Blog: Creative Decision Making and Goal Achievement

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Blog: Creative Decision Making and Goal Achievement

What to expect if you subscribe? 

You’ll receive news about decision making, including topics such as career choices, strategic planning, goal achievement, will-power, procrastination, creative thinking, risk and uncertainty, intuition, etc. You’ll hear about research findings and get practical tips, book recommendations, or updates of upcoming events, for example workshops or talks on those topics.

You can of course easily unsubscribe at any time, and your email will not be shared or used for any other purpose.

by Ursina Teuscher (PhD), at Teuscher Decision Coaching, Portland OR

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German Translations of Decision Coaching Methods

(And you’ll also find some similar resources in English.)

I’m excited about my upcoming opportunity this month to teach several postgraduate seminars to career counselors in Switzerland again. The topic will be decision coaching methods: how to apply decision support tools in a career counseling setting. For that purpose I created course materials in German. I’m happy to share a part of those materials here, because I know some of my blog readers are native German speakers, or work with German-speaking clients, and have asked me before about resources in German.

The following are all downloadable pdf’s:German Translations of Decision Coaching Methods: Entscheidungshilfen in der Beratungsarbeit: Wegleitung und Methoden (Ursina Teuscher, PhD)

  1. Entscheidungshilfen in der Beratungsarbeit – Wegleitung und Methoden
    [Not the same, but the most similar resource I have in English: Decision making guideline – workshop handout with exercises]
  2. Vorlage für Szenarienbäume
    [In English: Paper/pencil template for scenario trees]
  3. Vorlagen für quantitative Entscheidungsmethoden
    [In English: Paper/pencil templates for decision tables and trees]

The first one is a guideline with exercises, outlining my framework and process for tackling difficult decisions. The German version includes a few more specific counseling methods than the English version.

German Translations of Decision Coaching Methods: SzenarienbaumThe second one is a template for a scenario tree that can give you clarity in thinking through risky options. Drawing this kind of scenario tree helps you get a clear structure into your thoughts or into a conversation by visualizing different courses of action and their possible consequences that are in or out of your control. It does not include a quantitive evaluation, but it is a good step in getting your thoughts ready for the quantitive part. Or, if you’re anything like myself or many of my clients or students, clarity may well hit you suddenly on the way there.

The third document contains several tools: two templates for classic decision matrices to evaluate options based on multiple criteria; a classic probability tree template to evaluate risky options; and also a less commonly found template that combines both of those tools, for decisions that involve multiple criteria as well as major risks.

German Translations of Decision Coaching Methods: Entscheidungsmethoden Quantitativ (Ursina Teuscher, PhD)Please feel free to use any part of these materials for your own personal use or to help others with their decisions. You can find more here among the rest of my collection of resources. (If you share any of this, I’m honored, and I appreciate your crediting the source as practical and appropriate. If you manage to sell it, I bow before you.)

Depending on your familiarity with decision support tools, you may or may not find these materials self-explanatory. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions about them.

by Ursina Teuscher (PhD), at Teuscher Decision Coaching, Portland OR

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Posted in Counseling/Coaching, Decision-Making, Problem Solving, Risk and Uncertainty

Valentine’s Special: Chocolate and Coaching

I’m offering a new coaching package for couples. Could you use some help improving your shared time management, figuring out priorities, getting better organized together? If you sign up for your first exploratory Strategy Session before Valentine’s Day, you’ll receive a box of the world-famous Teuscher Champagne Truffles at our first meeting.

Read more about the couples coaching program and schedule a first session here.

Couples Coaching Valentine Special
And no, you’re not the only one wondering: people keep asking me whether I’m related to the “Chocolate Teuschers”. Sadly, not that I know of. But that won’t stop me from loving them, and from using their most delicious treats to get us all started on a sweet note.

by Ursina Teuscher (PhD), at Teuscher Decision Coaching, Portland OR

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Posted in Achieving Goals, Counseling/Coaching, Decision-Making, Financial Decisions, Health Decisions, Problem Solving

Consumer Decisions: Should we Invest into Possessions or Experiences?

If your finances are limited at all as a consumer, you are constantly faced with the decision: how should you spend your money in order to get the most lasting happiness and satisfaction from your purchases? 

With the holidays and the gifting season coming up for many, this is a particularly important question, because you may be spending money on others, not just on yourself.

Consumer Decisions: Possessions or Experiences?

Photo by Duncan Rawlinson

Should we buy possessions or experiences?

A lot of research shows that spending our money on experiences, such as vacations and concerts, makes us happier than buying material possessions, like clothes and electronic gadgets. For experiences, we’re also more likely to regret inaction, that is the decision NOT to buy, as a missed opportunity. For material purchases on the other hand, we’re more likely to regret action by feeling buyer’s remorse afterwards.

A very recent study shows that we like to delay gratification more if the rewards are experiences, rather than material goods. In other words, when we buy things like clothing or gadgets, we want to use them right away. But when we pay for experiences, like vacations or meals out, we don’t mind some waiting before the event. You might say this makes sense, because once we have the material possessions, we can keep them, so why not get them sooner rather than later?

However, somewhat counterintuitively, the happiness we derive from material goods doesn’t actually last that long. One study asked people how happy they were with material and experiential purchases. Initially, their happiness with those purchases was ranked about the same. But over time, people’s satisfaction with the things they bought went down, whereas their satisfaction with experiences they spent money on went up.

Isn’t it strange that the happiness we get from a physical object, which we can keep for as long as we want, lasts less than the happiness we get from an experience?

Why do experiences make us happier and keep us satisfied for longer?

In the long run, it is perhaps obvious that most material possessions, being physical objects, lose some of their initial value, such as by wearing out, breaking down, or going out of fashion. But even before that, one problem with material things is that we adapt very quickly to them, because of the very fact that they stay with us. In general, we seem to adapt much more quickly to new things and situations than we expect – for better and for worse. Therefore, the very durability of a possession eventually robs it of its power to make us happy – and faster than we think. Experiences on the other hand, being intangible, not only suffer no such decline, but often get romanticized as they live on in our memories and our stories. They therefore often increase, rather than diminish, in value.

There are several other explanations why experiences make us happier and keep us satisfied for longer than possessions.

With this in mind, Happy Thanksgiving!

by Ursina Teuscher (PhD), at Teuscher Decision Coaching, Portland OR


Selected References:
Boven, L. V., Campbell, M. C., & Gilovich, T. (2010). Stigmatizing Materialism: On Stereotypes and Impressions of Materialistic and Experiential Pursuits. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36(4), 551–563.
Caprariello, P. A., & Reis, H. T. (2013). To do, to have, or to share? Valuing experiences over material possessions depends on the involvement of others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(2), 199.
Carter, T. J., & Gilovich, T. (2010). The relative relativity of material and experiential purchases. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(1), 146–159.
Carter, T. J., & Gilovich, T. (2012). I am what I do, not what I have: The differential centrality of experiential and material purchases to the self. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(6), 1304.
Carter, T. J., & Gilovich, T. (2014). Getting the Most for the Money: The Hedonic Return on Experiential and Material Purchases. In M. Tatzel (Ed.), Consumption and Well-Being in the Material World (pp. 49–62). Springer Netherlands.
Chatterjee, S., Rai, D., & Heath, T. B. (2016). Tradeoff between time and money: The asymmetric consideration of opportunity costs. Journal of Business Research, 69(7), 2560–2566.
Kumar, A., & Gilovich, T. (2016). To do or to have, now or later? The preferred consumption profiles of material and experiential purchases. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 26(2), 169–178.
Mogilner, C., & Aaker, J. (2009). “The Time vs. Money Effect”: Shifting Product Attitudes and Decisions through Personal Connection. Journal of Consumer Research, 36(2), 277–291.
Rosenzweig, E., & Gilovich, T. (2012). Buyer’s remorse or missed opportunity? Differential regrets for material and experiential purchases. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(2), 215–223.
Van Boven, L., & Gilovich, T. (2003). To Do or to Have? That Is the Question. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(6), 1193–1202.

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Posted in Decision-Making, Financial Decisions

Are You Scared of Your Next Decision?

Scared of Your Next Decision?

Edvard Munch (1893): The Scream. Oil, tempera & pastel on cardboard. [Image rights in the public domain.]

Tonight will be a scary night for the bravest of us, with countless children roaming the streets, high on sugar, threatening to knock on our very doors.

However, even today, our most crippling fears probably come from within. Are you scared of your next decision? Afraid of making the wrong choice? Funnily enough, while dogs and – some say – children can smell our fear; on our own we’re not always very good at recognizing when and why we’re scared.

Here’s how you can recognize whether your decision scares you:

  • You avoid making the decision altogether, for example by procrastinating or by shifting the responsibility to others.
  • You get overly emotional about your decision. Maybe you get angry or burst into tears when others are bringing up uncomfortable truths about your situation? Such emotional outbursts are effective ways of shutting down a conversation, and they can be warning signs that your fears are holding you back from thinking and acting in the best way.
  • You keep investing into previous mistakes. This is also known as “escalating commitment”. When coping with poor outcomes of our previous choices, it is tempting to dig in our heels and devote even more resources to our current path, in the hope of somehow making it work. But sometimes, making the best decision for the future requires that we admit having made a mistake in the past. This is not easy: even admitting mistakes just to ourselves takes a lot of courage, but it can open the door to a new and better direction.

If any of these points ring true, take it as a warning sign that you might need more courage to approach your decision.

How to become a braver decision maker

The simplest way to get more courage is to take responsibility for your decision process, even if the outcomes are not all in your control. Follow a decision process that is in line with your values. Without being able to predict the future, we will never have a guarantee that good decisions will lead to good consequences, but there is plenty of evidence showing that a good decision process is indeed more likely to result in better outcomes. Since you will make many decisions over your lifetime, you can therefore be assured that if you follow a good decision process throughout your life, your decision outcomes will be better overall.

Four steps to tackle your decisions fearlessly:

1) Commit to a value-driven rational decision process. This does not guarantee good outcomes, but it does make them more likely.

2) Ask yourself: Which of my values matter for this decision? In other words, what are my personal criteria as to whether the outcome will be “good” or “bad”?

3) Think: What can I do that best fulfills all those values? (Think beyond your initial ideas. If necessary, use tools/visuals/charts etc to evaluate your options – I’m not getting started on all this here, but you know who to ask if you want to know more about creative thinking and evaluating options.)

4) Act. Knowing that you’ve made the best decision you possibly could have with your current knowledge – a decision that is based on your values, rather than on fear – will empower you to act with confidence.

by Ursina Teuscher at Teuscher Counseling, LLC


Selected References:
Anderson, B., Hahn, D., & Teuscher, U. (2013). Heart and Mind: Mastering the Art of Decision Making. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Aschenbrenner, K. M., Jaus, D., & Villani, C. (1980). Hierarchical goal structuring and pupils’ job choices: testing a decision aid in the field. Acta Psychologica, 45, 35–49.
Bruine de Bruin, W., Parker, A. M., & Fischhoff, B. (2007). Individual differences in adult decision-making competence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(5), 938–956.
Dean, J. W., & Sharfman, M. P. (1996). Does Decision Process Matter? A Study of Strategic Decision-Making Effectiveness. The Academy of Management Journal, 39(2), 368–396.
Herek, G. M., Janis, I. L., & Huth, P. (1989). Quality of U.S. Decision Making during the Cuban Missile Crisis: Major Errors in Welch’s Reassessment. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 33(3), 446–459.
Keeney, R. L. (1996). Value-Focused Thinking: A Path to Creative Decision Making. Harvard University Press.

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Posted in Decision-Making, Procrastination, Risk and Uncertainty Tagged with: , , ,

Binge Working and Procrastination – Revised

Thanks to all of you who shared your experiences and thoughts about binge working and procrastination! Your insights have given me food for thought and an opportunity to make an addition to my hamster-wheel image. It now includes an additional stage: what Danna Schaeffer called the “tidal wave of joy and relief when you finish the thing and it is a success!”

Binge Working and Procrastination Revised

It is clear though that there are many individual differences as to how people experience binge working. The figure only shows one type of a particularly stable loop of reinforcement.

For some people, for example, bouts of binge working are very positive and productive experiences, without any of the ill effects shown in the image. For them, intense phases of working around the clock are simply a temporary effort for special projects. Rather than leading to exhaustion and burnout, those phases are followed by perhaps a break and then a more normal schedule a again.

On the other end of the spectrum are those for whom the cycle has only negative effects: they don’t get the joy and relief at all, but sometimes finish their binge working with a mediocre result because of the earlier procrastination, or even end up with a failure or a missed deadline, despite intense last-minute efforts. Those kinds of crises sometimes have positive longterm effects though. They can get people to finally break out of an unhealthy cycle by making serious and lasting changes to their work habits.

What I often see in my own coaching clients is that they have established a binge working routine because it used to work well for them in an earlier stage of their careers or education. As they take on bigger projects though, binge working becomes unsustainable, or leads to failure. This often happens to students as they transition from high school to college, or later from college to grad school, or even later in an academic career, with the need to publish and create an independent research program. It happens similarly in non-academic careers, as people move from supervised to leadership positions, and it happens to people who transition from an employed position to running their own businesses.

The general rule seems to be: the more independent and self-motivated your work is; the bigger your projects are; and the less tied those projects are to strict and frequent deadlines, the less likely a binge working schedule will be an entirely happy and successful one.

by Ursina Teuscher at Teuscher Counseling, LLC

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Posted in Achieving Goals, Counseling/Coaching, Procrastination, Productivity

Binge Working and Procrastination

Last-minute stress and binge working will improve your future procrastination as much as a hangover will improve your drinking habits.

At least that’s my hypotheses.

Guilt, Binge Working and Procrastination

Or what do you think? I’d love to hear about your experience. Do you sometimes work in somewhat excessive “binges”, for example through the night or throughout a weekend? If so, is this productive for you in the long run, or does it lead to the vicious circle in the image?

by Ursina Teuscher (PhD), at Teuscher Decision Coaching, Portland OR

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Posted in Achieving Goals, Procrastination, Productivity

Am I a Procrastinator?

Am I a procrastinator?“I know that I am a procrastinator, but taking this survey made me realize just how bad it is!”
– One of my students.

Clarry Lay, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto created the “General Procrastination Scale” as a research tool. While it is not intended for diagnosis, you can still get a general sense of your tendency to procrastinate across a pretty wide a range of situations.

In the interactive form below, you can simply move the sliders around and see your total score at the bottom. The total will be updated as you go along. A lower total score mean less procrastination, from 1, which would mean you don’t procrastinate at all in any of those situations, to 10, which would mean you procrastinate at every opportunity. Only the overall score at the bottom matters, because half of the individual items score in reverse.

A note for those interested in creating interactive forms: I’ve used JotForm for this self-assessment, with an added widget called “Sliders with calculated results”. I’ve searched a long time for a form creator that would automatically calculate results in real-time. This is the best I’ve found so far. I would be even more excited about a form with a submission button that would show results only after you submit your responses. If anyones know something like that, I would appreciate any pointers. Overall, I find JotForm extremely user-friendly and versatile, even the basic free version.

by Ursina Teuscher at Teuscher Counseling, LLC

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Posted in Achieving Goals, Procrastination, Productivity, Self-Assessments

Decision Skills Matter

To what extent do decision skills matter in real live? Do these skills actually lead to better decision outcomes and fewer unpleasant life events?
Decision Skills Matter
Or, more specifically: do people who perform better on hypothetical decision tasks also make better real-world decisions, to the extent that they experience better outcomes over the course of their lives?

Let’s take a step back. Based on all the different theories of what counts as a “rational” choice, we know that some people perform better in the kinds of choices that are typically presented in research studies. There are people, for example, who are less affected than others by the way information is presented to them (in other words, they are better able to resist framing effects). Or, while most people are overconfident most of the time, some people actually have a pretty accurate level of confidence into their own judgments. There are also people who are better able to abandon a bad plan that involves sunk costs, while others are more prone to keep throwing good money after bad. We also know that these decision skills are related to other cognitive abilities, and that they can be taught and improved with explicit instructions and practice. (Check out the list of references below for just a sample from a large body of research.)

The question is though: do people who perform better on those sorts of tasks also make better real-world decisions? And most importantly, can those better decisions be measured by better outcomes? Are “skillful” decision-makers, as defined by those measures, perhaps better able to avoid bad life events?

Apparently, the answer is a robust YES, across different ways of measuring the quality of decisions and the quality of decision outcomes.

For example, in one study, the researchers gave people hypothetical tasks to measure their decision skills. The test they used is called A-DMC, for Adult Decision Making Competence, and it measures skills such as resistance to framing effects, ability to disregard sunk costs, over- and under-confidence, or the ability to process complex information in a decision.

The researchers then asked people about a variety of stressful life events that could result from poorly made decisions. The events ranged from serious (declaring bankruptcy, being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes) to minor (getting blisters from sunburn, throwing out groceries you bought because they went bad). Other examples of stressful life events included missing a flight, getting kicked out of a bar, having your driver’s license revoked, or having spent a night in a jail cell.

It turned out that people who performed better in hypothetical decision tasks (as seen in high A-DMC scores) were indeed less likely to have experienced such negative life events.

Other research has also linked performance on decision-making competence tasks to better real-life outcomes, such as fewer suspensions among students.

It is important to note that not everyone is dealt the same hand when it comes to avoiding stressful life events. For example, people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds are exposed to more negative life events. Also, poor decision outcomes are more common among younger people. However, the relationship between decision-making competence and better decision outcomes was still significant even after the researchers controlled their analysis for socio-economic status and age.

Granted, even the soundest decision-making processes cannot guarantee good outcomes. Given all the uncertainties in life, unpleasant surprises are often inevitable, even to skilled decision makers. However, what these studies confirm is that across time, people, and decisions, good decision processes predict good decision outcomes on average.

After knowing this, it bears repeating: decision-making competence can be taught and improved. Several independent research groups across different countries, using different types of interventions at schools, have shown clear improvements in decision skills as a result of targeted decision education.

by Ursina Teuscher at Teuscher Counseling, LLC

Selected References:
Blais, A.-R., Thompson, M. M., & Baranski, J. V. (2005). Individual differences in decision processing and confidence judgments in comparative judgment tasks: The role of cognitive styles. Personality and Individual Differences, 38(7), 1701–1713.
Brady, S. S., & Matthews, K. A. (2002). The influence of socioeconomic status and ethnicity on adolescents’ exposure to stressful life events. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 27(7), 575–583.
Bruine de Bruin, W., Parker, A. M., & Fischhoff, B. (2007). Individual differences in adult decision-making competence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(5), 938–956.
Del Missier, F., Mäntylä, T., Hansson, P., Bruine de Bruin, W., Parker, A. M., & Nilsson, L.-G. (2013). The multifold relationship between memory and decision making: An individual-differences study. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39(5), 1344–1364.
Jacobson, D., Parker, A., Spetzler, C., Bruine de Bruin, W., Hollenbeck, K., Heckerman, D., & Fischhoff, B. (2012). Improved learning in U.S. history and decision competence with decision-focused curriculum. PloS One, 7(9), e45775.
Levin, I. P., Gaeth, G. J., Schreiber, J., & Lauriola, M. (2002). A New Look at Framing Effects: Distribution of Effect Sizes, Individual Differences, and Independence of Types of Effects. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 88(1), 411–429.
Lui, V. W. C., Lam, L. C. W., Luk, D. N. Y., Chiu, H. F. K., & Appelbaum, P. S. (2010). Neuropsychological performance predicts decision-making abilities in Chinese older persons with mild or very mild dementia. East Asian Archives of Psychiatry, 20(3), 116–122.
Marin, L. M., & Halpern, D. F. (2011). Pedagogy for developing critical thinking in adolescents: Explicit instruction produces greatest gains. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 6(1), 1–13.
Parker, A. M., Bruine de Bruin, W., & Fischhoff, B. (2015). Negative decision outcomes are more common among people with lower decision-making competence: an item-level analysis of the Decision Outcome Inventory (DOI). Cognition, 6, 363.
Parker, A. M., de Bruin, W. B., & Fischhoff, B. (2007). Maximizers versus satisficers: Decision-making styles, competence, and outcomes. Judgment and Decision Making, 2(6), 342–350.
Reyna, V. F., & Farley, F. (2006). Risk and Rationality in Adolescent Decision Making Implications for Theory, Practice, and Public Policy. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 7(1), 1–44.
Stanovich, K. E. (1999). Who Is Rational?: Studies of Individual Differences in Reasoning. Psychology Press.
Stanovich, K. E., Grunewald, M., & West, R. F. (2003). Cost–benefit reasoning in students with multiple secondary school suspensions. Personality and Individual Differences, 35(5), 1061–1072.
Stanovich, K. E., & West, R. F. (2008). On the relative independence of thinking biases and cognitive ability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(4), 672–695.
Teuscher, U. (2003). Evaluation of a Decision Training Program for Vocational Guidance. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 3(3), 177–192.

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Posted in Decision-Making, Financial Decisions, Health Decisions, Intuition, Risk and Uncertainty Tagged with: , , ,

New Productivity Coaching Group

Productivity Coaching Group
Time is our most precious resource – are you getting the most out of yours? Or are you ready for a change? 

My next productivity coaching group will come in a new format, starting with one-on-one sessions and an in-depth assessment before the group meetings.

It is a 3-month package that includes:
  • Two individual coaching sessions of 50 min each and an initial in-depth assessment of your goals, your individual style, your situation, and your personality along the Five Factor Model (FFM). A part of the assessment will happen during our sessions together, and a part of it will be homework for you in between our meetings.
  • A copy of the workbook“Increasing Personal Productivity in Healthy and Sustainable Ways” by Ursina Teuscher. (Look inside and check out the reviews on Amazon.) Based on recent findings in neuroscience and psychology, you will learn how to improve cognitive functioning, make better decisions, and increase focus. The workbook will help you apply these insights to your own work style and needs.
  • Four small-group sessions of 90 min each. After our one-on-one work together, you will join a coaching group consisting of ~3-5 other participants. The group sessions will give you the positive support of others who may face similar or different challenges. Being held accountable to your goals and getting encouraged by others is a very powerful help in this process.
  • Individual phone and online support between sessions as needed. Throughout the three-month period, we will add regular phone check-ins or other personal online support. This may include working with shared online tools, documents or apps, depending on your goals and work style.

Cost: $650.

Location:
522 SW 5th Ave
Portland, OR 97204

See the full announcement of the Productivity Coaching Group here.

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Posted in Achieving Goals, Career Decisions, Counseling/Coaching, Decision-Making, Health Decisions, Procrastination, Productivity, Self-Assessments

Productivity Wallpaper

Organize Your Desktop Strategically with this Productivity Wallpaper

Productivity WallpaperLoosely inspired by Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle, I designed a Productivity Wallpaper that  you can download here as a template. It is a customized desktop background that helps you stay focused by organizing your tasks in a spatial layout.

The idea is that it gives you room to arrange your documents, folders or apps according to when you want to use them:

  1. In the upper left quadrant of the screen, you would place stuff you need for your most important tasks. By important, I mean tasks that you truly care about, that have long-term significance, and that make your life more meaningful. Typically, those are bigger projects, often without a deadline (because they matter to YOU, more than to other people). They are therefore most in danger of being infringed upon by other people’s more urgent demands. For the same reason, they are also the most likely to fall victim to procrastination. Those are the tasks you’ll want to tackle during your “prime work time”, that is, during the time of day when you’re at your best, most focused, most motivated. You’ll want to protect the very best hours of your day or week for the tasks in that quadrant.
  2. By contrast, the upper right quadrant of the screen has room for tasks that you also need to do, but that tend to take too much of your time. Those are typically tasks that other people give you in some form or other. For example, you may need to respond to emails, prepare for meetings, solve your coworkers’ problems, and so forth. If your personality is on the conscientious side, you already know you will get those tasks done anyway, because you don’t want to disappoint people or get into other kinds of trouble with colleagues, customers, bosses, etc. For that very reason, these tasks are often not the ones that deserve your very best “prime work time” – the challenge is rather to limit the time spent on those items.
  3. The bottom right quadrant hosts fun, distractions, and personal stuff – in other words, not really work at all, but stuff you might do during off-time, such as reading, browsing, chatting, social media, watching movies, and all the other guilty pleasures that shall remain unnamed.
  4. On the lower left side there is room for “Other” stuff – whatever items are left that need space on your desktop.

After using (and tweaking) this productivity wallpaper for a while myself, I can truly recommend it. What I like about this setup is that I can use my desktop as a space to arrange a sort of free-style To-Do List with my task items. Or I guess “To-Do Space” would be more accurate. I found this works best if I create alias icons that I place on the desktop, rather than dragging actual files around. The document or application itself can then remain wherever it belongs in my folder structure. The advantage of alias icons is that I can now give each icon a name that stands for my current task, and when I’m done with that task, I can simply delete the icon and get it out of my sight, while the document itself stays safe.

If you want to give it a try for yourself, you can download the empty template (background) for the productivity wallpaper here as a large image that you can set as your own desktop wallpaper. If you like the general idea but would prefer some things to look different, let me know your thoughts and wishes in the comment field below.

by Ursina Teuscher at Teuscher Counseling, LLC

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Posted in Achieving Goals, Procrastination, Productivity

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