Hackers Digest #14: Pens, Paper & Productivity


Welcome to this week’s edition of the Hackers Digest, a weekly feature that shines a light on 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’s on tap this week:

1. Striving to be perfect is killing your productivity.

Perfection definitely has its place in the business world. You can’t expect to submit shoddy work to a client; the assignments you turn over have to be up to snuff, to say the least. In that light, it’s not uncommon for us to burn the midnight oil as we try to polish our work and bring it to the next level. While striving for perfection a bit of the time might be unavoidable, doing it too often can really destroy your productivity. You don’t need to spend seven hours reading and rereading that email draft, for example. There’s a pretty convincing argument that perfection has no place whatsoever in the world of entrepreneurship. The story is over at Entrepreneur.

2. Are those apps really making you more efficient? It might be time to go back to pen and paper.

It’s true that there’s no shortage of apps, platforms and technologies that are made specifically to help you become more productive. But are all your high-tech gadgets and tools really helping you become a more effective worker? Or are they holding you back? Years ago, the average professional worker lived and died by paper and pen. Instead of keeping their appointments and to-do lists in digital form, they scribbled the things they needed to remember down on a pad. Is it time for you to put your technology down and get back to the basics? Doing so could make you more productive. Get the scoop at PayScale.

3. Want to be more productive? Surround yourself with people.

Writer Chris Bailey is keenly interested in what makes us most productive. To this end, he spent a lot of time researching what we can do to increase our work output. He logged 90 hours one week. He meditated 35 hours another week. He also forced himself to work in complete isolation for 10 days. (All of this is documented in his book The Productivity Project.) While working in isolation, Bailey found himself really struggling to find motivation to get his work done. Turns out if you want to be productive professionally, you need to surround yourself with people. Read more at Business Insider.

4. Struggling to be a productive remote worker? Consider these tips.

Research suggests the number of freelancers increases by the minute. Work is changing. Thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever for workers to connect with businesses that need their talents on a contracted basis. But working from home—being your own boss—doesn’t come naturally to everyone, particularly folks who might have enjoyed a 20-year career in the office. So how can remote workers be successful? Luckily, freelancers have been trying to figure out how to be most productive working at home for a while now. Here’s some of their advice: Make a dedicated working space, as you don’t want your personal and professional lives to blend together. More helpful tips are over at business.com.

5. Hitting the wall in the office? Maybe you’re a digital nomad.

Ever get sick of working in the same place and living in the same area? Well, thanks to the evolution of the Internet and the proliferation of mobile devices, it’s easier than ever before to work out of your backpack, so to speak. There’s a new trend emerging among young professionals: the rise of the digital nomad. Quite simply, digital nomads are folks who hop from city to city and country to country while remaining gainfully employed via the web. All you need to work is your laptop—or even your tablet, so long as there’s WiFi. If you’re in the mood for adventure, why not give the digital nomad lifestyle a shot? Read about five unconventional places you can work out of at PSFK.com.

6. These productivity tools can help your business get to the next level.

You’re probably familiar with tools like Slack, HipChat and Asana. Maybe you’ve tried them and didn’t like what you saw and moved on. Or maybe you’re still using them. Whatever the case may be, we all know the right tools can really transform our workflows. The problem, however, is being able to find the right tools in the first place. There are so many already, and it seems like a billion more are released every day. Case in point? Have you ever heard of Mavenlink, ProWorkflow or EXo Platform? Read about those tools—and five others—at Business 2 Community.

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