10 Ideas For The Interested This Week

“Information is not knowledge.” — Albert Einstein

I know I’m not the only one.

Do you (or your company) have a newsletter?

I’d love to see it and tell other FTI readers are about it. Post a response with a link to it.

In next week’s FTI newsletter, I’ll share a list of your newsletters with my 13,000+ readers — hopefully you’ll get a few new subscribers in the process.

Can’t wait to see what you’ve got.

Now, on to this week’s ideas…

1. HOW TO GET BETTER AT ONE THING IN ONE MONTH

“We only get better at things when we do them regularly. You have to put in the work. Improvement comes from action, not intention.”

Sometimes we get so obsessed with becoming great at something that we miss the opportunity we have to get better.

In this post I share an eight-step process to get better at one thing in one month including to clarify your motivation, define “better,” and develop a hypothesis.

2. HOW TO FEEL BETTER AT WORK AND AVOID BURNOUT

“Examine where you are spending most of your time, and look for ways to shift some of the tasks you don’t like off your plate and ways to take on more of the responsibilities that make you feel proud of what you’re doing.”

Even if you like your job, there will be moments where it drains you. Here’s an antidote to those moments.

Mic shares 10 steps to feeling better at work including to seek out projects that inspire you, develop the right daily routine, and find ways to feel your work is meaningful.

3. HOW FACEBOOK IS CHANGING YOUR INTERNET

“One in five minutes spent online are spent on Facebook. It’s a cyber kingdom with a population of over two billion. That power has made the leaders of many countries feel threatened, so governments have started to push back — attempting to regain some control over how their citizens communicate.”

Fake news and Russian Facebook ads are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the influence Facebook as a platform has around the world these days.

This 9-minute New York Times video looks at how Facebook is changing your Internet and breaks down the platform’s complicated diplomatic relationships around the world and how those relationships fragment the Internet in increasingly complicated ways.

4. SIX EXAMPLES OF SUCCESS ADVICE YOU SHOULD IGNORE

“People tell you anybody can be successful, but they’re wrong. If anybody could do it, everybody would do it. Success is only available to the people willing to do what it takes to achieve it.”

I recognize the irony in me writing a post about success advice that tells you to ignore success advice, but bear with me.

Because I believe there are six bits of success advice you should ignore including to be patient and professional, and that failure is a good thing.

5. HOW TO WRITE MORE EFFECTIVE EMAILS IN LESS TIME

“Squishy words are your greatest enemy. Self-defeating phrases like ‘I feel,’ ‘I’m not sure,’ ‘perhaps,’ using the passive voice, or pretty much any adverbs waste time for both you and your recipient, and muddle your point.”

This is one of those posts you can instantly apply to get immediate results.

Julie Zhuo suggests eight ways to write more effective emails including to call out action items and names in bold, know your end before your start writing, and practice the skill of brevity by taking a previous email you’ve written and eliminating half the words to train yourself to be more concise.

6. TO FORM A NEW HABIT, TRAIN LIKE AN AMATEUR INSTEAD OF AN EXPERT

“Instead of wishing you could ‘Be like Mike,’ you need to focus on and enjoy the small everyday tasks in order to accomplish those long-standing stubborn goals such as ‘I need to exercise more.’ In short, you need to become an amateur. An amateur is a consistent practitioner of a healthful habit.”

One of the reasons people struggle to develop new habits is because they approach them in the wrong way — they set out to train to be an expert instead of training to be an amateur.

Nir Eyal explains the difference between the two and suggests the best way to develop a new habit is to train like an amateur.

This includes a focus on tiny steps and miminal enjoyable actions as opposed to deliberate practice on areas of weakness, personal enjoyment instead of competition, and doing things for lifelong value instead of aggressive performance goals.

7. HOW TO USE PROCRASTINATION AS AN OPPORTUNITY

“Our tendency to procrastinate is exactly how we’ll see how our minds work, and learn to be better at all the difficulties of life. Because life will always have these difficulties, no matter how much we’d prefer to avoid them, and how we respond to them will determine everything.”

Maybe the way to overcome procrastination is to recognize it’s not entirely a bad thing.

Leo Babauta explains how to use procrastination as an opportunity and suggests you approach it like a pause that gives you the chance to recalibrate and embrace the unknown.

8. IF YOU CAN’T BE ORGANIZED FOR YOURSELF, MAYBE YOU CAN DO IT FOR OTHERS

“Being close to someone who is consistently all over the place requires a tremendous amount of emotional labor — reminding them to please take care of that task; making adjustments to your own schedule to accommodate their last-minute changes; worrying that you’re nagging them; having to say ‘it’s fine’ and ‘no worries’ every time they drop the ball, because god forbid you are anything other than a chill girl with no feelings.”

There’s no shortage of advice out there about how to be more organized, but here’s a take I haven’t heard before. If you struggle to motivate yourself to get organized, maybe you’ll have more luck if you recognize the way it helps others you care about.

Buzzfeed suggests being organized is a gift you give other people and points out it’s a way to show people who depend on you that you value them and their time.

Basically, being organized is an act of generosity.

9. WHY 2017 IS FILLED WITH JERKS

“Nasty behavior spreads much faster than nice behavior, unfortunately. Research shows that even a single exposure to negative behavior, like receipt of an insulting email, can turn a person into a ‘carrier.’ Literally like a common cold.”

Remember the good old days when people thought 2016 was a rough year? Well, 2017 has blown that out of the water thanks in large part to what seems to be a parade of jerks.

Turns out, there may be a reason for that.

New York magazine interviews Stanford professor Robert Sutton, author of the new book The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt, about his theory of why 2017 is filled with jerks.

He suggests everything from the weather, to technology, to crowding and imbalances of power and wealth have created a perfect storm that has fueled the rise of assholes — and that their behavior is highly contagious.

10. NINE IDEAS SHAPING THE FUTURE OF DESIGN

“The discipline of design will be forced to think about the outcomes of our work in a much more long-term context — literally what future do we want to create and more importantly try to avoid.”

In many ways our future rests in the hands of designers, which is why it’s worth considering how they see the challenges and opportunities in their field.

Fast Company interviewed several leading designers for this collection of nine ideas shaping the future of design including that designers will become activists, that design will become more genuine, and that politics are the next design frontier.