This Week’s Top Posts in Productivity – 19 November 2016

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When we swallow our pride and pay attention to everyone around us, we can learn something new every day.

When we don’t look outward, it’s much harder for us to learn from the wisdom and experience of other people.

This week I read a number of productivity articles. Here are my favorites.

9 Ways I Use the Amazon Echo to Double My Productivity

I admit- I never really thought of using the Echo to increase productivity. I just saw it as an expensive toy.

But after reading Thanh Pham’s blog post on how he uses it, I think of it very differently now.

For example, I didn’t realize it can order things for you! That is awesome. Even though that may only save you a few minutes each time- those few minutes add up to hours and hours over time.

I also didn’t think of using it as a timer. If you’re cooking 2-3 things at once, it can be nice to have another timer to help track things. Or you can use it as a timer if you use the Pomodoro techique (which I highly recommend.)

These are just a few of the cool tips Thanh recommended. Check out the article for a few more.


These Common Afternoon Habits are Killing Your Productivity

Some of these I already knew, but (like anything) it’s always good to reinforce what we know by hearing it from others.

#1 has a special place in my heart, because it’s what this site is all about. We tend to take on more than we really should, whereas focusing on the select few, most important tasks is a much better way to live.

But I also liked #4. When you’re working on a project, do you take regular breaks or do you just keep cranking it out? Apparently a Harvard Business Review article shows why it’s so important for us all to take regular breaks. Otherwise we’ll be less productive overall. I think of it as similar to sleeping. Sure- you can pull an all-nighter. But will you get more done doing that, or getting 6-7 hours of sleep and then hitting it hard the next day?


Four Productivity Myths You Should Ignore

I found this article interesting because it basically says having a messy desk is fine! Both a German study and a study by the New York Times found that having messy spaces didn’t necessarily distract you from being creative. This is in line with a famous Albert Einstein quote:

do less to do more

Personally, I don’t keep my office as clean and organized as I’d like. But I don’t really find that it hurts my concentration or creativity, either.

Sure- it harms my productivity by making it more difficult to find things sometimes. So overall it’s probably more negative than positive. But I’m at least glad to hear that it likely isn’t harming my writing.

I also had to point out this article because #2 because it points to what we all know deep down- busyness is not productivity. Busyness is just doing a bunch of junk that may help us feel better at the time but isn’t necessarily getting us from A to B. Yet it’s a trap we all fall into because if you aren’t busy all the time, people think there’s something wrong with you.


Distracted Minds: 3 Tips to Disconnect from Tech and Improve Productivity

We all know that technology is harming our productivity. We check our phones constantly- many of us more out of habit instead of responding to a notification we saw or heard. This article breaks down the three main reasons why we’re so distracted by our phones, and what we can do about it.

I particularly liked it because it highlights the reasons why we’re distracted- rather than just a “smart phones are bad, mmmkay?” article.


Wrap Up

As you might imagine, not very much gets published on productivity every week. Some stuff that does get published isn’t all that great, so I’m always glad to find a few decent articles. I’m sure there is more good stuff out there, I just need to improve my blog post-finding skills a bit. But I hope this is a helpful post to give you a few ideas to chew on!