Hacker’s Digest #10: How Art Inspires Productivity


Welcome to this week’s edition of the Hackers Digest, a weekly feature that covers some of the most innovative 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 we found this week:

1. Want your staff to be more productive? Hang art in the office.

Are the walls of your offices blank? If so, you might want to consider hanging something on them. According to recent research out of the University of Exeter, hanging art on the walls of your office can work wonders for productivity. Data shows that workers who stare at art lessen their stress and increase their wellbeing. “If you enrich a space, people feel much happier and work better,” explains Dr. Craig Knight. An illustration: Deutsch Bank boasts an art collection that inches close toward 60,000 pieces spread across 900 offices in 40 countries. Company brass there says looking at art helps their employees tap into their intellectualism. Read the full story over at the Guardian.

2. Here’s why your super sweet new personal productivity systems aren’t working.

You’ve read a zillion books on productivity. You’ve heard countless TED talks. You actively spend time contemplating productivity in your own mind. Yet with all that, you’re still unable to increase your own output. Why is that? Recent research has revealed that even when we produce new productivity systems, it’s virtually impossible for us to take a break from our old ones. For some reason, we think the approach we’ve taken in the past has merit, and we cling to it. Additionally, it can be hard for us to implement new productivity tricks because we work in environments that simply aren’t conducive to them. Read about how your business can benefit from tools like Zemanta and BuzzSumo over at the Harvard Business Review.

3. Looking for new marketing tools?

When’s the last time you invested in your marketing department? If it’s been quite a while, now is probably as good a time as any to spend some time figuring out how you can improve operations. Luckily, there have been seemingly countless breakthroughs in the marketing space over the last five-odd years. Thanks to innovation, marketers now have access to cutting-edge tools that make their efforts considerably more effective, not to mention a heck of a lot easier. Head to Forbes for the story.

4. The different effects of different kinds of caffeine.

We all need a laugh from time to time. And this week, Chelsea Peng has delivered. Regardless of what your beverage of choice is—coffee, tea or soda—most of us drink a caffeinated liquid sometime in the morning. It gives us a boost and helps us get to work. But does it actually matter how you get your caffeine? Does coffee give us a different jolt than tea? Maybe so, maybe not—you’ll have to see what Peng says on the subject. The giggles, tee hee, can be found at Marie Claire.

5. Forget coffee. To boost productivity, drink water, and water only.

Chris Bailey was so committed to figuring out how to optimize his day and be most productive that he turned down a pretty sweet job offer. His findings? For starters, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for productivity. For example, Bailey forced himself to wake up at 5:30 every morning and go to sleep early to see if he’d be a better worker. It didn’t work out for the night owl. One of his findings you might not like? Bailey drank nothing but water for an entire month and saw that he was noticeably more productive.  Read Bailey’s whole story at the Times Colonist.

6. Theodore Roosevelt was a big fan of ‘deep work.’

In our last installment of the Hackers Digest, we talked about Georgetown Professor Cal Thomas’ latest book that explores “deep work,” i.e., the concept that we’re most productive when we focus deeply on one specific task at a time. This, Thomas argues, is the key to productivity. We’re revisiting Thomas’ book once more because Teddy Roosevelt, America’s 26th president, was a fan of deep work himself. It was how he was able to juggle so many hobbies. Turns out the guy was a big believer in scheduling his days, a habit he picked up while he was a student. Unlike many of his peers, Roosevelt was able to cram a lot of studying into a few hours. His trick? During the hours he allotted for studying, Roosevelt did nothing else. No chitchatting, no stopping for coffee, zero, zilch, nada. Get the full story at Business Insider.

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