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Boost Productivity

A course by Charles Duhigg.

Charles Duhigg

Charles Duhigg

Pulitzer-winning reporter and best-selling author

  • Overview
  • Episodes
  • Recommended for you

Overview

In this masterclass, Charles Duhigg presents case studies and strategies for boosting focus, creativity, motivation, and more, in service of becoming our most productive selves.


What You'll Learn

  • How to unleash innovation and creativity

  • How to realistically plan your work

  • How to learn and remember more effectively

  • How to make make informed choices

  • How to enhance your motivation and focus


Course Outline

EP 1: Unleash Innovation Using Stretch Goals

Revolutionary change in any industry, organization, or individual life never begins with tiny goals.


EP 2: Pair Your Ambition with a Realistic Plan

Is your to-do list killing your productivity? 


EP 3: Learn, Remember and Apply New Information

Two tools from the cognitive science can help us significantly in making sense of new information and storing it in memory: intentional disfluency and conscious scaffolding.


EP 4: Empower Your Team, A Case Study of Toyota's Lean Management Philosophy

In the 1980s, Toyota ushered in a management revolution that enabled workers to solve the problems closest to them instead of involving high-level managers. 


EP 5: Create Psychological Safety

What makes a team successful? If you guessed “the qualities of its members”, you’re wrong. 


EP 6: Strengthen Motivation in Yourself and Others

The term “self-starter” is misleading-- anyone can learn and build the skill of self-motivation. 


EP 7: Stoke Your Creativity, A Case Study of the Brainstorming Behind Disney's "Frozen"

Shockingly, Frozen almost died in development-- how did Frozen's team use the “Disney method” to creatively jumpstart the project?


EP 8: Make Better Informed Choices

To choose wisely, you need to engage in probabilistic thinking. 


EP 9: Enhance Your Focus

In this increasingly complex world, attention is your most valuable asset. How can you defend it from this onslaught?

Episodes

9 Episodes

1. Unleash Innovation Using Stretch Goals

5min

Innovation often happens in a series of baby steps. It often involves breaking down a massive challenge into smaller, more manageable pieces. But revolutionary change in any industry, organization, or individual life never begins with tiny goals.In studying the science of productivity, Charles Duhigg came across hundreds of examples demonstrating that “stretch goals” are the foundation of soaring innovation. He cites the case of Japan’s railway system, post World War Two. In order to rebuild ...

2. Pair Your Ambition with a Realistic Plan

8min

Is your to-do list killing your productivity? It’s entirely possible. Most people’s instinctive approach to daily goal-setting is to grab a piece of paper and jot down tasks from easiest to most resource-intensive. Psychologically, this has a “mood repair” advantage because it feels good to cross a bunch of things off your list quickly. But in terms of productivity, it’s a disaster.

3. Learn, Remember and Apply New Information

7min

We’re flooded with information these days. This is the blessing and the curse of Internet connectivity and powerful new tools for mass data collection. It’s a blessing when we know how to make use of it all, and a curse when we’re simply overwhelmed. Two tools from the cognitive science of learning can help us significantly in making sense of new information and storing it in memory to use when we need it: intentional disfluency and conscious scaffolding.

4. Empower Your Team, A Case Study of Toyota's Lean Management Philosophy

5min

Hierarchies are efficient. That’s why they exist. They’re big, clumsy machines that are good at making large-scale decisions. What they’re not so great at, however, is motivating employees to do their best and most innovative work. Recognizing this back in the 1980s, Toyota ushered in a management revolution. Its “lean” or “agile” management philosophy empowered workers to solve the problems closest to them (and therefore to their area of expertise). It resulted in far greater efficiency ...

5. Create Psychological Safety

8min

What makes a team successful? If you guessed “the qualities of its members”, you’re wrong, but you’re in very good company. That was Google’s guess, too, when it launched a massive internal study of teamwork. As it happened, the skill sets or temperamental balance of the members did not correlate at all with team success as measured in terms of cohesion, productivity, and innovation. What mattered most was “psychological safety”. A “psychologically safe” team environment encourages equa...

6. Strengthen Motivation in Yourself and Others

6min

When you think of Marines, “independent” might not be the first adjective that comes to mind. But these elite teams, just like any company today, function best when composed of self-starters. People with what psychologists call an “internal locus of control” that drives them to take accountability for getting the job done. But the term “self-starter” is misleading. It implies a type of person with a natural tendency to hold herself accountable for making tough decisions. While some might b...

7. Stoke Your Creativity, A Case Study of the Brainstorming Behind Disney's "Frozen"

4min

In every industry, in every company, every person knows what it feels like to be stuck in development. You’ve got an idea or a project that seems great on the surface, but after an enormous outpouring of energy it just ends up going nowhere. How do you get out of these doldrums? Disney’s film Frozen was the single largest-grossing cartoon film of all time. But it almost died in development. The story of how Frozen’s team used the “Disney method” to creatively jumpstart the project can help ...

8. Make Better Informed Choices

6min

“Everything happens for a reason” might be a comforting thing to believe, but it is unlikely to make you a great decision maker. Why? Because good decision making means actively investigating multiple future possibilities. It means accepting that there are many different ways things could go, and that you can play an active role in choosing among them. To choose wisely, you need to engage in probabilistic thinking; evaluating the likeliest outcome of each possible path. This is the opposite of...

9. Enhance Your Focus

4min

These days, everything competes for your attention. Emerging technologies offer new virtual windows through which brands, colleagues, and loved ones can buzz, blip, and ping at you pretty much at will. But in this increasingly complex world, attention is your most valuable asset. How can you defend it from this onslaught? Through the simple act of mental modeling, says Charles Duhigg.

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