7 Life Hacks from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a classic self-help book that many have used to improve themselves and their performance in professional and personal matters. Those in search of productivity tips could really take a few lessons from this book.

If you don’t have time to sit down and read the whole thing (which I highly recommend), here’s a quick summary on each habit and what it can do for your productivity.

1. Be proactive

Basically, this means that you shouldn’t spend your time reacting to what happens; rather, you should do whatever you can to address things before they become a problem. The former thought process is negative, whereas the latter is positive; that is to say, rather than putting your workload on fixing external matters, work to use yourself to make things better. Proactive = productive.

2. Begin with the end in mind

The idea here is that if you just go into a project blindly without any idea what you’re working towards, you’ll be working aimlessly and without direction.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a planner or a plunger – if you aren’t a devotee of organization, don’t feel the need to abandon the workstyle that works for you. But you need to have at least some idea of what you’re working towards, or else you’ll never be productive; you’ll be working hard, but not producing anything.

3. Put first things first

One of the hardest parts of buckling down and getting productive is figuring out where to start. Seven Habits suggests the obvious-but-not-so-obvious: Put first things first.

Prioritizing is key when trying to be productive. Got a daunting task on your to-do list? Don’t put it off till the end, especially if it has a significant effect on the rest of your to-do list. Get it out of the way – it’s far easier to do something if you’re not dreading what lies at the end of the tunnel.

4. Think win-win

Your success doesn’t need to come at the cost of someone else’s. Finding a way to balance everyone’s needs is crucial to productivity, especially if you’re working in a group rather than alone. Operating only in your own interest seems like a good idea right up until you actually try to do it and realize that it just doesn’t work.

5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood

Nothing gets in the way of productivity like conflict. Misunderstandings can bring things to a screeching halt, so when you find yourself in the wake of one, remember that your goal should be understanding where they’re coming from, not asserting your own point. You can do that after you’ve demonstrated that you’ve made the effort to understand their position – they can then respond in turn by understanding you. You just need to be the bigger person and take the first step.

6. Synergize

Synergy is one of the hottest buzzwords in business, and it’s not hard to see why. You can only do so much alone. The magic of synergy is that teaming up with someone does more than halve your workload – it allows you to become even more. For example, two plants growing in the same place will improve the quality of the soil, allowing them to grow better than either could individually. The same can happen for your productivity if you combine forces with someone else.

7. Sharpen the saw

This one’s huge. It comes from an old fable: A man comes across another man sawing down a tree. The first man notes that this seems to be a difficult task; the second man laments that it’s because the saw has become so dull. When the first man suggests that he take some time off to sharpen the saw, the second laughs and says “I don’t have time to sharpen this saw, I’m too busy using it to cut down this tree!”

The lesson here, of course, is that if he sharpened the saw it’d take far less time overall. The same lesson applies to all work; we often make the mistake of allowing ourselves no rest until a project is done, but studies show that taking the occasional break is hugely beneficial to productivity, especially when that break is used to recharge.

Don’t drown in your own work. If you want to be productive, always take the time time to sharpen the saw.

History behind Mobile Gaming

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It’s 1940, and people are crowding into New York City to see the World’s Fair. Among all the attractions is a new device created by Westinghouse, a rudimentary computer game called Nim. While at the time it was popular, Nim doesn’t hold up to a slight breeze today.

It’s a pretty basic game that doesn’t require a whole lot of strategy, but when people played it at the World’s Fair, the computer won nine times out of ten. It wasn’t so much that the computer was really smart as it was that adults simply weren’t good at playing Nim; it was a child’s game, after all.

That was the first computer game, and after 1940, programmers and bored people alike would continue to develop computers and games to play on them, some of which served to protect the world, and some just kept you entertained. This is a brief history of gaming, and while gaming is now a huge part of world culture, it wasn’t always the case; to see how we got to where gaming is today, let’s take a look back in the past.

After 1940, incredibly smart people started creating computers that could perform various tasks, most of which were part of government programs; these weren’t just some guys hanging out in a garage. Some programmers created games that their computers could play, but they weren’t as sophisticated as you’d imagine; these were games like tic-tac-toe and chess.

In 1952, A. S. Douglass created tic-tac-toe, although in Britain it is known as “noughts and crosses”, and two years later, blackjack was playable on an IBM-701, although neither of these games were playable by ordinary citizens; they were restricted to the people who created them. Gaming at this time wasn’t done for entertainment purposes, but rather it was for conducting research into artificial intelligence and the relationship between humans and computers.

Plus, it’s not like you’d be that entertained by watching an enormous computer that doesn’t even have a legitimate screen.

In 1955, computer programs got real. HUTSPIEL was a simulation game where two armies (representing NATO and the USSR) battle it out, and this was used in the most tense time in history: the Cold War. The US wanted to know what would happen if a nuclear war broke out on the banks of the Rhine River, which was very likely at the time, and to do so they needed to create a program to simulate the scenario.

Three years after that, the true ancestor to Pong was created, although it’s screen wasn’t really a screen. The “screen” was an oscilloscope (whatever the hell that is) and it basically looked like a little radar screen, and two players used controllers to play.

Without meaning to, Willy Higinbotham (yes, that was his real name) created the format for home video game systems – one screen and two controllers.

One of the first computer video games available to the public was Spacewar!, created in 1962, and it allowed two players to play as two starships that try to shoot each other as they fly near a star. Pretty simple game, but that’s why it was popular in the programming community before being a commercial success in the following decade.

Four years after Spacewar!, a guy by the name of Ralph Baer has an idea: games should be played on a television screen. Absolutely monumental thought by Ralph there; his idea would help games enter the public, available to play by anyone, not just some Harvard or MIT programmers and computer scientists.

A year after he has his eureka moment, Ralph finishes his first home gaming system, creatively deeming it the “Brown Box”, as it was in fact a box, and it was also brown. Ingenious.

It could play a few games, including one tennis game, but it wasn’t until four years after that that home gaming systems became available for purchase; the first game you could play on your TV was Odyssey, and it was based off of Ralph’s invention.

In about a quarter of a century, games went from being played on enormous and unbelievably heavy computers on prestigious college campuses and ominous government buildings to small, easily portable home system that young kids could play on their television sets in the comfort of their own home.

By 1972, arcade games were entering the fledgling gaming industry, and one of the first of which was Pong. Surprisingly enough, first-person shooter games got their start fairly early on, as Maze Wars a game that took you through a maze as you hunted down other players and shot at them.

It wasn’t super popular, but Maze Wars had some commercial success in the next decade, and if it wasn’t for that game, we might not have Call of Duty and other first-person shooter games. Back in the seventies, computer and home video
games were pretty basic and largely attracted a young male audience, but we had to start somewhere; we needed to figure out what kind of games were fun and what systems were best to play them.

At first, computer programmers worked together to create these games and programs, and it wasn’t seen as a competition to see who could make the best games; everyone was figuring it all out together. Once games were made available to the public, that’s when the gaming “industry” changed; games needed to be of high quality, systems needed to be functional and affordable, and now that anyone could play a game, programmers were set on creating programs that outlasted the competition and saw commercial success.

That’s when names like Atari, Mattel, and Nintendo come into play; while they weren’t the original players involved in computer program development, these companies made gaming accessible to everyone. Atari released a home version of Pong and the Atari 2600 home system, in which you could play a multitude of games in color.

Nearing the end of the ‘70s, home video games started to get pretty legit, but arcade games joined the forefront as well, and some of these are still around today, like Pac-Man.

The 80’s saw the advent of mobile gaming, as the Game Boy was released by Nintendo, and bundled with it was the puzzle game called Tetris, a title most gamers are very familiar with, even today.

Gaming has changed a lot since then, as graphics and processing powers have exploded beyond anything someone from the 1950’s ever could have imagined, but it was the first thirty years that had the most profound affect on gaming; originally, it was for programmers to learn more about computers or to help governments prepare for nuclear war, then it suddenly switched gears and became something that everyone wanted to try out, leading to computer games, which led to home gaming systems and arcades, which then led to an explosion in mobile gaming as well the creation of virtual reality online sex games, and the advanced consoles and smartphones we have today.

If it wasn’t for games like Nim or even HUTSPIEL, we might not have titles like NBA 2K16 or Angry Birds. Want to learn more?  Check out the video below