The Most Productive People Think This More Often: Charles Duhigg

Productivity is not something that has an objective standard; productivity is what people define as being helpful to them.

.. We are living through this economic revolution that most economists agree will be as profound as the Agrarian Revolution or the Industrial Revolution in terms of how we live, and work, and how our social lives function. And what happens is during each economic revolution is that the definition of productivity is actually what’s being revolutionized.

.. Before the Industrial Revolution the most important unit of productivity was the hour. How did you spend your hour? And the best way to be productive before the Industrial Revolution was to simply own land. If you owned land and had access to cheap labor, you had a whole bunch of other people’s hours to apply to that land. So you were super productive and you were super successful and rich, even if you were sitting around drinking gin and tonics all day.

.. The Industrial Revolution changed all that. All the sudden, simply spending hours on a task does not matter as much as how much smarts you bring to that task. Because if you can invent a machine that can work as fast as five humans, hence this machine is doing the task more efficiently, then it doesn’t matter if you have more hours.

.. And right now, we’re living through this economic revolution, whether you call it the “knowledge revolution” or the “technology revolution” something is happening right now that is changing the definition of productivity.

.. What I do think is unique to this age is the number of ways that we can be distracted, or the different channels for “busyness” have now exploded. That means it’s easier to feel overwhelmed and feel busy.

.. Email was the original asynchronous coordinating device. The benefit of email is that you can send a message to someone and they can reply to it when they have a minute, as opposed to being available when you call.

.. What Google found, and this is backed by science, is that there is this group norm known as psychological safety. Psychological safety is this idea that you can bring your full self to work, and you can be you, and the group will hear you being you and not bristle against it.

.. ostentatious listening. Simply listening to someone often isn’t enough. You have to show them you’re listening by doing things like picking up on nonverbal cues, repeating what they said to you, complimenting their idea, or taking their idea and building on it.

.. So all this said, what is the *true secret* to productivity?

A huge part of it is exposing yourself to the knowledge of alternative ways of thinking that are possible.

.. They’re more productive because they develop mental habits, what psychologists sometimes call “cognitive mental routines” that push them to think more deeply about the choices they’re making. The best way to learn how to think better is to expose yourself to more ideas, and more specifically, lessons that explain to you how to think differently and expose you to the habits around how to think differently on a regular basis.

.. The literal secret to productivity is someone saying, “Oh, I never thought about it that way.”tiny_twitter_bird.pngTweet this


Growth Can Solve the Debt Dilemma

Hitting a 3% target would result in an economy that’s nearly $13 trillion larger in 30 years.

 But consider what happens to the CBO’s numbers assuming 3% annual growth. By 2040 the economy would expand not to $29.9 trillion, but to $38.3 trillion, according to an analysis by Research Affiliates, a California investment firm. That’s an additional output of $8.4 trillion—roughly the entire annual production today of every state west of the Mississippi River.

By 2047, the economy would grow to $47.1 trillion, almost $13 trillion more than the CBO’s baseline estimate. That would spin off new tax revenue to Washington of about $2.5 trillion each year.‎That money ought to be more than enough to pay all the bills and cover most of the unfunded costs of Social Security and Medicare. The old saying is right: The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.
.. Many blue-chip economists agree with the CBO that a growth rate of about 2% is the best that America can achieve.
.. But the right policies can counter these trends. Productivity should surge with improvements in robotics, artificial intelligence and automation. Self-driving cars could cut transportation costs dramatically in coming years. Washington could facilitate this renaissance by giving companies an incentive to invest.
The Tax Foundation predicted last year that the House Republican tax reform alone would raise wages by 8%, GDP by 9% and capital investment by 28%.
.. at least seven million Americans in their prime working years—18 to 65—would be on the job today if labor-force participation had not dropped since 2000. A strong economy, paired with welfare reforms, could draw millions back to work.
.. And immigration is America’s natural demographic safety valve.

As Trump Unmuzzles the Economy, Rosy Scenario Will Become Economic Reality

President Obama’s first budget forecast roughly eight years ago was much rosier than Trump’s. And there was nary a peep of criticism from the mainstream-media outlets and the consensus of economists.

.. the Obama policy didn’t include a single economic-growth incentive. Not one. Instead, there was a massive $850 billion so-called spending stimulus (Whatever became of those spending multipliers?), a bunch of public-works programs that never got off the ground, and finally Obamacare, which really was one giant tax increase.

.. So eight years ago tax-and-spend was perfectly okay. And the projection that it would produce a 4 percent growth rate perfectly satisfied the economic consensus.

.. So here’s President Trump reaching back through history for a common-sense growth policy that worked in the 1960s, when JFK slashed marginal tax rates on individuals and corporations, and again in the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan slashed tax rates across-the-board and sparked a two-decade boom of roughly 4 percent real annual growth. But the economic consensus won’t buy Trump’s plan.

.. Most of the Trump critics point to the decline in productivity over the past 15 years. They say, unless productivity jumps to 2.5 percent or so, and unless labor-force participation rises, we can’t possibly have 3 to 4 percent growth.

.. “Take off the muzzle and the economy will roar.”

Picketty: Of productivity in France and in Germany

If we calculate the average labour productivity by dividing the GDP (the Gross Domestic Product, that is the total value of goods and services produced in a country in one year) by the total number of hours worked (by both salaried and non-salaried employees), we then find that France is at practically the same level as the United States and Germany, with an average productivity of approximately 55 Euros per hour worked in 2015, or more than 25% higher than the United Kingdom or Italy (roughly 42 Euros) and almost three times higher than in 1970 (less than the equivalent of 20 Euros in 2015; all figures are expressed in purchasing power parity and in 2015 Euros, that is after taking into account inflation and price levels in the different countries)