Monthly Archives: March 2014

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Man Decapitated While Crossing Highway

Man Decapitated While Crossing Highway

If you needed another reason why it’s not a good idea to walk right across a multi-lane highway, here you go.

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Outlook Web App for Android will help your smartphone fit in at work

It’s easy to find Android phones that can handle the Exchange-based email you often find in the workplace, but they don’t always support all the latest features. That won’t be a problem for much longer, though, as Microsoft has just revealed plans to…

The Front Of The New Chevy Cruze Will Be Engineered For Lots Of Badges

The Front Of The New Chevy Cruze Will Be Engineered For Lots Of Badges

Turns out, this thing we thought was the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze isn’t actually the Chevy Cruze that we’ll get here. There’s a chance it’ll be very different. But it probably won’t be.

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Rearview cameras will be required in vehicles in 2018

A camera that helps you park would be a perk, but for now, all they have to do is let you see out the back.

A final rule Monday by the US Department of Transportation will require all vehicles under 10,000 pounds to have rearview cameras by May 2018 in order to mitigate the damages caused by backup accidents. The mandate comes after years of delaying the regulatory review, which was supposed to be completed by 2011.

The standard was originally signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008 to go into effect by the end of 2011. The regulatory review was delayed in February 2012 until the end of 2012 and then delayed again indefinitely.

According to ABC News, 50 children were backed over by a vehicle every week around the time of reporting, and one or two of those were killed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 210 people die annually from getting backed over.

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The Myth of Creative Inspiration: Great Artists Don't Wait

The Myth of Creative Inspiration: Great Artists Don't Wait

Franz Kafka is considered one of the most creative and influential writers of the 20th century, but he actually spent most of his time working as a lawyer for the Workers Accident Insurance Institute. How did Kafka produce such fantastic creative works while holding down his day job? By sticking to a strict schedule.

This post originally appeared on James Clear’s blog.

He would go to his job from 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM, eat lunch and then take a long nap until 7:30 PM, exercise and eat dinner with his family in the evening, and then begin writing at 11 PM for a few hours each night before going to bed and doing it all over again.

Kafka is hardly unique in his commitment to a schedule. As Mason Currey notes in his popular book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, many of the world’s great artists follow a consistent schedule.

  • Maya Angelou rents a local hotel room and goes there to write. She arrives at 6:30 AM, writes until 2 PM, and then goes home to do some editing. She never sleeps at the hotel.
  • Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon writes five nights per week from 10 PM to 3 AM.
  • Haruki Murakami wakes up at 4 AM, writes for five hours, and then goes for a run.

The work of top creatives isn’t dependent upon motivation or inspiration, but rather it follows a consistent pattern and routine. It’s the mastering of daily habits that leads to creative success, not some mythical spark of genius.

Here’s why…

Daily Routines: The Power of the Schedule

The Myth of Creative Inspiration: Great Artists Don't Wait

William James, the famous psychologist, is noted for saying that habits and schedules are important because they "free our minds to advance to really interesting fields of action."

An article in The Guardian agreed by saying, "If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work." And there are plenty of research studies on willpower and motivation to back up that statement.

In other words, if you’re serious about creating something compelling, you need to stop waiting for motivation and inspiration to strike you and simply set a schedule for doing work on a consistent basis . Of course, that’s easy to say, but much harder to do in practice.

Here’s one way of thinking about schedules that may help.

Permission to Create Junk

The Myth of Creative Inspiration: Great Artists Don't Wait

Weightlifting offers a good metaphor for scheduling creative work.

I can’t predict whether or not I’ll set a personal record before I go to the gym. In fact, there will be many days when I’ll have a below average workout. Eventually, I figured out that those below average days were just part of the process. The only way to actually lift bigger weights was to continually show up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday—regardless of whether any individual workout was good or bad.

Creative work is no different than training in the gym. You can’t selectively choose your best moments and only work on the days when you have great ideas . The only way to unveil the great ideas inside of you is to go through a volume of work, put in your repetitions, and show up over and over again.

Obviously, doing something below average is never the goal. But you have to give yourself permission to grind through the occasional days of below average work because it’s the price you have to pay to get to excellent work.

If you’re anything like me, you hate creating something that isn’t excellent. It’s easy to start judging your work and convince yourself to not share something, not publish something, and not ship something because "this isn’t good enough yet."

But the alternative is even worse: if you don’t have a schedule forcing you to deliver, then it’s really easy to avoid doing the work at all. The only way to be consistent enough to make a masterpiece is to give yourself permission to create junk along the way.

The Schedule is the System

The Myth of Creative Inspiration: Great Artists Don't Wait

During a conversation about writing, my friend Sarah Peck looked at me and said, "A lot of people never get around to writing because they are always wondering when they are going to write next."

You could say the same thing about working out, starting a business, creating art, and building most habits. The schedule is the system that makes your goals a reality. If you don’t set a schedule for yourself, then your only option is to rely on motivation.

  • If your workout doesn’t have a time when it usually occurs, then each day you’ll wake up thinking, "I hope I feel motivated to exercise today."
  • If your business doesn’t have a system for marketing, then you’ll show up at work crossing your fingers that you’ll find a way to get the word out (in addition to everything else you have to do).
  • If you don’t have a time block to write every week, then you’ll find yourself saying things like, "I just need to find the willpower to do it."

Stop waiting for motivation or inspiration to strike you and set a schedule for your habits. This is the difference between professionals and amateurs. Professionals set a schedule and stick to it. Amateurs wait until they feel inspired or motivated.

Myth of Creative Inspiration: Great Artists Don’t Wait for Motivation | James Clear


James Clear writes at JamesClear.com, where he uses behavior science to help you master your habits and improve your health. For useful ideas on improving your mental and physical performance, join his free newsletter. Or, download his 38-page guide on Transforming Your Habits.

Photos by Yandle, Matt Biddulph, and Frank Kovalchek, and Pinkyone.

Want to see your work on Lifehacker? Email Andy.

The government is about to make outdoor WiFi faster

Just over a year ago, the FCC said it was working on a proposal to make outdoor and public WiFi faster, and, well, it’s finally come to pass. Today, the outfit announced that it has freed some 100 megahertz of spectrum in the 5 gigahertz band, which…

Inside Manhattan's Hiding-In-Plain Sight Abandoned Trolley Station

In Manhattan, even the abandoned historic underground trolley stations are getting gentrified.

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This is an F1-powered Alfa Romeo 164

This is an F1-powered Alfa Romeo 164

This is not the world’s nastiest mini truck. It’s something far, far more hilarious: a 1985 Alfa Romeo 164 powered by a bonkers 3.5-liter V10 F1 engine. Yep. That’s a thing. The best part? It can’t hold a candle to what Renault cooked up. Check out our favorite F1-powered road cars here.

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Google gets the jump on April Fools with new “Pokémon Master” job listing

The first step on my journey to becoming a real-life (but not really) Pokémon Master.
Andrew Cunningham

It is with great sadness that I announce that I’ll soon be leaving Ars Technica for greener pastures—specifically, the greener pastures of the Kanto region. Google has just posted a listing for its new “Pokémon Master” position via YouTube, and I’m obviously more than qualified to get the job.

Well, not really. The augmented reality component of this announcement appears to be Google’s April Fools Day stunt for this year, the latest in a list of elaborate pranks that includes a toilet-based ISP and a dating site. Unlike those pranks, though, this year’s April Fools gag does appear to be an actual game of sorts.

The video depicts a possibly-not-all-that-far-off augmented reality game in which players use their phones’ cameras to see Pokémon inserted into the world around them. The actual game is somewhat less involved. Open up Google Maps on an iOS or Android device, tap Search, and then tap Press Start. This will kick off a slightly less ambitious quest in which you scroll around Google Maps tapping Pokémon to “catch” and add to an in-app Pokédex.

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Samsung ATIV SE leak hints at April launch, warmed-over Galaxy S 4 specs

Samsung’s ATIV SE hasn’t been a terribly well-kept secret, but we’ve heard precious little about the Verizon-bound Windows Phone beyond its use of a 5-inch, 1080p display. However, tipsters have given The Verge hardware specs that will seem very…