There’s a new way to improve your productivity at work that doesn’t involve watching cat videos, taking a nap, or achieving inbox zero. In the new book Smarter Faster Better: the Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, author Charles Duhigg writes that narrating your own life story (don’t worry, not literally out loud) is the key to getting more stuff done. Scientists at MIT who conducted the research use the fancy term “mental modeling,” but that really just means running through your day in your head—thinking about the stuff that’s already happened and the things you still need to do.
Doing so will help you quickly decide whether something unexpected deserves your attention. And since it’ll be harder to ruffle your feathers, work should be calmer. To give it a try, spend your morning commute running through a list of all the things you have to do that day (using as much detail as possible). When hiccups come up, determine if they should be a priority, can wait, or are a total distraction.
(h/t The Science of Us)