The psychology of what motivates us, animated

Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose: The Science of What Motivates Us, Animated

“The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table: Pay people enough so that they’re not thinking about money and they’re thinking about the work. Once you do that, it turns out there are three factors that the science shows lead to better performance, not to mention personal satisfaction: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.”

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (public library)

Business- 7 playful activity books for grown-ups to catalyze creativity

CHEERFUL IN 3 ½ MONTHS

“The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over, and then expecting different results,” Einstein famously proclaimed. In Cheerful In 3 ½ Months, spotted last week at the NY Art Book Fair, author Gerard Janseninvites you to do precisely the opposite, finding your sanity by doing things a bit differently than you’re used to. The utterly delightful pocket-sized volume, with gorgeous illustrations by Dutch designer Sue Doeksen, offers one offbeat daily task each day to put some cheer in your life.

Here’s a sneak peek at the Dutch version, subsequently translated in English:

Images via bloesem living

THE OPEN DAY BOOK

You might recall The Open Daybook by LA-based writer and artist David P. Earle and our friends at Mark Batty — a wonderful interactive perpetual calendar with artwork by 365 of today’s most exciting visual artists, one for each day of the year. Each dated page allows you to fill in your schedule or jot down a creative response to the artwork, turning it into a weird and wonderful hybrid of datebook, sketchbook and daily art journal. Featured in the book are favorite artists likeChuck JonesMiranda JulyDallas Clayton (),Stefanie Posavec ( ), and Christoph Niemann (  ).

Christoph Niemann
Dallas Clayton
Miranda July
Chuck Jones
Stefanie Posavec

Images courtesy of Mark Batty Publisher

EVERYTHING THAT CAN HAPPEN IN A DAY

Also from our friends at Mark Batty comes Everything That Can Happen in a Day — a playful activity activity journal by artist David Horvitz, who every day over the course of 2009 posted a different exercise on his blog, encouraging readers to follow along and insert some art into daily life. From poetry readings in ATM kiosks to tagging along with the mailman on his route, this compendium collects Horvitz’s favorite ideas for injecting art and humor into the ordinary, with plenty of negative space for you to doodle and take notes on your own experience.

Images courtesy of Mark Batty Publisher

WRECK THIS BOX

Author, illustrator and guerrilla artist Keri Smith is a masterful and prolific creator of the interactive journals. Wreck This Box is a wonderful box set of her three masterpieces: Wreck This Journal, a lovely illustrated journal inviting you to conjure your best mistake-making skills and indulge your destructivist demons as part of the creative process,This Is Not a Book, which rethinks the purpose and function of a book and invites you along for the journey, and Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes, a potent antidote for your lifelong conditioning for overthinking and fear of being wrong. Even the box set itself comes with instructions for how to wreck it and ample encouragement to “make a mess with the box.”

Images by Kimberly Ripley

WALLS NOTEBOOK

If you’re ever fostered fantasies of tagging a downtown facade but never gotten past ogling the spray cans at Home Depot, then you’re in luck. EnterWalls Notebook, which you might recall from earlier this year. The brainchild of NYC-based photographer and designer Sherwood Forlee, this charming activity book invites you, armed with a Sharpie, to unleash your inner graffiti artist on irresistibly inviting blank-slate urban walls from around New York City.

Images via the.

ASTONISH YOURSELF

Astonish Yourself: 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life by French philosopher and Le Monde columnist Roger-Pol Droit is based on the premise that “the starting point for astonishment gives rise to philosophy.” Each of the simple exercises peels away at a corner of existence, at once a comforting reassurance of our aliveness and a magical gateway to discovering the invisible whimsy in the mundane. From inhabiting the planet of small gestures to saying your name out loud in a quiet room to looking for a blue blood, these micro-meditations on the practice of being human will infuse your everyday with a little more serendipity and charm, and help you understand your fellow human beings a little more in the process.

To sum up, the purpose of this entertainment could be contained in this brief exchange:

– Where are you headed? — Wherever you get to!

  344 QUESTIONS

In there mere three weeks since we first featured the delightful 344 Questions: The Creative Person’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight, Survival, and Artistic Fulfillment by ever-inventive designer Stefan G. Bucher (of You Deserve a Medal and Daily Monster fame), it has quickly become the most popular book in Brain Pickings’ entire five-year history. The lovely pocket-sized gem, illustrated in Bucher’s unmistakable style, helps you flowchart your way to personal and professional happiness and figure out life’s big answers.

Besides Bucher’s own questions, the tiny but potent handbook features contributions from 36 beloved cross-disciplinary creators, including Brain Pickings favorites Christoph Niemann, Stefan Sagmeister, Marian Bantjes,Doyald Young, and Jakob Trollbäck.

Let’s be clear: I want this book to be useful to you. There are many great how-to books and biographies out there, and even more gorgeous collections of current and classic work to awe and inspire. But looking at catalogs of artistic success won’t make you a better artist any more than looking at photos of healthy people will cure your cold. You’ve got to take action!” ~ Stefan G. Bucher

Images copyright © 2012. Pearson Education, Inc. and New Riders

We are all different people, but we face a lot of the same questions. The point of this book is to give you lots of questions you can use to look at your life — in a new way, with a different perspective, or maybe just in more detail than you have before — so you can find out how you work, what you want to do, and how you can get it done in a way that works for you. Specifically.” ~ Stefan G. Bucher

See more images here.

via Maria Popova

Business – Rules for a Simpler Day

9 Rules for a Simpler Day

Our days fill up so fast, and are so rushed and filled with distractions, that they seem to be bursting.

It’s a huge source of stress for most people, and stress is perhaps the most important factor determining whether we’re healthy or sick.

So how can we simplify our days? It’s not incredibly hard, but I’ve found it’s best done in steps.

These are the steps I followed, though of course calling them “rules” means we should test them and break them as needed. No rules should be followed blindly. I’ve found these to work really well, though.

See below for June Challenge to help you implement a simpler day.

9 Rules for a Simpler Day

These are the rules I suggest:

  1. Know What’s Important. The simple version of simplifying is “Identify what’s important, and eliminate the rest.” So take time to identify the most important things in your life (4-5 things), and then see what activities, tasks, projects, meeting and commitments fit in with that list. Also take time each day to identify 1-3 Most Important Tasks (MITs), at the beginning of your day. Or the night before, for the next day.
  2. Visualize Your Perfect Day. This is not so much because this “perfect day” will come true, as it is to understand what a simple day means to you. It’s different for each person — for me, it might mean some meditation and writing and spending time with my wife and kids. For others, it’s yoga and painting and a hot bath. For others, it’s time to focus on the important work, but still get other things done later in the day. Take a minute to visualize what it means to you.
  3. Say No to Extra Commitments. Now that you’ve identified what’s important, along with the “perfect day”, you need to start saying “No” to things that aren’t on your important list, and that are standing in the way of the perfect day. The biggest thing you can say No to is a commitment — membership on a committee, involvement in a project, coaching or participating in a team, going to an event, being a partner in a business, etc. List and evaluate your commitments (professional, civic and personal), and say No to at least one. It just takes a call or email.
  4. Limit Tasks. Each morning, list your 1-3 most important tasks. List other tasks you’d like to do. Say no to some of them. See if you can limit your list to 5-7 tasks per day (not counting little things, which you’ll batch). Limiting your tasks helps you focus, and acknowledges you’re not going to get everything done in one day.
  5. Carve Out Un-distraction Time. When are you going to do your most important work? Schedule it with a block of time (1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, whatever works for you). Make this your most sacred appointment. Become incommunicado. Close the Internet, all notifications, hold all calls. Just do the most important task, then the next one if you have time.
  6. Slow Down. We rush through our days, almost in a single frenetic anxiety-filled non-stop movement. Instead, slow down. Life won’t collapse if you aren’t rushing from task to task, email to email. You can pause, take a moment to reflect, smile, enjoy the current task before moving on.
  7. Mindfully Single-task. Stop multi-tasking. One task at a time, with full focus on that task. Practice mindfulness as you do the task — it’s a form of meditation. Watch your thoughts wander to what you need to do later, but then return to the task at hand. Your day will be much simpler, and much more enjoyable, when you practice being present with your current task.
  8. Batch Smaller Tasks, Then Let go. Email, paperwork, little things at the bottom of your task list (create a “small tasks” section at the bottom), minor phone calls, etc. … these shouldn’t get in the way of your important tasks. But they still need to be done sometime (unless you can let them go, which is best whenever possible). If you need to do them, batch them and do them in one go. It’s best to do these later in the day, when your energy is lower and you’ve done the important tasks for the day. Don’t let the small tasks get in the way of the big ones. When you’ve done a batch of small tasks (including processing email), let them go, and get out. You don’t want to do this all day, or even half a day.
  9. Create Space Between. We cram our tasks and meetings together, and leave no spaces between them. The space between things is just as important as the things themselves. Leave a little space between meetings, even tasks. Take a break to stretch, walk around, get a glass of water, perhaps do some simple breathing meditation for a minute or two. Enjoy the space.
By Leo Babauta