Maker Mind

Make the most of your mind

#057 | August 27th, 2020
Hi there! I'm Anne-Laure Le Cunff, the founder of Ness Labs. You are receiving this email because you signed up to Maker Mind, a weekly newsletter about mindful productivity. Thank you for being here. If this email was forwarded to you, get your own ✨
Current mood: projecting myself. Artist: Victor Mosquera.

Structured distraction.


Hi friends!

Something pretty awesome happened this week: yours truly was featured on the Calm podcast, where we talked about mindful productivity.

As someone who speaks English as a second language and cares a lot about mental health, it's doubly exciting to be able to talk to such a global audience of curious minds. If you're a Calm user, go give it a listen in the app!

This week, I want to discuss something which I hope will make you feel better next time you struggle to stay focused: did you know your brain is designed to be distracted?

Instead of fighting it (and lose), you can use structured distraction to make the most of your breaks. Scroll down to read more about how that works.

We'll also discuss how you can close the empathy gap to be kinder to other people and yourself, and how you can better evaluate your ideas.

Oh, and if you're looking for your next book to read and want to learn about how the human mind works, lots of great recommendations here.

Enjoy the read, and hit reply if you have any questions, feedback, or want to say hello!

Take the survey. I want to make this newsletter as valuable as possible for you. Please take a few minutes to let me know about your experience so far. Thank you! Feedback form »

Brain food

Structured distraction: how to make the most of your breaks at work (7 min)
If you went to a traditional school, chances are you were told to avoid distractions at all cost: keep your eyes on the teacher, don’t fidget on your chair, and don’t let your mind wander. But our brains were not designed to sustain attention for long periods of time.

The empathy gap: why we underestimate the influence of emotions (4 min)
“I would do much better!” you think, watching someone give a presentation. “I’ll definitely be able to quit tomorrow,” you say, right after smoking a cigarette. These are illustrations of the empathy gap: our tendency to underestimate the influence of visceral drives on our own behaviour.

Idea evaluation: the other side of the creativity coin (5 min)
Ideation is often thought to be mostly about idea generation. However, the process of developing ideas shouldn't stop there: it should be followed by an evaluation phase. What's the best way to go about it?

A virtual meetup about motivation. Where does our motivation come from? Can money alone be a source of motivation, or do we need something more? Why do we sometimes procrastinate, even when we care about a project? Register »

Brain candy

How to Change Your Mind (YouTube)
“In this talk, Michael Pollan shares insights and answer questions about psychedelics based on research done for his book.”

The Science of Well-Being: Guided Meditations (Soundcloud)
“The guided meditations available here are a part of a course taught by Yale Psychology Professor, Laurie Santos.”

The Perfect Note-Taking App (YouTube)
“There are three types of people, and three types of note-taking apps.”


Brain trust

A sneak peek into the members area. Becoming a member is a great way to expand your mind, and to support the newsletter!

  • Motivation. Our next meetup will be all about understanding how motivation works, and how we can better manage our motivation levels.
  • Member-led events. Achim and Christo just organised two amazing mental gym sessions. Rika manages an accountability group for writers. And Steven runs a weekly mastermind call for newsletter owners.
  • Writing Cycle. Are you trying to build a writing habit? Join this week's writing cycles led by Bhumi.
  • Work Cycle. Just need a productivity boost in general? Lukas is organising a co-working session this weekend.
  • Community. Currently discussing complexity, the best ways to give and receive feedback, building confidence, why we read, and debating Notion vs Roam vs Evernote. Join the conversation.
  • Mind Match. Fill this form to get matched with a fellow member for a virtual coffee chat.

Brain waves

Share with friends, get a reward!

Who do you know who should also be part of the Ness Labs community? Refer them using your unique link (below) and you'll get the Mindful Productivity Bundle (normally $7.99) when just 2 people sign up!

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In the spirit of structured distraction, the newsletter is taking a break next week. Which gives you more time to read it and fill the feedback form :)

Take care,
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