Welcome to this week’s edition of the Hackers Digest, a weekly feature that explores some of the most interesting ideas about 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. Five tricks entrepreneurs can use to free up time to manage finances.
All small business owners will tell you how important it is to manage your finances masterfully. Unfortunately, the day can fill up quickly with other work-related responsibilities. Business owners run around all day thinking about how they can grow their companies, and they often don’t have enough time to devote to their ledgers. But what if this lack of free time was not the result of having too much to do, but rather the result of doing a bunch of things that are wasting your time? For example, your company probably has its proverbial TPS report—something that “needs to be done” even though it most definitely does not need to be done. Trim the fat off your workflow and use the right tools, and you’ll have no problem finding the time to balance your company’s checkbook. Tech.Co has the scoop.
2. White noise can make you a productivity beast.
Instead of trying to work in silence or attempting to crank out a ton of work while you’re rocking out to your favorite jams, there’s a new theory that suggests we need to listen to white noise while we’re working if we want to be productive. How can you listen to white noise? Thanks to a new tool called Noisli, it’s incredibly easy. The app has a variety of settings you can toggle through. So if you want to listen to the sound of rain, wind, fires, water and more, all you need to do is select the setting you’re in the mood for. There’s also a timer which enables you to work on different projects listening to different kinds of white noise. It’s pretty cool—take our word for it. Head to SitePoint for the story.
3. If you have 10 minutes to spare, you can increase your productivity.
When you have a ton of work on your plate, it can be impossible to find the motivation to get started in the first place. But instead of letting an enormous pile of tasks overwhelm you, you might just have to focus for a short period of time in order to crank it all out easily. According to one author, all you need to do is force yourself to work on something for 10 solid minutes, without any distractions. The traction you gain during that 10-minute block will help you power through the rest of your assignments. That tip and others are over at The Huffington Post.
4. Forget to-do lists. It’s time to give the anti-to-do list a try.
Like many other professionals, you might start your day—or at least your week—by scribbling down a bunch of tasks you’re supposed to tackle. But are to-do lists really helping you be more productive? Is there a chance they are actually holding you back? Think about it: To-do lists essentially remind you of things you still need to do. Even when you cross something off of your list, there are usually at least a couple more tasks staring right back at you. So instead of creating a to-do list, you might be better off creating an anti-to-do list. Populate your list with projects you’ve conquered, and take pride in your productivity. The story is over at Slate.
5. You’re guilty of at least some of these bad habits—and it’s killing your productivity.
You are almost certainly aware of some of your bad habits already. But there are other things you do on a regular basis that are absolutely stifling your productivity. For example, you might think that it’s crucial to get those nine extra minutes of sleep each morning by hitting your snooze button. While it might not seem like much, add up nine minutes each day over the course of a week or even a month, and you quickly see how time slips through your fingers. There are also folks who prioritize work over sleep, thinking that they need to burn the midnight oil in order to get things done. But you won’t exactly be productive if you’re walking around like a zombie the next day. More on these bad habits—and 14 others—over at Business Insider.
6. Want to be more productive? Start tracking your time.
Do you know how much time you spend each week on specific projects? How long are you in your inbox every day, anyway? And how much time do you kill on social networks? If you have no idea, it’s almost certain that you can be more productive if you begin tracking your time. Imagine you start using a time-tracking tool only to find out that you’re spending 147 minutes each day browsing Facebook and Twitter. In addition to being completely embarrassing, you might decide to cut down on your social media usage so you can focus on your actual work instead. To learn more about how time-tracking technology can make you a more effective worker, head over to Business2Community.