancing days, this is a missed step that many people stumble over.

Here are the four steps I’ve taken to find great brainstorming partners in my business journey:

1. Identify your business, support, or strategy needs.

What exactly do you need more of? In my early days, I wanted someone to bounce ideas around with on my overall business strategy, to make sure that I was steering the ship in the right direction for the years to come. Depending on where you are in your business, you might need:

Brainstorming — Someone to ideate with, fuel each other, and generate new inspiration.
Strategy feedback — Someone to talk to about next steps and strategic moves from a big-picture standpoint.
Implementation support — Maybe you actually need to hire someone and get help!
Accountability — Someone to show up regularly for meetups or check-ins, to prove progress, and stay the course during the long months.
Mindset — Someone to unpack the psychological side of building and understand that all of the insecurities, worries, or neuroses are actually quite normal and relatable.


2. Identify what expertise you have to share.

Find out what specific skills and strengths you have to bring to the table, and offer them in the collaboration. Alternately, you can also partner with people looking to learn the same skill sets alongside you, and act as peer accountability partners during your learning period.

3. Start “dating” people as potential business peers.

Once you have an idea for what kind of person you want to meet, look through the people you already know. Browse LinkedIn for skills, review your email contacts, and scroll through your Facebook friends. Who would you like to learn from? Who intrigues you? Is there a weak tie you can build upon as a collaboration partner?

4. Reach out to collaborate as a “biz brain” or mental partner.

I’ve had a lot of success emailing people:

“Hey, I’m geeking out right now about email funnels and marketing, and I’d love to do a few brainstorming sessions with someone else interested in these puzzles. You up to chat about best-practices and share ideas about what we’re building?”

If you can’t come up with people who are the right fit, create a short list of peers who might know the right person for you to meet. You can message them and ask for introductions:

“Hey friends and colleagues, I’m looking to do a deep dive on Google Analytics this year and really up-level my skills. I’m looking for some brainstorming and accountability partners who want to learn and geek out alongside me. If you know of anyone, please feel free to introduce us.”

No matter where you are in business, having peer accountability and support is essential.

Today, years later as a solo founder, I still do the same practice. Many others do, too. Jenny Blake, author of Pivot and Life After College, credits her business friends with keeping her sane in navigating the ups and downs of solopreneurship. She’s going on 10 years of having a “biz bestie” and shares that their relationship has transcended time zones and geographic boundaries.

“I’m so grateful to know there’s someone out there who understands the quirks of self-employment and living a more unconventional life,” Blake says. “And most of all, that we’ve been able to grow together and keep our friendship going all these years.”

Geisler adds: “Just because I started it alone doesn’t mean I have to do it all alone.”

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Medium
1 год назад

How To Encourage Workplace Friendships And Increase Team Happiness

I was recently thinking about a Google Zeitgeist conference I attended.

During one talk, a psychologist asked people in the audience to give examples of what they thought makes people the happiest at work. He got a lot of the answers you’d expect: the responsibilities, the compensation, the manager.

They were all wrong.

In reality, the best predictor of workplace happiness is how many friends someone has in the office.

The correlation was incredible to me. The more people at work you can confide in, trust, or hang out with outside the office, the happier you’ll be in your job.

If you’re running a company, you may not be spending much time thinking about facilitating friendships among your team. But given what we know about happy team members, that may need to change.

Here are five ways to keep everyone connected, and most importantly, happy:

1. Help new team members form relationships.

It’s so important to create opportunities for connection among new team members who don’t know anyone.

When you’re adding one or two people a month, it’s easy for them to get acclimated naturally — talking one-on-one with their manager, meeting with their team members, and generally getting the lay of the land.

That changes drastically when your company is hiring several people per week.

At ThirdLove, we hold monthly sessions with 15–20 new teammates. We bring them together and our functional leaders come in and talk about a certain aspect of the company. Operations, data science, our story — anything relevant to the business.

Not only do the new team members have a chance to meet each other and interact, but they also gain important knowledge about what other teams are working on.

2. Set up random coffee pairings every month.

Our team started doing this recently, and it’s been a huge success.

Anyone who wants to get to know their co-workers better are encouraged to sign up for the program. Then, all the names go in an Excel spreadsheet, and we randomly generate pairings every month.

The two people are sent an email about their pairing and are encouraged to grab a coffee and get to know each other.

Where are their hobbies?
What’s their role at the company?
What’s it like working in that department?

It’s a relaxed way to meet more people in the company — and an easy program to set up.

3. Hold atypical company parties.

Company parties are excellent ways to get people together and help them bond.

But planning extravagant events always seems to land on the shoulders of one or two people who already have their hands full. So, instead of handing the planning work off to someone who is going to get around to it when they can (read: never), try giving the responsibility to an entire department.
We created a system where one department plans a happy hour each month, and they only have to do it once a year.

The Brand team set the bar really high with our first event, so it’s become something of a competition to see who can throw the best one.

The more teams you can involve in helping create the culture, the more fun everyone is going to have and the more involved everyone feels.

4. Set up lunch and learns.

Once a month, we do what we call a “lunch and learn.”

Each team presents something they’re working on over a lunch that anyone can attend. We set up a buffet so people can sit, enjoy some food, and learn about a company initiative. We’ve had presentations on a new collection the design team is developing, an update on the loyalty program, a direct mail report — all kinds of things.

It’s a good opportunity to casually bring people together while showing them what other teams are working on.

5. Send company update emails.

I never used to send update emails.

They felt too formal and impersonal, so we opted for a Monday morning stand-up meeting instead. We’d all meet in a circle to talk about our weekends and what we were working on that week.

But once your company gets to a certain size, you can’t even get everyone in the same room, let alone hear from every individual. The email updates are the best way to keep people informed and excited about what’s happening in the company.

When everyone’s in the loop, chatting about new developments and bonding over common goals, you’ll absolutely notice the difference in the atmosphere and general happiness around the office.

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Medium
1 год назад

The Heavy Lifting: What I Learned About Team-Building From Being A Personal Trainer
Filling in skill-gaps helped us get to where we needed to be

By, Stephanie Danielsson, Sales Director at Digital Press

I’ve been an athlete for the better part of my life and health and fitness have played major roles in my day-to-day.

I also spent eight years as a personal trainer, creating unique programs for each client to help them achieve their fitness goals. I want to lose weight. I want to be stronger. I’m training to run a marathon. Honestly, I’d like to be able to go up and down my stairs without feeling winded.

With their starting and desired end-points in mind, I’d design an exercise plan to get them from where they were to where they wanted to be.

Throughout my marketing career, I noticed that there were a lot of similarities between exercise planning and team-building. In both cases, you have to identify skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Then, you design a strategy to make the most of these abilities to work towards a goal.

Here are four lessons I’ve learned about building a team, creating a strategy, and learning when to adjust my approach from my time as a personal trainer:
When you’re building a team, you have to be honest about where there are gaps.

At the very beginning of my relationship with a new client at the gym, I’d assess their goals and figure out the best way to get there — realistically.

When growing a team, you have to take the same factors into consideration. In 2014, I took over the marketing department at an architecture firm in New York City. At the time, the marketing team was dedicated primarily to tracking and responding to requests for proposals — setting the team up for only partial success. The question was, How do we increase new business efforts? So we aimed to boost our brand profile and presence to attract new opportunities.

First, I had to evaluate the team I had.

What did each person bring to the table? We each had basic graphic design skills, but one team member outshone the rest. A few excelled as project managers. Some had diverse experience in digital and social media. To meet our goals we needed to cultivate these skills, redistribute the workload, and gear up for new responsibilities. With new objectives in place and a plan for targeted professional development, we were on our way. Finally, we rounded out our group by hiring an excellent copywriter who could tell our story in the most powerful and concise way.

Filling in these skill-gaps helped us get to where we needed to be.

When you’re building a team, do it with purpose.

Take a good, hard look at the people you have, and figure out exactly which skills need to be developed and how to do it.
Be aware of the nuances that make your team unique.

All companies should invest in their employees, and too often, this stops at the hiring process.

As a trainer, I wouldn’t — and couldn’t — stop investing in my clients after completing an initial assessment. If I wanted them to achieve their goals and do my job as a trainer, I’d have to put in just as much work as they did. This meant showing up, leading, teaching, and doing whatever it took to help them get the body they wanted.

If I was really good at it, they’d be motivated to seek out more knowledge on their own.

The same goes for building a team. I can’t hire someone and just think, Hey they’re smart, they’ll figure it out. I have to show up, lead, and teach them so they can ultimately be successful.

People are living and breathing organisms, and we’re all unique. As a trainer, you learn that what works for one body, doesn’t always work for another. Not every client responds the same way to cues, coaching style, or routine. You just have to adjust accordingly.

In an office setting, you have to be just as mindful of what your team members need to do their job well.

Everyone learns differently. Some people find resources, manuals, and seminars most helpful, while others require a more hands-on approach. The same holds true when it comes to management styles — identify what motivators your team best respond to.

In both contexts, you have to tune into and be respectful of what makes each person tick.
Keep the end goal in mind, but be flexible if it changes.

When working with a client in the gym, things don’t always play out exactly how you thought they would.

You can’t control what your client does when they aren’t training with you. Usually, if they weren’t seeing the results they wanted, it was because they were falling short somewhere else — failing to make it to the gym on days they don’t see you or not sticking to their diet. I couldn’t slap pizza out of their hands or do their grocery shopping. But I could look at how they were progressing and change my approach.

It’s similar when managing a team. If an employee or your team is consistently not meeting objectives, take a look at why. Have I set them up with the tools they need to succeed? Are they being managed properly? Is the problem motivation based?

When you’re coaching or looking to foster growth in someone, you have to pay attention to what’s working and what’s not.

And what happens if it’s the goal that’s changed? You have to cater to shifting priorities. Start by reevaluating your team’s strengths and weaknesses and how they measure up in the new dynamic. It’s all about harnessing team member strengths and adapting — which might mean adjusting your training and employee development to fill a new skill gap.

The point is to be flexible, realistic, and in some cases, you just have to make do with what you’ve got.
Know your own limitations as a leader.

As a trainer, it’s pretty discouraging if your client isn’t getting the results they want.

But you have to know your limitations. I often advised on healthy diet choices, but I’m not a nutritionist and should not write detailed diet plans. When a client had an injury, I’d suggest they consult their doctor before proceeding.

Sometimes, it’s best to defer to someone who knows better.

And as a marketing team leader, I come up against the same type of limitations. Maybe I notice that a campaign or initiative didn’t perform well. Why? At a previous marketing job, for example, whenever engagement on our email campaigns was low, I’d loop in our art director, communications manager, and product expert to test different messaging and visual elements. In the end, we would identify what impacted engagement and implement them moving forward for more successful campaigns.

Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know everything and be proactive about seeking a solution. Consult an analyst, a superior, a mentor, or bring in a team member who’s particularly skilled in the specific area to help devise a plan.

In the end, your business is on the line.

On the surface, building a team and creating an exercise plan seem like they couldn’t be more different. But they’re both about analyzing the finer points about what makes people unique, being realistic and proactive about your goals, and being flexible enough to change your approach when you need to.

If you can accomplish all of those things, you’ll have a fantastic team that can handle whatever comes their way — or a very happy client.

This piece originally appeared on Minutes.

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Medium
1 год назад

3 Habits Ruining Your Focus And Relationships

Whenever I walk into a library, something clicks in my brain.

The sight of an unmistakable banker’s desk lamp with a green glass shade primes me to focus and concentrate.

And I’m sure that’s the result of about a decade’s worth of higher education. Thousands of hours in the quiet section of the library have taught my brain to associate that environment with study and concentration.

The interesting thing is, modern technology has a similar effect on us. But instead of priming our brains for focus, we’re being taught to seek instant satisfaction and stay distracted.

Our habits are becoming less aligned with some of the most important goals we want to accomplish.

That misalignment can lead to plenty of problems in our personal and work life — and in our relationships. Modern habits have created ways of working and living that feel more convenient but are robbing us of the ability to concentrate.

And that lifestyle is epitomized by these three habits:

1. Not eating your broccoli.

Most people don’t want to immediately start the day by working on their toughest tasks.

Those difficult conversations (the tough-to-swallow foods) are put off as long as possible. Instead, we answer emails, go to meetings, jump on conference calls, or text colleagues.

It all feels like a lot of work. Realistically, it’s not hard work — it’s communication.
When you spend large portions of your day on easily repeatable activities, you’re wasting time that could be used for your most difficult challenges.

But you’ve been programmed to respond to the stimuli of messages, alerts, and vibrations, which means if you want to break out of this cycle, you have to structure a proper working environment.

You may need to do something radical to accomplish this. For example, I’m always tired by the time I get home from work and most prone to let my guard down. If I even start looking at Twitter or LinkedIn, in that weakened state, I will veg with it for hours.

The thing is, I would rather be doing something meaningful or spending this time with my kids.

So, I’ve learned the only way I can avoid that trap is with exercise. I force myself to immediately change clothes and go for a run or spend 45 minutes on the Peloton bike. Exercise is a potent drug, and afterward, any craving for electronics is gone. I’m refreshed and can focus on what I want to spend time doing.

You may need a less extreme habit, but you’re going to have to put the time in to figure out what works for you.

2. Failing to see the larger picture of your life.

Your current self is only concerned with the present moment.

Skipping a workout, attending a happy hour, waiting until next week to call a friend — these are all things your current self usually prefers to do.

Of course, whether you’re trying to lose weight or maintain friendships, what you’d rather do in the moment is often the direct counter to your stated goals.

To help see the larger picture you’re working toward, make friends with your future self. You can even create a Photoshopped older version of yourself as a reminder that there’s a future self you need to take care of.
However, developing a strong vision of your future requires an ability to pause.

Slow things down. Start by getting a glass of wine, along with a tabloid-sized piece of paper, and spending a few hours mapping out what you want to get done in the years ahead.

If you’re not one to slow down, you’ll have to carefully orchestrate your environment instead. Find a few activities that force you into a reflective state, like housework or mowing the lawn.

I learned the benefit of this last fall when a baseball broke the front windshield of my car. Something happened to the electrical system, and the car couldn’t hold a charge for very long. Each day, I would have to jump it at least once.

For a couple of months, I didn’t fix it.

That dysfluency slowed me down and forced me to test what I was doing. I couldn’t just run out the door and immediately take off, so my routine required a different type of planning and revisiting basic assumptions.

In the same way, orchestrating your environment in certain ways can force you to automatically refect long term.

3. Communicating in an ad hoc manner.

We live in a world full of cheap communication.

What does it cost you to send a text message? To fire off a few emails? Essentially nothing, if we’re talking about money.

The truth is, there’s a hidden cost to our ability to instantly communicate. The price we pay comes in the form of an overwhelming amount of poorly thought out and unnecessary communication.
There are few situations that require continuous ad hoc communications.

When I was a young physician in residency, I bought a cell phone. These phones were just appearing, and I kept it in the glove compartment of my car for patient emergencies. If necessary, I could call from the car to help with a life-threatening situation — even in a traffic jam.

But in those three years of medical residency, I only remember one time when I pulled over, plugged in the phone, and called the hospital. It showed me that introducing even the tiniest amount of friction dramatically changes the amount of communication.

Unfortunately, that friction is largely ignored today. Everything slows down when we constantly send messages back and forth with little purpose. Large projects take more time because each person has to sift through a cascade of messages, some of which hold important information, others that contain nothing useful. There are real costs to coordination.

When contacting someone feels effortless, people tend to put less effort into it.

And this is just as true for personal relationships as it is in the business world. A friend who may have received a birthday card decades ago now gets a “happy bday!” post on Facebook. Texting, while more convenient for us, is an inefficient and impersonal means of communication.

Just remember, you don’t have to work or live like this. Responding with a “thumbs up” to a friend, or sending out information one piece at a time, rather than in a comprehensive document, is a choice.

Structuring your days and weeks to communicate effectively requires more effort than taking things as they come. That’s true. But you’ll be rewarded with a greater sense of control over your life. Feeling focused, sharp, and productive is enormously satisfying, as is making time for someone you care about.

In the end, all these bad habits really come down to a lack of structure and an overreliance on technology to make life more convenient.

At some point, you have to turn your phone on “Do not disturb” and get busy building the life you want.

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