Researchers found that employees’ moods when they clocked in tended to affect how they felt the rest of the day. Early mood was linked to their perceptions of customers and to how they reacted to customers’ moods. And most important to managers, employee mood had a clear impact on performance, including both how much work employees did and how well they did it.
We did this international study and found that more people reported having great insights in their shower than they did at work. Disconcerting, I guess. It seemed like there’s definitely some benefits to being in a relaxed state.
Five studies examined whether the processes associated with unfulfilled goals would interfere with tasks that require the executive function, which has a limited focal capacity and can pursue only one goal at a time. In Studies [Study 1] and [Study 2], activating a goal nonconsciously and then manipulating unfulfillment caused impairments on later tasks requiring fluid intelligence (solving anagrams; Study 1) and impulse control (dieting; Study 2).
Committing to a specific plan for a goal may therefore not only facilitate attainment of the goal but may also free cognitive resources for other pursuits. Once a plan is made, the drive to attain a goal is suspended–allowing goal-related cognitive activity to cease–and is resumed at the specified later time.
Think for a moment about the great artists of the last hundred years and how they worked—people like Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Jackson Pollock... Nobody told them: "You must paint this sort of picture. You must begin painting precisely at eight-thirty A.M. You must paint with the people we select to work with you. And you must paint this way." The very idea is ludicrous.
Steve Maier at the University of Boulder, in Colorado, says that the degree of control that organisms can exert over something that creates stress determines whether the stressor alters the organism’s functioning... Over and over, scientists see that the perception of control over a stressor alters the stressor’s impact.
Defining your work entails clearing up your in-tray, your digital messages, and your meeting notes, and breaking down new projects into actionable steps.
This pattern is what we call the progress principle: of all the positive events that influence inner work life, the single most powerful is progress in meaningful work; of all the negative events, the single most powerful is the opposite of progress—setbacks in the work.
One easy way to be self-compassionate is just ask yourself, “What if I had a very close friend who was experiencing the exact same thing that I am experiencing now?” The idea is you use that same quality of warmth, support, encouragement, tenderness, understanding with yourself that you more typically show to other people.
Just having friends nearby can push you toward productivity. “There’s a concept in ADHD treatment called the ‘body double,’ ” says David Nowell, Ph.D., a clinical neuropsychologist from Worcester, Massachusetts. “Distractable people get more done when there is someone else there, even if he isn’t coaching or assisting them.” If you’re facing a task that is dull or difficult, such as cleaning out your closets or pulling together your receipts for tax time, get a friend to be your body double
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