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Want to be productive?

Stop holding back.

This article makes the case for how your willpower and cognitive resources are drawn from the same pool of resources. Whether you're trying to prevent yourself from doing something, or holding back from saying something, or whether you're fully engaged in your work making good progress, you're using up resources from the same limited pool. So, if you want to be productive at what you're doing, you ought to spend lesser time holding yourself back from doing or saying certain things. This might explain why most accomplished people are known for certain quirky behaviours.

When I looked at my routine with this lens, it made a lot of sense. The article talks about how we're being expected to make more and more choices and how this is taking a toll on our resources, the very same resources that contribute to willpower and cognitive abilities. I no longer make choices about what TV shows I watch when, or what I cook, or what clothes I wear, and so on. Most of these decisions are derived from an algorithm that I just had to decide once. I felt that the article made sense as this allows me to burn these resources on other things.

This kind of a research opens up marketing opportunities that lie in ethical grey areas. For example, showing a billboard inviting a person driving by for a dinner at your restaurant is a lot more likely to persuade her if she is on her way back after a long day at work, as compared to her driving back after watching her kids perform in a play at school. Or, you are more likely to have a user click on your ad if you show it to her after she has just completed a challenging game rather than after making the first move in a game like chess.

But the flipside is that when you pursue such techniques, you still ought to deliver on exceeding the expectations of the customer you have just acquired. If you don't, they end up regretting their moment of weakness in falling prey to the advertisement and you will have lost your credibility.

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