The Key to Productivity Isn’t More Rest, It’s Intentionality

The Key to Productivity Isn’t More Rest, It’s Intentionality


Link: “Darwin Was a Slacker”

For some of us, the notion that working only part-time on a legacy project is the best approach is tempting. Is it possible to do such a thing? Sure, of course. Free time and the ability to choose how you spend your time in the first place is a privilege.

But is it ideal to follow that approach? I don’t think so.

I stumbled upon this article and simultaneously liked and disliked it. Read the whole thing—you might relate to it more than me.

“Figures as different as Charles Dickens, Henri Poincaré, and Ingmar Bergman, working in disparate fields in different times, all shared a passion for their work, a terrific ambition to succeed, and an almost superhuman capacity to focus. Yet when you look closely at their daily lives, they only spent a few hours a day doing what we would recognize as their most important work.

The rest of the time, they were hiking mountains, taking naps, going on walks with friends, or just sitting and thinking. Their creativity and productivity, in other words, were not the result of endless hours of toil. Their towering creative achievements result from modest ‘working’ hours.”

I enjoyed the examples, and as I said—it’s tempting to think this is the answer. Just take it easy. It will come to you.

And sure, maybe it will.

I just know that for me, there’s more to it than “work in the morning, sit around and think in the afternoon.” That’s how it’s always, always been.

The answer isn’t only “work hard all the time,” because of course you can work hard all the time on the wrong things. But I don’t think the answer is to coast either.

It’s more like: find the right thing, then give it all you’ve got. A two-step plan, essentially:

1. Do whatever it takes to find this thing

2. Do whatever it takes to keep it

These days I’m basically working all the time, from before dawn till way past sunset. I’ve always worked hard, but the non-stop pace of a daily podcast added to everything else has increased the (self-applied) pressure.

Yet I honestly haven’t felt more productive in a long time. I feel good! I’m shipping work out and connecting with people.

It’s great that an audience has responded to well to the show (it’s currently receiving over 1.5 million downloads a month), but I can honestly say that I love the work for its own sake. I’m planning a book launch for the fall, a major tour, and several other projects that I’ll keep close to my chest until they’re ready.

I have zero desire to pull back on any of this. If I could make any impossible change to the order and structure of my day, I’d have two hours added to it.

It’s fine if you disagree with this pace or routine, by the way. But before you decide that you do, ask yourself: have I found my mission? Do I truly know what I hope to accomplish in my life, or who I wish to become?

Because Darwin certainly had a mission. So did Rodin and Thomas Mann, two other people mentioned in that article. If you have a mission, why would you slow down? If the goalpost is in front of you, it’s time to sprint, not stall.

The other thing is that we’re all going to die, something I try to remind myself of every day. I think I’ll make another cup of coffee… and keep working away.


Image: Tim

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Val Kilmer Publicly Acknowledges His Cancer Battle For the First Time

After years of speculation that Val Kilmer has been dealing with health issues, the actor decided to finally open up about what exactly he’s been going through during a recent Reddit AMA session. After one user asked Val about Michael Douglas publicly saying Val was battling throat cancer back in October, Val confirmed his illness for the first time. "He was probably trying to help me because the press probably asked where I was these days, and I did have a healing of cancer," he said. "But my tongue is still swollen although healing all the time. Because I don’t sound my normal self yet people think I may still be under the weather."

Michael, who is also a throat cancer survivor, had previously said that his The Ghost and the Darkness costar was "dealing with exactly what I had" and that "things don’t look too good for him," adding, "My prayers are with him. That’s why you haven’t heard too much from Val lately." While rumors of Val’s health swirled over the past few years, he continued to deny frequent hospital stays and "exaggerated" media reports. Either way, we’re so glad that he’s on the mend!


Gig Economy Companies Have Been Accused Of “Free Riding” On The Benefits System

Gig economy companies are taking advantage of the UK benefits system to support the people that work for them, a report by the work and pensions committee has said.

The committee, chaired by Labour MP Frank Field, called on the government to “close loopholes exploited by gig economy companies”, and urged it to make companies like Uber, Amazon Flex, Deliveroo and Hermes categorise those who work for them as “workers” by default, rather than as self-employed.

The inquiry, which saw representatives from those companies hauled before MPs, explored the impact of the gig-economy upon the people that work in it, which sees companies signing up those who work for them as self-employed contractors, rather than as “workers”.

Those who are self-employed, however, are not entitled to rights that they would be as workers, including the minimum wage, sick pay, holiday pay, or a company pension.

The report found the benefits system was acting as a safety net, with ordinary taxpayers being made to “pick up the tab” for benefits that gig-economy companies should otherwise be providing.

“Increasingly, some companies are using self-employed workforces as cheap labour,” the report said, “[while] excusing themselves from both responsibilities towards their workers and from substantial National Insurance liabilities, pension auto-enrolment responsibilities and the Apprenticeship Levy.”

Those gig-economy companies, the committee said, were “propagating a myth of self-employment.”

Field, the committee’s chair, said the inquiry had “convinced” him of the need to offer “worker” status to the drivers who work with companies such as Uber as the default option”, which would be a “much fairer reflection of the work they undertake” and “protect them from some of the appalling practices that have been reported to the committee in this inquiry.”

“It is clearly profit and profit only that is the motive for designating workers as self-employed,” he said. “The companies get all the benefits, while workers take on all the risks and the state will be expected to pick up the tab.

“It is up to government to close the loopholes that are currently being exploited by these companies, as part of a necessary and wide ranging reform to the regulation of corporate behaviour.”

BuzzFeed News asked the companies that gave evidence to the inquiry to respond to the report.

A spokesperson for Uber said: “Almost all taxi and private hire drivers in the UK have been self-employed for decades and with Uber they have more control over what they do.” They added that Uber drivers were “free to choose if, when and where they drive with no shifts, minimum hours or uniforms.”

“The vast majority of drivers who use Uber tell us they want to remain their own boss as that’s the main reason why they signed up to us in the first place.”

A spokesperson for Amazon referred BuzzFeed News to an earlier statement, which stated that “the majority of people participating in Amazon Flex already have full or part time jobs and use the programme to top up their income.” They added that it offered people the opportunity to work on “their schedule”.

Hermes and Deliveroo had not responded at the time of publication.

Sara Spary is a consumer business correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Sara Spary at

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Facebook And Twitter Should Be Fined If They Are Too Slow To Remove Hateful Content, MPs Say

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites should be fined if they fail to remove illegal content within a given timeframe, a committee of MPs has said.

In a highly critical report, the home affairs committee said social media companies were “shamefully far” from tackling dangerous and hateful content.

The committee is calling on the government to bring in new laws to penalise companies that fail to act, and wants the sites to contribute financially towards the cost of policing to do so – comparing the situation to a football team that pays for policing in its stadium on match days.

In their report, MPs on the committee said it was “completely irresponsible” of some of the biggest social media companies not to be more proactive in tackling hate speech and other dangerous or illegal content online, given their size, resources, and technology.

MPs found repeated evidence of illegal material not being removed after it had been reported, including terror recruitment videos on Facebook from jihadi and neo-Nazi groups (despite being reported by the committee itself), anti-Semitic attacks made against MPs, and material encouraging child abuse or sexual images of children.

Committee chair Yvette Cooper, the former shadow home secretary, said the failure of sites such as Facebook and Twitter to deal with dangerous material online was a “disgrace”.

“They have been asked repeatedly to come up with better systems to remove illegal material such as terrorist recruitment or online child abuse,” she said. “Yet repeatedly they have failed to do so. It is shameful. These are among the biggest, richest and cleverest companies in the world, and their services have become a crucial part of people’s lives. This isn’t beyond them to solve, yet they are failing to do so.”

Cooper said social media sites were operating as “platforms for hatred and extremism”, but were not even taking “basic steps” to quickly stop illegal material being posted or shared.

She added: “The government should also review the law and its enforcement to ensure it is fit for purpose for the 21st century. No longer can we afford to turn a blind eye.”

The original scope of the home affairs committee’s inquiry included wider issues of hate crime, not just limited to online spaces, but it was unable to fulfil the full remit due to the general election being called and parliament’s imminent dissolution. The committee said it hoped its successor would return to the topic in the next parliament.

When contacted for comment, a spokesperson for Twitter pointed to the company’s latest transparency report that said 74% of terrorist accounts were removed through Twitter’s own technology, while 2% of accounts were reported to police.

Between the beginning of August 2015 and the end of 2016, Twitter said it had suspended 636,248 accounts for promoting terrorism.

Simon Milner, Facebook’s director of policy, said in a statement: “Nothing is more important to us than people’s safety on Facebook. That is why we have quick and easy ways for people to report content, so that we can review, and if necessary remove, it from our platform.

“We agree with the committee that there is more we can do to disrupt people wanting to spread hate and extremism online. That’s why we are working closely with partners, including experts at Kings College, London, and at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, to help us improve the effectiveness of our approach. We look forward to engaging with the new government and parliament on these important issues after the election.”

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How To Adult, According To Popular Opinion

It’s unclear when the concept of “adulting” emerged but it’s now undeniably ua thing. And now pollsters have begun to figure out exactly what adulting means to Americans.

First and foremost, according a national Ipsos poll that asked what you need to do to be classified as a legit adult, you need to pay your own bills. Among the respondents, 76% of 18- to 34-year olds listed that as a must-do, as did 81% of people over 55.

A few other things were widely considered adult necessities across all age groups: moving out of your parents’ place, having a job, and doing your own laundry.

But there is also plenty of disagreement between young and old. The over-55 set were almost 20 percentage points more likely to list not getting financial help from your parents as a core adult trait. Young people, burdened by an unprecedented mountain of student debt and facing wages that have barely grown in decades, think otherwise.

And under-35s, who’ve come of age in a culture obsessed with food, were almost ten points more likely than over-55s to list regularly cooking your own meals as an important adult trait.

But there are also some things would-be adults everywhere can safely disregard, according to the poll. Just 18% of respondents said daily flossing was a key habit, and only 16% listed “getting a flu shot every winter.” About 19% listed donating to charity.

Chris Jackson, the pollster who conducted the survey and who describes himself as a Gen X-er, said his team of eight is entirely millennials. In developing the survey, they tried to get a handle on what the more nebulous aspects of adulthood in America might be — things like financial independence, caring for one’s own health, hosting holidays, and having your own Netflix password.

“From what I understand now, ‘adulting’ is less about the legal obligations — voting or serving in the military — and more about these other expectations and responsibilities,” Jackson said. “But you should tell me.”

Cora Lewis is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Lewis reports on labor.

Contact Cora Lewis at

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New “Twin Peaks” Trailer Features New Location Footage: Watch

New “Twin Peaks” Trailer Features New Location Footage: Watch

We’re less than a month away from the return of “Twin Peaks,” which will have a two-hour premiere on Showtime on Sunday, May 21. Now, in a new trailer, director David Lynch has given fans a look at some familiar locations from the fictional town of Twin Peaks, including the sheriff’s department, Laura Palmer’s house, the Double R Diner, and more. Check that out below. We’ve already gotten a look at the show’s returning cast, including Kyle MacLachlan, Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer), Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne).

Check out all of Pitchfork’s “Twin Peaks” coverage here, and revisit our feature “The Discomfort Zone: Exploring the Musical Legacy of David Lynch,” as well as “The Musical Legacy of ‘Twin Peaks’” on the Pitch.


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