Michael Mann’s Damaged Men
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Michael Mann’s Damaged Men

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In “Ferrari,” his first film since 2015 — and in “Heat 2,” his first ever novel — the director returns to his great theme: outsiders with a brutal determination to win.

Michael Mann stood at the center of a long, sunlit room, scrutinizing a model of the Ferrari factory as it looked in 1957, thinking about how to improve its appearance. “This should be a pattern,” he said, pointing at the windows, “so that you have almost a musical rhythm, like, two-two-two-two-two, then it breaks, to drive your attention to the entryway.” Around him, a half-dozen collaborators listened closely. After Mann’s decisions were finalized, a construction team would be dispatched to a nearby site to build a replica of the 1957 factory.

It was a May afternoon in Modena, Italy, a small city in the north of the country. Mann was at the production offices of his 14th feature film, “Ferrari,” which will trace three months in Enzo Ferrari’s life, culminating with the 1957 Mille Miglia — an infamous, and tragically fatal, road race. That morning, Mann took the train up from Rome, where he spent the previous day auditioning 26 actors opposite Adam Driver, who will star in the film. “I looked at it as extra rehearsals,” Mann said. “A chance for Adam to start locking in the character.” Dressed for the summertime, Mann wore a roomy ombré button-up that bled from green to black, with white jeans and white Ecco sneakers. He spoke with the thick Chicago accent, full of bent vowels, that he has never lost despite living in Los Angeles for decades. This accent suited him in his 20s, when he drove a taxicab and worked in construction, and it confers on his directorial pronouncements a street-hardened authority.

Mann’s specialty is the meticulous construction of major Hollywood entertainments: big-budget epics and thrillers rich with genre pleasures, rigged with dazzling set pieces and heavy on movie stars like Daniel Day-Lewis (“Last of the Mohicans”), Will Smith (“Ali”) and Tom Cruise (“Collateral”). As interested as he is in making movies for mass enjoyment, though, Mann is by his own description “not a journeyman director — these guys who go from gig to gig to gig. I need a real compelling reason to do something.” Years ago, he spoke of his ambition to move more rapidly between projects, but when I mentioned this to him in Modena, Mann laughed. “I failed utterly in that plan,” he said.

 

There was, for one thing, the coronavirus. Mann was working in Japan when the pandemic hit, directing the pilot for the HBO Max series “Tokyo Vice,” about a young American crime reporter investigating the Yakuza. Shooting was barely underway when the virus halted production. At that point, it had been five years since the release of Mann’s last film, the underrated cybercrime thriller “Blackhat.” During this gap — one that “Ferrari” will finally close — he tried to bring several ambitious projects to life without success, facing the kind of disappointment all directors grow accustomed to, but perhaps especially those who make films that cost what Michael Mann films cost, and who insist on the complete creative control he insists on.

Mann’s artistic signature is to establish a core of painstaking realism, then create around it a heightened visual and emotional atmosphere that can edge, at times, into a kind of hallucinatory, macho camp. It’s an aesthetic Mann began exploring when he oversaw the epochal 1980s cop show “Miami Vice.” Since then, he has set forlorn peals of electric guitar over a parade of steely faces. He has filmed handsome men walking in slow motion in bulletproof vests, or gazing contemplatively at vast bodies of water that swirl in hypnotic abstraction, or striding beside private jets with sunglasses on. He has rigorously avoided comic relief, while allowing for moments of oblique humor, as when a hardened undercover cop announces, “I’m a fiend for mojitos.” He has scored sex scenes with the anguished rock of Audioslave. Somehow, it works: Chasms of unanswered yearning and alienation seem to roil beneath Mann’s images, and his movies lodge in the brain like fever dreams.

Mann enjoys a cultlike adoration of the kind typically reserved for directors further out on the fringes. His blockbusters have their ferocious partisans, as do his lesser-known pictures and outright bombs, which reliably come up for — and tend to reward — reappraisal. In 2014, the Criterion Collection put out a beautiful edition of his 1981 theatrical debut, “Thief,” helping to spark a broader re-engagement with Mann’s work that included retrospectives at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2016 and at the Museum of the Moving Image this spring. Film scholars devote books and podcast series to him. Underground clothing lines make coveted bootleg tees and caps in homage to his films. Among fellow directors, Mann’s admirers and acolytes include Alfonso Cuarón, Ava DuVernay and Christopher Nolan.

ImageMann on the set of “Thief” (1981).
Credit…Photograph by Marv Newton
Mann on the set of “Thief” (1981).

This February, Mann turned 79 and ushered in an improbably busy year. In April, his “Tokyo Vice” pilot made its debut, setting the show’s fleet feel and stark tone. Not long afterward, it was announced that the financing had materialized for “Ferrari.” And next month, in a particularly unexpected curveball, Mann will release his first-ever sequel, in the form of his first-ever novel, “Heat 2.”

Of Mann’s many movies, none have inspired the sustained obsession — in audiences, and in him — as “Heat.” Al Pacino plays a brilliant police detective named Vincent Hanna, and Robert De Niro plays a brilliant thief named Neil McCauley. They are mirror-image foils engaged in an operatic cat-and-mouse game that unfolds across the criminal netherworlds of Los Angeles, “heading simultaneously for a collision in which both cannot survive,” as Mann put it.

“Heat 2” spans nearly 500 pages, two time frames — before and after the events of the movie — and multiple continents. Rather than representing some larkish detour from the body of Mann’s work, the book drills down into themes that run throughout his filmography.

Vincent and Neil are archetypal Mann protagonists: damaged men who dedicate themselves all-consumingly to their work, chasing an exalted state where extreme capability becomes its own goal. Or, as a member of Neil’s crew memorably puts it, where “the action is the juice.” They derive profound meaning, exhilaration and sense of selfhood from what they do — even at the cost of deep dysfunction and unhappiness in other parts of their lives. In this way, “Heat” crystallizes one of Mann’s career-long preoccupations, paying tribute with one hand to the great American myths of roguish individualism while undermining those same myths with the other.

Mann told me that “Heat 2” took the better part of two years to complete. “I have no idea how to write a novel, OK?” he said. “I do know how to make very, very large movies.” But, he added, “when things are a little bit difficult for me, I’m on the frontier. And I perform better, in my own estimation, on a frontier.”

When Mann describes the path he took to filmmaking, he often mentions formative screenings in college of “Dr. Strangelove” and G.W. Pabst’s Weimar-era landmark “Joyless Street.” But on a couple of occasions, he has recalled an earlier, inexplicable thrill he got “just driving under a steel bridge on a rainy night” and looking up at its gargantuan span, or moving along “those caged iron bridges” around Chicago, their latticeworks cutting up the landscape into a multitude of flickering frames. This excitement wasn’t something that Mann associated with filmmaking at first, but it lingered in his eventual understanding of himself as an artist. If you’re an admirer of Mann’s movies — which exude a hard-hammered visual poetry and tell stories of men traversing liminal realms, searching for things just beyond their grasp — this is as perfect an artistic origin story as you could hope for. “I have an attraction to these twilight zones,” he said.

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Time and again, Mann has set up camp on, and then blurred, the borders that separate documentary from fiction, genre from “prestige” drama, literalism from abstraction and the multiplex from the art house. This was true of “Thief,” a hard-nosed, Marx-inflected neo-noir about an expert Chicago burglar, played by James Caan. While shooting, Mann sprayed down the city’s nocturnal streets with tens of thousands of gallons of water, so that they took on an unreal, painterly glow — even as he enlisted a local thief named John Santucci to teach Caan how to breach real vaults onscreen using real techniques and real tools, in what feels like real time. And it was true of “Blackhat” (2015), a globe-trotting thriller that begins with a highly detailed and apparently highly accurate CGI visualization of the insides of microprocessors during a computer hack, captured at 12,000x magnification as they course with electrons — a sequence so extended it becomes trancelike.

“There is absolute beauty and visual joy, a dreamlike sensibility to his films,” Christopher Nolan told me, “but it’s all driven by the function of the storytelling, driven by the minutiae of his research and the extraordinary commitment to narrative detail. The aesthetics grow from that — I don’t know of any other filmmaker who does that.”

 

In Modena, I saw firsthand how Mann’s interest in creating uncanny dream worlds rests upon a foundation of extreme nuts-and-bolts authenticity. Discussing possible shooting locales for “Ferrari,” and how they would be decorated, Mann paid special attention to the wallpaper that would hang in the bedroom of Enzo’s wife, Laura. His production designer, Maria Djurkovic, had gathered some options. “This doesn’t do it,” Mann said, dismissing them all. He tapped a photo of the original pattern: “It’s the sparseness of the ribbons that really gets at a certain heaviness. And this green.” To Mann, famously demanding, it was crucial to get it right. “We think she died in this room,” he said.

Pinned to a wall behind him were several images of vintage Ferraris painted different screaming reds. He’d tasked his crew with making full-body 3-D scans of these vehicles, crafting perfect facsimile shells and fitting these with contemporary drivetrains capable of high-performance racing. Special recordings, Mann said, would capture the engine sound of period-accurate “small-displacement V12s running very high, this shriek, driving down narrow canyons through masonry, then suddenly they’re out in an open field.” He smiled. “It’ll feel like the air is being ripped apart.”

Mann is something of a Method director, building immersive worlds by first immersing himself in their grain. “I have all this data, real people, real language,” he told me. “It’s not stuff you make up sitting in a room in L.A.” During commentary recorded for “Thief,” Mann talks with Caan about how top-of-the-line vault doors are layered with both copper (“obviously a very soft metal”) and titanium (“very hard”), “so that, when you drill it, if you have a hard bit to cut through the titanium, it hits the copper, it’s going to bind up,” Mann says, extolling “the value of this kind of detail” in making a performance feel truly lived in.

Daniel Day-Lewis, who is one of Mann’s close friends, told me about spending several days with him in the Alabama wilderness before making “Mohicans,” living off the land together in a recreated “18th-century hunter-trapper course.” There, they learned tracking techniques and methods for laying trap lines. They also did “a huge amount of weapons training — black-powder weapons, principally,” Day-Lewis said, explaining that such firsthand experience “creates for each person involved, on both sides of the camera, a belief in the authenticity of what they’re reaching for.”

I’d heard a rumor that, for a short passage in “The Insider,” which dramatizes the true story of a tobacco-industry whistleblower and the “60 Minutes” producer he confides in, Mann sneaked into Baalbek, Lebanon, making financial arrangements with political leaders so he could shoot in the neighborhood where the events depicted actually happened — acting as a middleman, in effect, between Disney and Hezbollah. When I asked Mann about this, he laughed and shook his head. “What happened is, we were going to go to Israel to shoot it,” in the majority-Arab city Umm al Fahm, “and Disney told us, No, no, it’s too dangerous, you can’t go there.” Mann called the journalist Lowell Bergman, portrayed in the movie by Pacino. He asked him, “Can you get us into Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley?” And then he notified the studio of this new plan. He received a frantic response. “They said: ‘Are you out of your [expletive] mind? Go to Israel!’”

No sequence in Mann’s filmography makes the case for the virtues of authenticity as explosively as the showstopping bank robbery in “Heat,” which spills into a broad-daylight melee in Downtown Los Angeles. De Niro and Val Kilmer, who plays his protégé, underwent urban-combat training beforehand, proving such capable students that, according to Mann, Fort Bragg instructors later screened footage of Kilmer reloading his rifle to show cadets how it was done. Before filming, dozens of cars were pummeled at a shooting range with high-caliber rounds, and the crew fitted the holes with detonatable squibs, painted over with Bondo putty. During filming, they triggered the squibs in time with the actors’ guns, ripping open the munitions-accurate damage. Nolan calls “Heat” Mann’s masterpiece, and when we spoke, he singled out a “tiny detail during the bank robbery, where the money is stacked and wrapped in plastic, and they put it into the duffel bags, then use a razor to slash the plastic and bang it, so that it comes loose and takes the shape of the bag.” This moment flies by, but it “grounds the entire robbery in a technical reality that you respect and enjoy,” Nolan said. “You feel you’re watching a film about experts made by experts.” The sequence’s most indelible aspect is its terrifying sound. Mann recorded the gunfire — “full-load” blanks, containing the same powder charge as live ammo — not on a soundstage, as is common practice, but out on the streets, as it reverberated off the sunny steel-and-glass canyons onscreen.

Mann running beside Al Pacino during the filming of “Heat” (1995).
Credit…Photograph by Frank Connor
Mann running beside Al Pacino during the filming of “Heat” (1995).

Mann is committed to total veracity, it seems, except when the prerogatives of compelling image-making win out. While plotting the restoration of Enzo’s neighborhood barbershop in Modena, still open, to its 1957 appearance, he indicated an archival image and said, “Even if the real chairs were darker, I want them to look the way they look in this light.” Later that day, he told me, “all these decisions — every one means something, particularly when you’re dealing with interiors, because that character picked that lamp, picked that fabric, picked that curtain, picked that cheap radio.” He recalled the home décor of the serial killer Francis Dolarhyde, in Mann’s 1986 Hannibal Lecter movie, “Manhunter.” “He’s got the vertical control on his television so he can see the subcarrier frequency, because he thinks there’s a message in there. There are so many pieces of psychopathy that are manifested in the shape of a toaster. Really! It was, ‘Find me a psychotic kitchen chair.’”

 

He added, “You don’t dwell on these things when you’re shooting, but the audience sees it all.”

One pitch-black night when Mann was in his teens, he drove south from Chicago to a rural Illinois back road, turned off his headlights and floored the gas pedal — hurtling, for a few crazed seconds, into total darkness. He was full of a restless ambition that had yet to find its object, he said, and in “Heat 2,” he lends this quasi-existential stunt to the young Vincent Hanna. “He’s searching, he has that crazy vibration in the nerves running through his arm when he’s 18, saying, I’ve got to get the [expletive] out of here, wanting to move and go places and do things,” Mann told me. “I’m talking about myself, too, when I say that.”

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Mann was born in 1943 into a secular Jewish family — “in the city,” he emphasized, noting wryly that “directors from the Chicago suburbs make comedies.” His father, Jack, was a Russian immigrant from Ovruch and a combat veteran of World War II. “He didn’t talk about it much, but it affected everything,” Mann recalled, describing “an absolutely loving man” who suffered from symptoms of PTSD long before it had a name. Jack ran a small supermarket for several years, before he was driven “out of business by a big chain that opened up a block and a half away. My younger brother and I, as amateur arsonists, one night tried to burn it down. We were angry. I think we succeeded in blackening the back door.”

 

Jack’s wartime experience left him with “a very dark view,” Mann said. Fighting in Germany, “he’d read in Stars & Stripes how American planes had bombed such-and-such a refinery, interrupting the supply of the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. Then four, five weeks later they’d pass the refinery, and everything around it was bombed, but the refinery itself was untouched, because Shell wants to take control of it.” Jack returned to America with “a cynicism about systems,” Mann said, adding, “I totally inherited that cynicism.”

In 1969, Jack died from a pulmonary embolism, just 56. “It shattered my family,” Mann recalled, explaining that his mother, Esther, “made a different life for herself” — starting her own business and entering into new relationships — but “operating from the thesis that ‘the meaningful life I’ve lived is over. I’m not going to just drift into widowhood; I’m going to make a life for myself, but it’s all superficial.’”

No facile interpretive pipeline neatly connects Mann’s biography and the movies he makes. Whereas his filmography is littered with broken, solitary, state-raised men, he says his parents loved each other deeply, and Mann and his own wife, an artist named Summer, have been married since 1974, raising four daughters. “In a city that’s not renowned for child-rearing, he’s managed to raise this wonderful, solid family that’s so close,” Day-Lewis said of Mann, adding, “You go to their house, and it’s an oasis.” But the cynicism Mann inherited from his father can be felt everywhere in his films, and his interest in upstart heroes who assert themselves against powerful forces — mob bosses in “Thief”; predatory tobacco companies and cowardly media conglomerates in “The Insider”; and the U.S. government in “Ali,” his Muhammad Ali biopic — certainly doesn’t contradict the picture of the angry young kid seeking vengeance against the chain grocery that crushed his father’s market.

In the late 1960s, Mann enrolled in film school in England. “I was not going to Vietnam,” he said. He made short documentaries about the ’68 student protests and other social upheavals of the era. In 1979, he shot his first feature, the TV movie “The Jericho Mile,” on location at Folsom prison, where he cast inmates opposite trained actors and incorporated the prison’s distinct hierarchies and customs into the script, about a convict who becomes an Olympic-class runner on the yard. By this point, Mann’s focus had shifted to stories of determined individuals who perceive the workings of oppressive systems and — even if it comes at a ruinous price — insist on charting their own paths through them.

Michael Mann at the London Film School in 1967.
Credit…Courtesy of Michael Mann.
Michael Mann at the London Film School in 1967.

Mann has constantly evolved the look of his movies. His images have become less straightforwardly beautiful, his palettes increasingly leached of color, his framing less formal. Hand-held cameras drift, faces appear unfocused in extreme close-up and the digitally captured dark of nighttime degrades into extravagantly pixelated noise. But thematically he has remained consistent, returning continually to heroes who are peeled away from the dominant ideologies of what Mann has called “the normal range of human experience,” and, from this remove, come to see questions of selfhood, coercion and power more clearly than most of us.

‘Michael’s an unusual blend of things,’ Day-Lewis said. ‘He’s an intellectual, but he thinks like an engineer, and he has the spirit of an artist.’

Often, these characters’ worldviews are forged in prison. In a 2017 interview, Mann recalled the lasting impression of meeting convicts decades earlier who devoured philosophical texts, not with the abstract curiosity of “undergraduates,” but because they had “fundamental questions that they wanted answered, like: ‘How should I view my life in time? What’s property?’ They’ll read Kierkegaard, and Sartre and Marx and Engels. You encounter it with people that have sixth-grade educations, who become quite astute in this raw kind of way.” Frank in “Thief,” Neil in “Heat” and the hacker Nick Hathaway in “Blackhat” all share versions of this pedigree.

Mann told me about a particularly memorable encounter he had inside Folsom, making “Jericho Mile”: “I had one guy in Black Guerrilla Family, weight lifter, 6-foot-2, dangerous guy doing a life sentence. I said, ‘Hey, I’d like you to play such-and-such a role.’” The inmate rebuffed him, explaining, “ ‘I’d be allowing you to appropriate the surplus value of my bad karma,’” Mann said. “He wasn’t trying to impress me with big words. He was serious. He’d read Marx and Engels and knew about surplus value, and he was here because karma put him here.”

Like many of Mann’s protagonists, I remarked, this man seemed to have a bird’s-eye view of his position amid various superstructures. Mann nodded. “If you’re an experienced convict,” he said, “you have a systems analysis.”

The day after I visited the “Ferrari” production offices, Mann picked me up in the lobby of my hotel, and we walked down Modena’s cobblestone streets to get some lunch. He moved spryly, dodging the delivery trucks, mopeds and bicycles that whizzed around us. I’d heard that Mann keeps detailed daily journals going back decades, and at our table he set down his own voice recorder next to mine, along with a thick Mnemosyne notebook bulging with color-coded Post-it notes. “Glass of wine?” he asked.

Neil McCauley, like so much in Mann’s movies, is rooted in real life. In the 1970s, Mann befriended a Chicago detective, Chuck Adamson, who told him a story about getting coffee years earlier with a notorious local robber — the real McCauley. During this encounter, the two adversaries acknowledged a wary but genuine mutual respect, and made it known that, in any future confrontation, each was ready to shoot the other dead. In 1964, Adamson was part of a detail that gunned down McCauley in the street.

With Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx during the filming of “Collateral” (2004).
Credit…Photograph by Frank Connor
With Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx during the filming of “Collateral” (2004).

Inspired by that story’s tense, fateful symmetry, Mann began writing “Heat” in the late 1970s. In 1987, he turned a truncated version of his script into the pilot for an unproduced NBC series, which eventually aired as a TV movie under the name “L.A. Takedown.” This is mostly worth watching today in order to appreciate the vastly superior achievement of “Heat,” which Mann was finally able to make at the proper scale in 1995 — six months of preproduction, 107 days of shooting, 95 locations, $60 million budget — after the success of “Mohicans.” It was De Niro and Pacino’s first time sharing a movie screen.

So, as unexpected as it was to learn that Mann was publishing a novel, it wasn’t shocking that he was returning to the world of “Heat.” Its characters had been with him some 15 years before he made the movie, and they still captured his imagination some 30 years later. “I always wanted to do more with these people’s lives,” he said.

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Air raid sirens blare in Ukraine as NATO meets to promise aid

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Air raid sirens blare in Ukraine as NATO meets to promise aid
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KYIV, Nov 29 (Reuters) – The United States and NATO allies on Tuesday promised more arms for Kyiv and equipment to help restore Ukrainian power and heat knocked out by Russian missile and drone strikes, as air raid sirens blared across Ukraine for the first time this week.

Ukrainians fled the streets for bomb shelters, although the all-clear later sounded across the country apart from the front-line eastern province of Luhansk.

Officials remained vigilant: “Last time, the Russians also disguised the strike as a training flight…Let’s see,” said Vitaliy Kim, governor of southern Ukraine’s Mykolaiv region.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other foreign ministers from the NATO alliance began a two-day meeting in Bucharest, seeking ways both to keep Ukrainians safe and warm and to sustain Kyiv’s military through a coming winter campaign.

“NATO will continue to stand for Ukraine as long as it takes. We will not back down,” alliance General-Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said in a speech in Bucharest.

He told reporters Russian President Vladimir Putin was “trying to use winter as a weapon of war” as Moscow’s forces lose on the battlefield, and that Western allies would step in to help. British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly accused Putin of trying to “freeze the Ukrainians into submission”.

U.S. and European officials said the ministers would focus on military aid such as air defence systems and ammunition, as well as non-lethal aid including fuel, medical supplies, winter equipment and drone jammers, delivered through NATO.

“I hope we will agree on a quite significant package of non-lethal help,” Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said.

ACCUMULATING DAMAGE

Russia has been carrying out huge attacks on Ukraine’s electricity transmission and heating infrastructure roughly weekly since October, in what Kyiv and its allies say is a deliberate campaign to harm civilians, a war crime.

Moscow says hurting civilians is not its aim but that their suffering will end only if Kyiv accepts its demands, which it did not spell out. Although Kyiv says it shoots down most of the incoming missiles, the damage has been accumulating and the impact growing more severe with each strike.

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The worst attack so far was on Nov. 23, leaving millions of Ukrainians in cold and darkness. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told Ukrainians at the start of this week to expect another soon that would be at least as damaging.

There are no political talks to end the war. Moscow has annexed Ukrainian territory which it says it will never relinquish; Ukraine says it will fight until it recovers all occupied land.

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The silhouette of SM Entertainment’s girl group trainees revealed

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The silhouette of SM Entertainment's girl group trainees revealed
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Trainees of one of the biggest idol group powerhouses, SM Entertainment, are always at the center of attention as they will be the next idols who will lead the K-pop industry in the new generation.

Recently, a photo garnered much attention after it was revealed it is the silhouette of the female trainees who are preparing to debut as the next SM Entertainment girl group.

K-netizens have gathered their attention on the new potential idols who will be leading the next generation of K-pop.

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Netizens commented, “Wow, how old would they be,” “I think they are young, they probably debut at least two years later,” “Is the 4th one Haeun?” “I hope all of them who were revealed get to debut,” “I think Haeun will be part of the future idol girl group,” “How old is Haeun?? She’s perfect for the new group for next year or the year after,” “If she’s debuting the year after, she’ll be 16, perfect as the maknae member,” “Heol, where was this photo posted?” “I think they’ll debut in 2025,” “I really hope that the next girl group has a lot of members,” “Haeun is the YouTuber Haeun right?” and “I think they’re going to debut way later and there’s going to be a lot of changes in the member here too.”

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7 Things You Should Know About Getting More Work Done In Less Time: A blog about busywork, how to overcome procrastination and more.

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7 Things You Should Know About Getting More Work Done In Less Time: A blog about busywork, how to overcome procrastination and more
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Introduction

Whether you’re at home or in the office, there are always things to do and not enough time to do them. It’s easy to fall victim to busywork, procrastination and other time-wasters—but here are some tips that can help you get more done in less time:

You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to get started.

One of the best ways to get started is to make a list of all the things you want to do, and then prioritize it by importance. If you have something else on your mind that’s not on the list, try adding it.

Next, take each item and make a plan for how you’d like to accomplish it. For example, if you’ve decided that one of your tasks is going through your email inbox (which was probably my most stressful task), here are some things I would recommend:

  • Make sure you have an unread count enabled in Gmail or Outlook
  • Set aside time for yourself every day instead of trying to tackle everything in one sitting at once
  • Try setting up filters so that emails from certain people don’t show up in your inbox anymore (I have a filter set up so that emails from my boss don’t show up). That way when I come back tomorrow I won’t feel as overwhelmed by seeing all these new messages waiting for me!

Busywork is the enemy of productivity.

The first step toward avoiding busywork is understanding what it is. Busywork is the stuff we do when we don’t know what else to do, or when we’re trying to distract ourselves from something that’s uncomfortable or difficult. It’s usually unproductive, and often redundant in nature—if you keep doing something over and over again because you think you have to, chances are good that there’s a more efficient way of doing it.

Busywork can take many forms: unnecessary meetings; repetitive tasks like updating spreadsheets; excessive email checking; worrying about things that haven’t happened yet instead of focusing on the steps required for getting them done (a problem known as “analysis paralysis”). Even if these activities sound productive at first glance, take time out of your day to consider whether they’re actually contributing anything meaningful toward your goals—and if not, cut them out!

 

The best way to avoid busywork is to plan ahead so there’s no need for it in the first place. When faced with an unavoidable situation where no amount of planning could help (such as attending a meeting), decide beforehand how much time or energy should be dedicated toward actually participating in said meeting versus simply being present as an observer (or even better: leave early).

Keeping your space clean and organized can help you work better.

While it may seem like a good idea to keep your work space as messy and cluttered as possible, this is actually not the case. A clean workspace can help you focus on your work because it allows you to see everything at once. It also leaves room for creativity, which is something that many people forget about when they’re stressed out and feeling overwhelmed by their workload.

 

Keeping things organized will give you more time in the day to do what matters most: working! And when you do have any free time left over from doing actual work, why not put it towards cleaning up? Organizing your closet will save you lots of time later, and if you ever want to make some extra cash on the side then there are plenty of sites like Fiverr that let people sell tasks like these for as low as $5!

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Some foods make you more alert, while others make you tired or unfocused.

Some foods make you more alert, while others make you tired or unfocused.

  • Sugar and caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant that can give you an energy boost. It can also lead to short-term increases in blood pressure and heart rate, so be careful if you’re sensitive to these effects. Sugar is another stimulant that gives a temporary increase in energy levels but eventually causes fatigue when it wears off (thus the “sugar crash”).
  • Protein: Protein helps build muscle mass, which burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates (sugar). It also helps regulate blood sugar levels and keeps your brain focused on tasks at hand instead of dreaming up errands to run.
  • Fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are great for mental health as they play an important role in cell development and regeneration in the brain—particularly during childhood years when neural pathways are being established! They reduce inflammation throughout your body by blocking pro-inflammatory cytokines at inflammatory sites such as swollen joints or inflamed arteries brought on by high cholesterol levels due to unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking cigarettes or drinking beer every day after work before dinner time arrives—which usually happens sometime between 9pm – 10pm depending on how much milk has been drunk earlier during the day during lunchtime hours.

Use your calendar wisely to organize your time most effectively.

The most important thing to do is to use your calendar wisely. You need to schedule time for meetings, appointments and other important events. You also need to schedule time for yourself and your family, as well as relaxation and exercise.

 

A good way of doing this is by setting aside specific times in your day when you can work on each project or task. You should also set aside some time at the end of the day when you relax and unwind from all the hard work you did throughout the day.

Become an expert at what you do so that it doesn’t take as much time.

If you want to become an expert at something, there are three different ways to go about it:

  • Learn the basics and then practice. This is a good way to become an expert if you’re not already well-versed in what you want to learn. By learning all of the basics first, you’ll be able to understand how everything works and then get started on your project with confidence.
  • Learn from other people’s mistakes and successes. If there are any other people who have already done whatever it is that you’re trying to do and they’ve made mistakes while doing so or had success at times along the way, ask them for advice! They may not always have time or patience for this kind of thing but hopefully they’ll be willing enough at least once or twice so that they can help get some advice out there for others like yourself who might need it someday too someday soon down south somewhere near where my feet rest when I’m sleeping next door neighbors live close together but not quite close enough…?
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Don’t forget to schedule down time for yourself!

Taking a break is an important part of keeping your mind focused and productive. However, it can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling guilty about taking time off from work. When you’re not working, it’s easy to feel like you should be doing something productive instead.

That’s why it’s important to schedule down time. You need to make sure that you have some sort of non-work related activity scheduled for every single day so that your mind has time to rest and recharge itself before jumping back into another project or task list item on the next day. This will allow you not only avoid burnout but also give yourself a chance at getting more done by making sure that no matter what happens in your career journey (and there will always be something), whether it be good news or bad news, stressful deadlines or relaxed ones—you always have something planned where all of this can happen without having any negative impact on how effective our minds are when we get back home after being away from home all day long!

There are a number of ways to maximize your effectiveness and efficiency at work or school

  • Plan
  • Calendar
  • To-Do List
  • Checklist
  • To-Don’t List (if you’re a person who gets distracted easily)

You can also use an alarm clock to remind yourself of important tasks. For example, if your boss asked you to submit the report by 5pm, set the alarm for 4:55pm and then get started on the task at hand. Don’t waste time playing around with your phone or checking Facebook just before the deadline. If a task needs more than one hour to complete, break it down into smaller chunks so that it is easier to manage. And always avoid multitasking – it makes no sense whatsoever!

Conclusion

We hope these tips have helped you get more done in less time. If there’s one thing we know it’s that everyone is busy, but the key to staying productive and avoiding burnout is simple: keep your space organized, use your calendar wisely, be an expert at what you do so it doesn’t take as much time and don’t forget to schedule down time for yourself!

 

 

RUCHI RATHOR Founder & CEO Payomatix Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

FOUNDER AND INVESTOR | PAYMENTS PROCESSING EXPERT | MERCHANT ACCOUNT SOLUTIONS | WHITE LABELLED PAYMENT GATEWAY | Dreamer, Creator, Achiever, Constantly Evolving

 

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