Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Does our Pursuit of Happiness hinder Getting Things Done?

Taking a bit of a flyer on this one. Not particularly thought through, but it struck me in preparation for a talk entitled The Science of Happiness.

In a line from Daniel Nettle’s great book ‘Happiness, The Science behind your Smile’   he states ‘…happiness, though, is not calculated by a simple summing up of all the positive moments and a subtraction of the negative ones. It also involves more complex cognitive processes, such as comparison with alternative possible outcomes (note: this quote refers to something he calls ‘level two happiness’ which is all about ‘judgements about the balance of feelings’. A hybrid of emotion and judgement about emotion.

Now it’s a very pop. psychology way of thinking about it, but could this element of our happiness ‘assessment’ also operate as a pre-assessment in advance of activities?

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Nudge Yourself To Change

Back to the game playing idea, I read an interesting article in the Times loosely based around Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s book Nudge.

Thaler and Sunstein ‘demonstrate how thoughtful “choice architecture” can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice’. They suggest how accepting our ‘peopleness’ and suggesting rather than telling will lead to greater success in change.

They show that by knowing how people think, ‘we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society’

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Time Management and Satisficing

Massage by Steve Woods

Massage by Steve Woods

Satisficing is defined as ‘a decision-making strategy which attempts to meet criteria for adequacy, rather than to identify an optimal solution’ – Wikipedia. It is a blend of words: satisfy and suffice.

Most tasks tend to expand to fill the time that we give to do them.

I started thinking about whether satisficing could help explain why it is sometimes possible to create some great work in the 30 minutes before a deadline and yet produce a similar quality (if more long-winded) product if you’ve given yourself a day to do it.

I wrote about whether I create these time bound situations myself to thrive better under stress. Now I wonder whether satisficing is the flip side of this. That of producing something that satisfies and is sufficient for the time given.

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