How to Turbocharge Your Productivity: An Interview with Bestselling Author Charles Duhigg

Author Charles Duhigg, whose new book Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, talks with Get-It-Done Guy about how to zoom forward on your goals with mental models and a better way to innovate.

Stever Robbins
3-minute read
Episode #401

Cognitive tunneling

Labor saving devices save us labor, but they also lull us into a false sense of security. When we reach the limits of what we can do, we need to be able to switch into highly-functioning thinking that doesn’t depend on our devices.

  • Nowadays, people rely on cell phones for what their brains used to do for them.
  • In many ways, our cognitive ability to create mental models of what we’re about to do has been hurt by cell phones and other distractions.
  • Where you once stood in a line and thought about the day ahead of you, now you go to check Facebook or Twitter obsessively until you reach your coffee.
  • Now, we think less and react more. What we want to be doing is working less, and thinking more.
  • To beat this, take moments each day to run through a mind movie of how it’s all going to go. Instead of reaching for your cell phone, make a mind movie first so you know what you’re really going to get done.

Innovation doesn’t take tortured geniuses in a conference room, however.


Innovation is quite the buzz word, but it’s a very real thing. New problems may require new solutions. But is there a way to cheat, and be innovative on demand? It appears so…

  • Increasingly, jobs demand innovation on deadline.
  • Innovation doesn’t take tortured geniuses in a conference room, however.
  • The most successful innovators combine old ideas to create new ones.
  • To do this, find the ideas in the genre or format you’re trying to create that you like the most.
  • Then pick two or three that are your favorites and start trying to combine them into the mega-version of your favorite thing.
  • Now, you have a new idea that you love, and others may love too.

You can find Charles Duhigg on the web at charlesduhigg.com.

This is Stever Robbins. Follow GetItDoneGuy on Twitter and Facebook. I run webinars and other programs to help people be Extraordinarily Productive, and build extraordinary careers. If you want to know more, visit SteverRobbins.com

Work Less, Do More, and Have a Great Life!


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.