Hackers Digest #9: Productivity Advice You’re Not Taking


Welcome to this week’s edition of the Hackers Digest, a weekly feature that covers some of the most engaging ideas relating to productivity that were published 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. Learn productivity hacks from an MIT efficiency expert.

If you’re trying to become more productive, you might want to take advice from Bob Pozen, a senior lecturer at MIT who’s written books on productivity. Being productive, Pozen argues, requires two basic principles: getting way better at managing emails and only attending meetings when they’re absolutely necessary. An example: When it comes to your inbox, you need to learn how to “only handle it once.” When you get a new email, read it and decide your course of action right away. You should either reply immediately or set a calendar reminder to reply in a few days—don’t read it and circle back to it later. Learn more about mastering your email and how to have productive meetings over on Time.

2. To be productive, you need to learn how to do “deep work.”

With so many digital distractions vying for our attention from all different directions, how is it possible that some folks are able to be incredibly more productive than their peers? In other words, what’s their secret? For Cal Thomas, a professor at Georgetown, the secret is found in a phrase: “deep work.” Essentially, deep work requires deep focus on a single task for a prolonged duration. Thomas explores this concept in a new novel, the appropriately titled Deep Work. In it, Thomas examines the case of Adam Grant, a man who became the youngest tenured professor in Wharton’s history. Head over to Wharton’s website to read an interesting excerpt from the book.

3. Introducing Basket, an app that will make you more productive both online and off.

How often do you find interesting content on your mobile device only to admit to yourself you really don’t have the time to read it right away? Now, there’s a new app that aims to help you become more productive—whether you’re connected to the Internet or not. It’s called Basket, and it allows you to save all kinds of content from the web: videos, articles, blogs and more. You can then revisit said content at your earliest convenience. In addition to storing content, Basket also lets users organize it and boasts comprehensive search functionality—key differentiators company brass believe set it apart from Pocket, a similar app. Read more at YourStory.

4. Productivity advice you’re probably not taking.

It seems as though it’s impossible to spend time on the Internet and avoid stumbling across some productivity tips eventually. But of all that advice you’re reading every day—how much do you actually put into practice? Chances are you’ve heard pieces of advice that make sense but you’ve not yet made them part of your routine for whatever reason. To increase productivity, however, you’d be wise to give some of these common sense tips a shot. For example, you shouldn’t check your email more than three times over the course of the day. Anything more is overkill. Read more about that tip—and six others—over on PayScale.

5. Productivity mistakes you’re probably still making.

There’s no shortage of folks who love sharing their personal productivity tips. But in the process of trying to figure out how they can be more productive, these people have also discovered what they do that impedes their output. So, even if you’re trying to be the most productive version of yourself, you may be falling into some productivity traps. Maybe you’re making too many to-do lists. Maybe you’re not taking breaks or using your paid time off. Whatever the case may be, while you need to learn specific behaviors to be more productive, you also need to unlearn specific behaviors to increase your output. Read the full story on Yahoo Health.

6. Seven Chrome extensions that’ll take your productivity game to the next level.

Are you getting the most out of your Google Chrome experience? It can be difficult to be as productive as we’d like—particularly with the zillions of distractions that are built in to the internet. Luckily for easily distracted folk and procrastinators everywhere, there are a ton of Chrome extensions you can install to optimize and streamline your web experience. Good news for readers: Julia Carol Esguerra has compiled a list of seven Chrome extensions she says you can’t do without. Among them: StayFocusd, which limits the amount of time you can spend on distracting websites; AdBlock, which removes unwanted ads from websites; and OneTab, which converts all of your browser tabs into a list, freeing up memory. Read the full story on Tech in Asia.

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