Hackers Digest #3: How ‘Productivity’ Works Against You


Welcome to this week’s edition of The Hackers Digest, a weekly feature that covers some of the most fascinating ideas relating to productivity that emerged over the past several days. We explore every nook and cranny of the Internet to find the six best hacks and productivity stories of the week so you don’t have to.

Here’s what’s on tap in this week’s installment:

1. Is the cult of productivity actually working against you?

These days, it seems as though you can find productivity tips, tricks and hacks everywhere you look. But as a matter of fact, we’re so wired to be productive—productivity is always top of mind—that we may actually begin producing less. In a recent article on Quartz, Jess Whittlestone explores the differences between “productivity” and “presence,” i.e., a mindset where you focus on maximizing the present moment instead of directing all your attention on what you can do to be productive. Whittlestone argues that in order to truly be more effective workers, we need to rethink productivity altogether. It appears she’s on to something.

2. Want to be more productive? Jam as many things into your schedule as you can.

Ever wonder how famous entertainers seem to be able to get so much done? Like the actor who appears in four films in a single year? Or the musician who tours with his band and separately with his solo act, all the while releasing two albums in a single year? According to Jensen Karp, an actor/producer/musician/writer, that output can be traced to one word: overbooking. Karp says the reason he’s so productive is quite simple: He packs his schedule with so many things, which more or less forces himself to produce. Read more on Co.Create.

3. Looking to save money? Don’t cut free snacks like Sprint did.

To help pad its bottom line, embattled communications provider Sprint recently announced it would try to cut $2.5 billion in operating expenses. That’s certainly not a number to scoff at. To hit their goal, cuts, apparently, needed to come from everywhere. For example, the company decided it would save $600,000 by removing free snacks from offices. But believe it or not, that reduction might have a measurably adverse effect on productivity. After all, there was a reason Sprint gave employees free snacks in the first place, right? Read the story on omaha.com.

4. Tech.co reviews the year’s five best time management apps.

There’s certainly no shortage of lists espousing the virtues of productivity apps. This week, Tech.co has a new one that’s a little more focused, dealing solely with time management apps. Read the story to see whether apps like In Time, Headspace, GPS for the Soul, Sunrise or Any.do could boost your own productivity.

5. Thanksgiving is later this week—here’s how you can hack your holiday.

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. The holiday means a lot of things. We give thanks for our blessings. We gorge on American-sized portions of food. We get drunk. And many of us have to entertain friends or relatives. Thankfully, to make that entertainment easier, the Crazy Russian Hacker is back with a short video that offers 10 Thanksgiving hacks. Watch it on YouTube and you’ll learn how to create amazing decorations and how to prepare meals more easily, among other things. If you’re heading to someone’s house for the holiday, you can also learn the easiest way to travel with cooked dishes.

6. Five life hacks for all budding entrepreneurs.

Most folks who start their own businesses don’t have a never-ending pile of cash to fall back on. Instead, they’re what you might call “poor.” All the money they get is invested right back into their operations. If you find yourself in such a situation—or imagine you might end up similarly stranded in years to come—take a gander this Neil Patel article on Forbes. The author offers five great tips on how budding entrepreneurs can cut costs when they’re starting up—all without compromising their projects.

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