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Both science and history tell us that getting your daily routine right is essential for success. No wonder the internet is full of admiring articles about the morning routines of famous people and lists of suggested habits to add to your daily schedule. Spend enough time with this kind of advice and it’s likely your day will end up crammed with worthy and beneficial activities, from gratitude practices to journaling exercises to nature walks.

Research shows all of these activities are good for you, but there is a catch to shoving ever more of them into your schedule — science…


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Thanks to science we now know that nature is basically a wonder drug. Spending time outside helps hospital patients recover faster, eases depression and anxiety, boosts the immune system, reduces blood pressure, and even increases happiness. The only trouble with trees is that it is impossible to prescribe in pill form.

But while you can’t shrink a tree to the size of a prescription bottle, you can miniaturize nature in the form of potted plants. And for certain patients, British doctors feel that’s a great place to start. …


Janne Wittoeck via Flickr.

It’s not just you — surveys show that even before the pandemic people across the world were reporting it’s getting harder and harder to find work-life balance. Thanks to the rising cost of living, longer work hours, abysmal childcare options, and always-on tech, professionals around the globe have been telling pollsters they feel more frantic and less happy for years.

So imagine how much stress power couples are under? Are these doubly ambitious pairs with two big jobs doomed to struggle with balancing the dueling demands of their two careers?

That’s what INSEAD professor Jennifer Petriglieri wanted to find out…


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Simon Sinek has spoken about how much value he’s gotten from studying the work of his longtime professional rival Adam Grant. Watching another person do very similar work but with his own unique strengths on display, Sinek claims, both frustrated him and helped him grow. For me, the person who very often makes me feel that way is Oliver Burkeman.

A former Guardian columnist and author of several books, Burkeman is not only obviously more accomplished than me, he also covers similar topics around psychology, success, and productivity. That means very often I read something he’s written and realize we’ve…


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The pandemic has changed how we work, where we live, and how we socialize. But not all the shifts wrought by the virus are external. It has also probably changed your personality, psychologists say.

These shifts are as unique as our individual pandemic experiences, so it’s not that everyone has suddenly become more or less social or conscientious thanks to a year in lockdown. Instead, experts suggest the pandemic has been an agent of something known as the Michelangelo effect.

The Michelangelo effect and the pandemic

The theory goes that, like the great Renaissance sculptor chipping away at a block of marble to reveal David underneath…


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Most people don’t need too much convincing that happy relationships are the key to a successful life. After all, when Harvard researchers followed 268 men for more than 70 years, the study’s founding director summed up its finding with a single sentence: “Happiness is love. Full stop.”

But if you feel the need for a hard-nosed business case for working on your relationships, it exists. Studies show that warm, loving relationships improve your physical health and positively influence job satisfaction and income. Good friends are the best stress buster available, according to science. …


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It doesn’t take a PhD to figure out that sleep is essential. Anyone who’s struggled to get through the next day after a late night out can tell you that.

But researchers are constantly adding interesting new additions to the long list of reasons we sleep, from cementing new learning, to scrubbing the emotional charge from painful memories, to preventing you from having crabby fights with your partner (yes, this has been scientifically proven).

And now a team out of Boston University has added yet another reason to the list, and it’s particularly bad news for those who don’t manage…


School smart and real-world smart are, as we all know, not the same thing. It’s perfectly possible to ace every test in college and struggle in life after you graduate. So if academic grades aren’t enough to prove a person is smart, how do the world’s most successful people spot the truly, practically intelligent?

Jeff Bezos looks for the ability to change your mind frequently. Elon Musk is all about examining skills over credentials. Steve Jobs, however, took another approach.

The legendary Apple co-founder laid out how he defines real intelligence in a talk to the Academy of Achievement way…


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As I write this, I am sitting next to my little shelter dog, Phoebe. Before I started typing, we had a chat about how she’s getting stinky and needs a bath. We decided, however, to wait for the weather to warm up a bit. Am I crazy to be having conversations about hygiene (or anything else, really) with my pet?

Happily for me and the many, many pet owners out there who regularly hold one-sided conversations with their furry family members, the answer according to science is no. …


World Economic Forum via Flickr

Are gut instincts the brilliant distillation of all our wisdom and experience, or just an expression of our brain’s laziness and biases? Do they lead us to oversimplify and stereotype or help us avoid danger before we can even fully process the threat?

These questions are the stuff of heated academic debate. Malcolm Gladwell famously laid out the pro-intuition case in his bestseller Blink, while Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman summed up the position of intuition skeptics in Thinking, Fast and Slow.

But while the experts argue, the rest of us have to go on and make real world decisions…

Jessica Stillman

Top Inc.com columnist/ Editor/ Ghostwriter. Book lover. Travel fiend. Nap enthusiast. https://jessicastillman.com/

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