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Harness Your Mind’s “Future Self” Bias to Make Better Decisions

Harness Your Mind's "Future Self" Bias to Make Better Decisions

We don't stick to our resolutions and future goals because our minds don't think of our future selves as "us." But instead of fighting this inherent bias, you can use it and tweak it to make better long-term decisions.

Science magazine Nautilus thoroughly explains this disconnect between our perception of our current and future selves. It's a fascinating read. Multiple tests and studies have shown that neural activity when we think of our future selves is more akin to thinking about a third person. Multiple selves is nothing new, but psychologists say that you can harness this trick your mind plays to improve yourself.

Anne Wilson, a psychologist at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, says you need see your future self as a separate being and turn it into an advantage by feeling connected to it. Hal Hershfield, an assistant professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University, recommends building a relationship with your future self just like you would with someone you cared about:

It's fine to think about that future self as another person—it just has to be another person you feel close to and have a lot of overlap with. The marriages that work best and the friendships that work best are the ones where people feel like the other person is almost part of them. So perhaps the key to being "future-conscious" is making sure that, insofar as our future self feels like someone else, it's someone we love and care about.

The psychologists point out that this isn't a universal rule. It depends on whether you are focused on the future or the present. The bottom line is to be nice to your future self, and to do things now.

Meet Future You. (Now be nice.) | Boston Globe

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Don’t Let Negative Feedback Accumulate, Dole It Out in Regular Doses

Don't Let Negative Feedback Accumulate, Dole It Out in Regular Doses

If someone is doing things wrong, don't hold on to them for one massive criticism dump. Regularly let them know about mistakes so feedback becomes part of routine, rather than making them feel like they're being hauled up.

In fact, people are more likely to want to hear negative feedback than feel like giving it. So schedule a weekly check-in with your colleagues or team where you appraise them of what's going wrong, says Ethan Rasiel, CEO of Lightspeed Public Relations:

Often managers save up criticism for weeks or months and then pour it out all at once. It's better to provide feedback—positive and negative—in real time," he says. By giving regular feedback, you'll become more comfortable giving it, and your team will be more prepared to receive it.

It's an uncomfortable situation, but knowing how to give criticism and when to do it can help make your life smoother. By making it a part of regular routine, you take the pain and negativity away from it.

How To Master The Art Of Giving Negative Feedback | Fast Company

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50 Ways to Liven Up Your Labor Day

50 Ways to Liven Up Your Labor Day

It's Labor Day in the United States and Canada, so we're kicking back and relaxing. Whether you want to use your time off to be productive, eat some great food, or just chill out and relax, we've got you covered so your holiday doesn't go to waste.

Have a Party in the Back Yard

50 Ways to Liven Up Your Labor Day

If you've got a backyard, you've got a party. Consider creating a projection screen for some outdoor screenings or a DIY slip 'n' slide for the kids. Alternatively, a giant bubble wand can make for a lot of fun and some awesome photos. If you need to liven things up, this outdoor music streamer made from a kitchen cart will help.If you don't have much in the way of outdoor furniture, just turn to wooden pallets. An attractive DIY mosquito torch will keep the bugs away while you're out there.

Make Some Great Food

50 Ways to Liven Up Your Labor Day

When you have a day off, you have time to make some great food. During the summer, you'll probably want to grill it. First, start with some great recipes and consider making your own charcoal for enhanced flavor. Different techniques help bring out the flavor in different meats, whether you want the perfect burger or steak. For hot dogs, a great spiral cut technique makes all the difference. For sausages, you ought to just poach them right on the grill. If you're grilling some veggies, you might want to invest in some grill clips. Regardless of the food, just make sure you know where to put it. For dessert, you can make some great stuff with just two ingredients, like ice cream and chocolate mousse. Both can cool you off on a hot day.

Get Organized

50 Ways to Liven Up Your Labor Day

While you ought to relax if you need it, if you don't you can use your free time to get stuff done. Besides, if you organize things now you'll have less work to do later. For those with tiny apartments, here are a few great suggestions. We're also big fans of the closet office. When it comes to the kitchen, consider organizing it like a programmer. If you've got a huge mess to tackle, start with a full reboot. If you're wrangling cables, you have plenty of options. Rain gutters can do the trick, but so can hiding them artfully in plain sight. Of course, versatile binder clips always help and you have tons of other options if you need them.

Your home isn't the only place that needs a little organization. You bag does, too. I like to have a modular go-bag system so I can switch items around to the most appropriate backpack or messenger with ease. Every bag ought to have a travel charger with a backpack battery, too. Those will save your butt regularly.

Build Some Technology

50 Ways to Liven Up Your Labor Day

Weather varies from place to place and you may not get a perfectly sunny day with a nice breeze. If you have to take the fun indoors, you still have plenty of available projects. Of all the projects we love, building a computer takes the top slot. For Apple lovers, make it a hackintosh. If you already have a trusty desktop, consider building a NAS. You can even turn it into an internet video downloader.

If you want to play some games, your desktop or smartphone makes for a great retro arcade. The same goes for the Raspberry Pi. You can also build it into an arcade table. If you'd rather go analog, check out the board game remix kit. It offers tons of ways to liven up boring old board games you have lying around the house. Just make sure you keep everything organized.

Try Some New Software

50 Ways to Liven Up Your Labor Day

If you want to give your computer a good upgrade, all you need is a great download or two. We have plenty of apps in our app directory and you can get some killer wallpapers in our Wallpaper Wednesday archive.

For those running Windows 8, you might have a few annoyances you'd like to fix. Out of all the complaints, getting that classic start menu back probably tops them all.

OS X users still have a bit of waiting for OS X Yosemite—the latest version of Apple's desktop operating system. If you can't wait, you can try the beta now. If you're more interested in iOS 8, you can get some of its best features now with a few downloads.

Linux users should check out our annual Lifehacker App Pack. In fact, we've got packs for all operating systems and popular web browsers.

Just Chill Out

50 Ways to Liven Up Your Labor Day

Stress hurts, so don't let it get to you on your day off. It helps to sleep, of course, so if you need to catch up a day off is a great time to reboot your sleep cycle. You can take measures to counteract stress now and in the future, like starting a meditation routine or yoga. Both will help you relax and a day off provides time to learn. If you need a few ways to relax when you get back into the rush of normal life, set yourself up with a personal thunderstorm or visit for a break.

Enjoy your day off!

Photos by Pushkin (Shutterstock), Renee Mcgurk, and Davidd.