Hackers Digest #24: Mobility & Productivity


Welcome to this week’s edition of the Hackers Digest, a weekly feature that shines a light on some of the more fascinating ideas about productivity that came to the surface 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 uncovered this week:

1.Want your staff to be more productive? Embrace mobility.

Technology has evolved to the point where it’s easy for knowledge workers to do their jobs from any location: the office, the bar, the sidelines of their kid’s soccer game, the airport, what have you. If your organization has not yet embraced mobility, you may want to rethink your operations. According to a new study, mobile-first organizations benefit from increased output and enhanced creativity. What’s more, the study found that age did not affect mobile performance. In other words, it’s not only millennials who are comfortable working when they’re on the go. Embrace mobility, and not only will your team be more productive, they’ll also be happier. Read the story at ComputerWeekly.

2. Productivity is all about finding the why.

There’s no shortage of cynics who feel as though the plethora of productivity tips and hacks that pollute the internet are useless. L.V. Anderson appears to be one of them. She’s tried countless new productivity hacks and has found that they generally might work for a week or two, but after a while, she begins to lose interest and fall back into her old habits. But that all might have changed for her after a conversation with Charles Duhigg, the author of Smarter Better Faster. Duhigg believes that in order to be productive, workers simply need to understand the “why” of their jobs. For example, there’s a professor who is trying to cure cancer. He hates grading papers. Why does he do it? Because if he grades papers, the school gets tuition money which funds his research—which could ultimately save lives. Sometimes productivity simply requires reexamining how you think about your job. Read the story at Slate.

3. Use Chrome? These 10 extensions will boost your productivity.

A majority of U.S. internet users prefer Chrome. But Chrome is more than a mere web browser. Thanks to the slew of extensions available, you can customize Chrome to your specific needs and transform your productivity. For example, you can use Buffer to schedule your tweets and Facebook content while also getting insights into which posts are getting the most traction. Are you a Dropbox user? Give QuickDrop a try. The extension enables you to access your Dropbox account with a click of a button. One more example: You can use StayFocused to help you become less distracted so you can focus on the tasks at hand. Think of extensions as Chrome on steroids. TechRepublic has the scoop.

4. You need to take better care of yourself.

We all focus on improving our productivity. What habits can we change to get more done? What technologies can we use? How can we arrange our offices for maximum effectiveness? The list of questions is endless. But lots of us get caught up in the productivity game. We think so much about our approach to work that we don’t remember to check in with ourselves. According to a recent report, 79% of workers don’t get enough sleep and 69% have trouble focusing and are easily distracted. It turns out that professionals aren’t so good at making sure they stay healthy. Health, of course, is a key to productivity; you won’t get things done when you feel miserable. And when you feel suboptimal, you can’t do your best work. Head over to business.com for the rest of the story.

5. Productivity tips from a guy who has no time.

Over the last eight years, Frank Viola has written 25 books. He’s produced over 125 podcasts. He’s also created over 900 blog posts. He also writes biweekly newsletters. He does all these things by himself, without hiring freelancers or assistant staffers. So how does he do it? The first step to becoming more productive, Viola says, is conducting an activity audit. You need to figure out precisely how you spend your time—and particularly where you’re wasting it. Then you need to prioritize in a way Viola calls “tight but loose.” Finally, you need to view the work you do as art. Read deeper about those tips over at Fox News.

6. How to be a more productive writer.

Professional writers will all tell you the same thing: It can be impossible to keep cranking out stories when you stare at a computer screen every single day. Even if the subject matter you’re covering changes with every assignment, you’re still stringing sentences together when it boils down to it. Like any other profession, writers also need to take a step back and analyze their approach to the craft from time to time. Increasing your output starts with forcing yourself to find time to write every day. You also need to write at the best times of the day and in the best environments. When possible, set up a routine and try your best to stick with it. For those tips and more, head to Inside Higher Ed.

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